I think the greatest love story of all time is the one that is unfolding between Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Astronaut Mark Kelly. Married just four years this couple has had to endure Gabby’s slow and hard recovery from a bullet shot through her brain. Early on we didn’t see photos of Gabby, but I was enthralled by photos of Mark sitting by her bedside with her hand in his.
And, when Mark Kelly said this is what “in sickness and in health” means on national television last Monday evening, I was hooked. The love shared and displayed by Mark and his wife Gabby Giffords is what romance stories are made of. What he has done for her to aid in her recovery from such a disastrous event and what she has accomplished in only ten months is a clear demonstration of what true love means.
Early on he was instrumental in getting her to move her hands and producing the thumbs up and high five signs. He gave her the challenge of getting up and putting on her shoes and socks by placing them on a chair by her bed. He has asked her to work hard, to become stronger every day, and she has responded affirmatively. Now she is able to say she is getting “strong, strong, strong,” “getting better all the time,” and that she is “working hard.” He has encouraged this progress through his “the sky is not the limit” philosophy and his constant presence at her side.
I have now seen videos of how sad and expressionless her face was right after the shooting ten months ago. Now her face has transformed to such brightness, such radiance that it cannot help but inspire all of us to look toward her and her husband as an example of what true love means. Gabby has relearned how to purse her lips into a kiss and to bring her mouth and entire face into a smile that she is constantly directing toward Mark I am confident that with his continual encouragement she will continue to improve. How could she not with a love like that?
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...