Vanessa Bryant 'Determined' to Stay Strong for Her Daughters: 'Everyone Is in Pain,' Says Source
"She is very, very aware that she is not the only person who is mourning," a source tells PEOPLE of Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant is doing her best to be there for her family as she works through her own grief.
As the family continues to grapple with the loss of patriarch Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna, a source close to Vanessa tells PEOPLE that the 37-year-old widow is “determined” to “be there” for her other daughters — Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and 7-month-old Capri.
“She is very, very aware that she is not the only person who is mourning — she’s got three little girls who have lost their father and their sister,” the source says. “They’re mourning too. Everyone is in pain, and Vanessa understands it enough to know that she has to be there for them and available to them.”
According to the insider, Vanessa is “humbled and encouraged” by the outpouring of support and praise for her late basketball star husband, and after a “good cry,” the mom always manages to “pull it together” to care for her girls.
“She knows that they can’t lose their mother in addition to their father, and she’s determined not to let that happen,” says the source. “They will get through this as a family.”
Adds the source: “She is heartbroken; the girls are heartbroken. She hates the fact that this will be a part of the girls’ story.”
Vanessa, per the source, is “relying on faith” to help her in the wake of the tragedy: “She’s praying a lot, spending time just reflecting and meditating. She’s got a strong center, a strong faith. And she knows that Kobe did too. That comforts her.”
On Monday, Vanessa gave an emotional speech at a celebration of life ceremony held at the Staples Center for Kobe, Gianna and the seven other victims of the fatal helicopter crash. Holding back tears, she bravely eulogized Kobe and Gianna in front of a crowded arena and millions of viewers at home.
“I miss you, all of you, every day,” she said at one point in her speech, also mentioning that Kobe had a “tender heart.”
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“I want my daughters to know the amazing person, husband and father he was,” said Vanessa. “The kind of man who wanted to teach the future generations to be better. … He taught us all valuable lessons about life and sports. … We’re so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us.”
Concluding her speech, Vanessa said her husband and daughter were “so easy to love,” and that “everyone naturally gravitated toward them.”
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together,” said Vanessa, before telling her late husband: “Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, B.B. and Koko. We’re still the best team.”
She added: “May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, mommy.”