IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Find your reason to live': Vanessa Bryant opens up about struggling with grief

Kobe and Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, as well as seven others, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.
BASKET-NBA-BRYANT-MEMORIAL
Kobe Bryant's wife Vanessa Bryant speaks during the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 24, 2020.FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Almost a year after her husband and daughter died in a tragic helicopter crash in Southern California, Vanessa Bryant is sharing her advice for coping with grief.

"Grief is a messed up cluster of emotions. One day you're in the moment laughing and the next day you don't feel like being alive,” she wrote in an Instagram story. “I want to say this for people struggling with grief and heartbreaking loss. Find your reason to live. I know it’s hard. I look at my daughters and I try to push through that feeling for them. Death is guaranteed but living the rest of the day isn’t. Find your reason.”

Bryant has kept the memory of Kobe and Gigi Bryant alive in the past 12 months. In late February, she made a touching speech in their honor in front of thousands of people inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant watches a tribute video with his family during an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors in Los Angeles on Dec. 18, 2017.Chris Carlson / AP

"God knew they couldn't be on this Earth without each other,'' she said, emotional. "He had to bring them home to have them together."

"Babe, you take care of our Gigi. … We’re still the best team. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day."

She also mentioned Gigi’s upbeat attitude.

"Gigi was sunshine,'' she said. "She brightened up my day, every day. I miss looking at her beautiful face. She was the most loving daughter, thoughtful little sister and silly big sister."

In August, Bryant wrote a heartfelt post for Kobe Bryant’s birthday, writing she wished he and Gigi were there to celebrate.

“I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way,” she wrote, in part. “Thank you for growing up with me and teaching me how to be strong. How to try to see the best in people but cutout the bs. Your thoughtful gestures and the amazing way you made us all feel is extremely missed.”

She added that she missed his “thoughtful gestures” and wished she had been the one to “go first.”

Bryant said that her surviving children gave her a reason to go on.

“I’ve been completely broken inside. As much as I want to cry, I put a smile on my face to make our daughters days shine a little brighter,” she said at the time. “I’m not the strong one, they are. They’re strong and resilient. I’m sure you’re proud of them.”

“They put a smile on my face everyday. I wish I could wake up from this horrible nightmare,” she added.

“I’m so thankful I have pieces of heaven here on earth to wake up for- thanks to YOU. Thank you for loving me enough to last several lifetimes.”