There are some days when Vanessa Bryant's "unimaginable" grief brings her to her knees. Almost 14 months after her husband, Kobe Bryant, and 13-year-old daughter, Gianna (Gigi), were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles, "I can't say that I'm strong every day. I can't say that there aren't days when I feel like I can't survive to the next," she tells People. But Bryant—who dons a Los Angeles Lakers jacket on the cover of the magazine's "Women Changing the World" issue, in honor of her husband, who played for the team for 20 years—describes finding strength in her family. "I guess the best way to describe it is that Kobe and Gigi motivate me to keep going," she says. "They inspire me to try harder and be better every day." So, too, do Bryant's surviving children, 18-year-old Natalia, 4-year-old Bianka, and 20-month-old Capri.
"Lying in bed crying isn't going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again," Bryant says. "But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that's what I do." She's been keeping busy, working on the young adult novel Epoca: The River of Sand, a collaboration between her husband and author Ivy Claire, which went on sale in December, per TMZ. She's also taken over the reins at Kobe's multimedia company, Granity Studios, and relaunched his nonprofit, now named Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, per People. "You just have to get up and push forward," she says in the issue, appearing on newsstands Friday, per Today. And "my girls help me smile through the pain." (Bryant says sheriff's deputies who responded to the January 2020 crash "need to be held accountable.")