Matt Mauser, now a single dad to three kids, says that he will be honoring his wife with a concert on the anniversary of her death.
Losing a parent and a partner can change people in inexplicable ways but even then, those who survive may not want their grief to define them. After all, the job of the living is to move on and keep growing. However, anniversaries become markers of the person who left a big hole in our lives.
On January 26, 2020, when Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, it wasn't a loss just for the Bryant family. The NBA star's daughter, Gianna or Gigi, her coach, Christina Mauser, and six others died in the crash.
Christina left behind her husband Matt and their three children, of which two were elementary school-aged and one was a toddler. "She was a loving mother and wife, the girl’s basketball coach at Harbor Day School, and worked with Kobe for the Mamba's," said a GoFundMe page created to help her family raise funds.
Her husband used to be a teacher and coach at Harbor Day, "educating our children with his enjoyable classes and friendly teaching style. He started a band- Tijuana Dogs over 20 years ago and is currently an entertainer/songwriter," the page added.
A year since her death, he speaks about how his family has survived since Christina's death. "I look at grief as like a drunk uncle, you love them, but it's like, you can only take them in so many doses," Mauser told People. "Yeah come over sometimes but I don't want you to stay too long. You've got to get out of here."
The frontman of Tijuana Dogs and Sinatra Big Band said that he and his family, including children Penny, Thomas, and Ivy, "don't want to be remembered as the sad family that lost their mom."
"That's a part of our story, but Christina is our story," he added. "She is intertwined in our story. But our story has a lot of different chapters and our story has a lot of different parts to it," he added.
The couple had been married for 15 years and he considers himself "lucky" for that. "She was loyal, determined, funny and passionate. When she committed to doing something she put her heart and soul into completing the job. When Christina was your friend, you knew you had a friend for life — a friend who would be there for you during your darkest days and celebrate your happiest moments. Christina never gave up on you. She was truly a team player," he added.
When they met they "connected right off the bat," he said, according to Toofab. "I knew she was the one and it just grew from there," he said, adding that she was an "incredible human being" who had "all the qualities I was looking for in a person to share your life with."
They met at a club where he was playing in a band and after that, a whirlwind romance ensued. They got engaged just three months later and were married eight months after that.
"I had been traveling, so I didn't get to see her all that much the last month," he said of the time before her death. "At one point, we were sitting on the couch after the kids had gone to bed ... I remember just looking at her and saying to her, 'I just want you to know how proud I am of you.'"
"She was becoming the person she was meant to be," he continued. "She had always supported me ... this was the first time in our lives I had the opportunity to really support her."
He holds her close to his heart and wants to honor her on her death anniversary. He is hosting Concert for Christina - A Musical Tribute and Fundraiser Benefiting The Christina Mauser Foundation, which was started to provide scholarships and financial aid to female athletes.
The concert will also honor the other victims of the Calabasas helicopter crash: Christina, Kobe, Gianna, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, and Ara Zobayan.