Gabrielle Giffords was elected to Congress by District #8 here in Southern Arizona and as far as we are concerned she's still our Representative. When we needed her in Washington she interrupted her therapies and flew in to cast her vote. No Democrat can declare until Gabby decides not to run in 2012:
I am operating under the presumption that Gabby's going to be well enough to run," said Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers. "I don't think she'll have to run a terribly vigorous campaign. If voters are convinced that she's mentally capable of doing the job, she can run a less vibrant campaign than she has in the past." (Arizona Star,11/13/11)I'm sure that last sentence infuriates the Congresswoman. I'm sure she's grinding her teeth with those strong facial muscles which she's developed over months of grueling, painful, frustrating rehabilitation. She's not putting in all that work to run a less vibrant campaign. I just can't believe that could be true.
It's right there that I realize why people are interested in my story. I'm answering the question myself.
I need Gabby to get better for all sorts of reasons. Some of them are related to her, it's true. My husband and I were the recipients of the wonderfulness that was Mark Kelly in the hospital and our hearts and prayers and thoughts and good wishes are with him every minute of every day. He's a great guy. Gabby's a bright and beautiful young woman cut down in her prime, triumphing over adversity, refusing to give up (cliches are cliches because they are true). She's heroic at a time when heroes are hard to come by. The thought of those two going through this just breaks my heart.
But there's more going on for me. My hip and I are stuck in an uneasy alliance right now. I'm encouraging it to do more and it's reminding me that I've neglected the surrounding muscles for 300 some days. I'm paying the price. I'll admit it - I'm whining a lot. I can get around, but it's a less vibrant walk ... and there I am, needing Gabby to get better, to keep trying, to push through the pain, not because she'll be better for it but because each time I decide that I've had enough I remind myself that, yes I took 3 bullets but none of them went through my brain.
That's a very hard sentence to type. I'm not sure how to punctuate it and I don't want to read it again to figure it out. My hip (all right, my ass and the whole right side of my right leg) is talking to me right now, and the message is loud and clear - OUCH - but my heart hurts even more.
We were there, together. The same gun damaged us. The same EMT's and Sheriffs and strangers helped us. We are part of the same piece of history, but, for us, it's our personal story, too.
What happens to her happens to me. Or so it seems. There's no real reason that our fates should be tied together, but I rarely think of Christina-Taylor without thinking of Gabby, too. Since I talk to Christina throughout the day (my therapist says this does not mean that I am crazy) I spend a lot of time wondering What's Gabby doing right now?
I worked in a rehab hospital where I saw the most amazing recoveries on the neurology service. I close my eyes and I see the hallways and the therapists and I feel the hope and the frustration and the anxiety and the love. I open my eyes with Gabby making this happen, getting better, taking charge of the situation and fixing it.......
And she can't and I can't and it's awful. Simply and truly and honestly awful. It could be worse.... it could always be worse...... but our pain, our loss, our struggles are our own and they are awful. We are different and the same all at once. We are separate and we are bound together and it's just another piece of the paradox.
The connection extends to The Bride,god-child-extraordinaire. She texted "I love you, miss you, & am very proud of you," and I knew without further explication that living in Birminglox Alabama she'd seen Gabby and Mark and Diane Sawyer at 9pm Eastern time and she'd reached out and touched me as soon as it was over.
I don't imagine that I figure in the interview at all. She was just feeling the connection. It's the same thing that happened at the grocery store yesterday; everyone wants to know how Gabby is doing. I don't know. We weren't friends; Christina-Taylor and I were constituents. I'm still waiting for my handshake and my picture. But the cashier and the lady at the yams and the bagger were all convinced that I knew what she was feeling. I've told them for the last 10 months that I really don't know, but they don't seem to hear it.
Maybe they can't. I know I can't stop thinking of Gabby as mine.
I want to give her a hug. Instead, I'm going to eat a piece of pie and grab a box of tissues. Diane Sawyer starts in 10 minutes.
(If you want to see what I said after the show, click over to BlogHer. They actually paid me for my thoughts..... it takes a few seconds to load.... don't get frustrated.)