In her own words Monday night, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said she has to “get better” before she can return to congress.

Giffords, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, has until May 2012 to officially announce whether or not she will run for reelection.

After 10 months of intensive rehabilitation, Giffords made her first public appearance with Diane Sawyer on ABCs 20/20.

Alongside husband Mark Kelly, Giffords sat down with Sawyer, giving one, and two word answers for questions on how difficult it is to move her right arm, and how sad it is that six people died in the Jan. 8 shooting.

In the beginning of her recovery, Giffords was not told about the six victims, which included her aide Gabe Zimmerman, and the youngest victim, Oro Valley’s Christina-Taylor Green, 9.

After learning about the other victims, Kelly said Giffords broke down in tears.

Kelly said Giffords wants to eventually meet the families of all the other victims in the shooting. But, she wants to be able to put her thoughts and emotions into words before that happens.

Kelly said one of the things he would like to see his wife start doing is string several sentences together. With two hours of speech therapy each day, Giffords appears to be defying the odds.

Viewers were able to see up close how Giffords has defied the odds because of film clips documenting her progress.

The public got its first glimpse Monday night at how Giffords has healed over the last 10 months.

From laying still in her hospital bed in Tucson, to breaking down during a speech therapy session in Texas, America got to see how determined Giffords is to get better.

The bullet shattered Giffords’ skull, damaging the left side of her brain. That caused her to lose sight and movement on her right side. She has also had to learn how to speak and comprehend.

One part of the hour-long segment showed Giffords looking at a picture of a chair, but saying “spoon.”

Kelly said at first, Giffords was just saying words like spoon and chicken, and has slowly had to learn how to see a picture and identify the object correctly.

Much of the learning process has been through song. The videos show Giffords singing a variety of childhood songs with her mother, and singing with hospital staff.

The homemade videos also showed Giffords taking her first steps pushing a shopping cart in the rehabilitation center. Later, videos showed her walking hand-in-hand with Kelly to check the mail at their home in Houston.

The couple’s devotion to each other is obvious, as Giffords describers her husband as “brave,” while Kelly said his wife is both “brave and tough.”

The couple’s memoir, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope” hit the bookstores Tuesday.

In the end, when it comes to Giffords’ political career, Kelly said the decision is all hers.

“I will do my best to protect her in whatever she chooses to do,” he said. “It comes back to what she said. That she’s been beaten. You never want to feel like you’ve been beaten or taken out. You can never have too much help.”

(1) comment


A very brave and determined woman, but I wonder if it is the best thing for Tucson to not have representation until May 2012..

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