Kelly Rizzo Has Gone from 'Gut Punch' to 'Gratitude' Nearly 2 Years After Husband Bob Saget's Death (Exclusive)

"My biggest thing has been being so grateful for the time I did have with him, versus feeling robbed of the time we didn't have together," Kelly Rizzo tells PEOPLE of processing her grief over Bob Saget's death

Leon Bennett/Getty Images Bob Saget and Kelly Rizzo
Leon Bennett/Getty Images Bob Saget and Kelly Rizzo

Kelly Rizzo is “in a much better place” nearly two years after the death of her husband, comedian and actor Bob Saget.

The 44-year-old sat down with PEOPLE at Wednesday’s Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine, a tribute to Saget benefitting the Scleroderma Research Foundation, to discuss her late husband's legacy and how she has managed to move forward two years after his death.

“I am in a much better place now than I was in the very beginning," Rizzo tells PEOPLE. “Every day, every month, everything just continues to progress, and evolve and get better. The second year has definitely given me the ability to look at videos, look at photos and have memories of Bob where I can actually laugh and appreciate them and smile."

"Versus, just feeling like it's a gut punch every time I look at a video or see a photo," she continues. "I'm actually able to appreciate those memories more.”

Kelly Rizzo/Instagram Bob Saget and Kelly Rizzo
Kelly Rizzo/Instagram Bob Saget and Kelly Rizzo

Related: Bob Saget's Life in Photos

Reflecting on the years she spent with Saget, Rizzo says her biggest takeaway is “gratitude.”

“From as early on as I can remember when everything happened, my biggest thing has been being so grateful for the time I did have with him, versus feeling robbed of the time we didn't have together," she explains. "So, that's really helped me get through everything. And I think that's still the underlying message that just carries me through each day.”

Part of those memories of Saget include his comedy career — something that Rizzo says she was "always so amazed" by.

“To me, standup comedy is maybe the hardest job in the world… to go on stage alone is terrifying,” Rizzo notes. “To have to make people laugh, to me, is the hardest thing you could possibly do. And the fact that comedians do it, knowing they're going to get even abused at some point, they go up there knowing they're going to bomb.”

She continues, “I was just always so amazed by [Bob's] confidence that he had with his comedy. I mean, he just really put it out there. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but he always knew that even if something didn't work, it still wasn't a failure. So, to me, he was just so inspiring. And I was just always so impressed by his ability to put it all out there, learn from it and hone his craft. And he just made me appreciate comedy so much more.”

Leon Bennett/WireImage From left: Aubrey Saget, Bob Saget, Kelly Rizzo and Lara Saget at a Scleroderma Research Foundation event
Leon Bennett/WireImage From left: Aubrey Saget, Bob Saget, Kelly Rizzo and Lara Saget at a Scleroderma Research Foundation event

Still navigating the loss of her husband, Rizzo says she's managing to find ways to laugh.

“From day one, since the day Bob passed, I felt so comforted by being surrounded by comedians,” the podcast host shares. “Still just watching his friends do stand up, watching his favorite shows, watching shows that we love together, that's what's comforting to me and still makes me laugh.”

Related: What to Know About Scleroderma, the Autoimmune Disease Bob Saget Fought for Before His Death

Saget was found dead at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, Florida on Jan. 9, 2022. One month later, his family confirmed that he died due to head trauma. He was 65.

Prior to his death, the Full House star worked for years to support the Scleroderma Research Foundation after his sister Gay died from the disease. He first supported the non-profit in 1991, and then became an outspoken advocate following Gay's diagnosis.

He directed the 1996 TV movie For Hope, about a young woman with scleroderma based on Gay's experience, which helped raise awareness of the disease. He was also on the board of directors for the Scleroderma Research Foundation for more than a decade and hosted their events for 25 years, including the annual Cool Comedy, Hot Cuisine fundraiser, where his comedian friends would do standup and attendees would dine on meals from top chefs. They raised $25 million through the years for research and treatment.

Rich Fury/Contour/Getty Bob Saget
Rich Fury/Contour/Getty Bob Saget

Related: Kelly Rizzo Says Knowing Bob Saget Was 'Rooting' for Her on Special Forces Gave Her 'a Little Extra Oomph' (Exclusive)

Wednesday's event was no different. With Saget's legacy at the forefront, the fundraiser brought in over $1.2 million for the Scleroderma Research Foundation — something Rizzo tells PEOPLE “would mean a lot" to Saget.

“It's still very surreal that he's not here at these events," she says. "But I think they've really captured his essence of... Even just the way the event looks, the colors, everything, it's exactly what Bob would've chosen. So, it's still like he's a part of it in a sense.”

Rizzo continues, “And this cause meant everything to him. It was his life's work. He dedicated almost 30 years of his life to it ever since his sister passed away from scleroderma. So, he would just be so honored and touched that people still cared so much, and were still paying tribute to him, and coming out and supporting the cause.”

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To donate to the Scleroderma Research Foundation in Saget's memory, click here.

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Read the original article on People.