"What I Remember": Gabby's Visit Back to the Site Where Everything Changed

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The Daily Beast has this excerpt from a chapter written by Mark Kelly for the paperback edition of "Gabby: A Story of Courage, Love and Resilience."

Fair warning: I got a bit emotional reading through it. Give it, the excerpt as a whole, and the book a read when you get the opportunity. The paperback edition is out November 6.

Earlier that afternoon I had done a television interview remotely from Gabby’s congressional office. After the interview the cameraman saw me jump into a car with Gabby. He didn’t know that we were en route to the Safeway. We weren’t aware that he had followed us until Gabby and I got out of the car in the Safeway parking lot. He appeared out of nowhere. He was respectful and didn’t get too close, allowing her a little privacy. We walked around to the front of the store, and the crowd slowly grew as the shoppers recognized that familiar face and walk. We had a short conversation with the assistant store manager who had been there on Jan. 8. Gabby took a close look at the rock garden memorial that Safeway built at the site, and then she and I started to talk about where she had been, where the shooter had been, who was standing around her, and where she fell after the 9mm round pierced her skull. She was interested, sad, and solemn. So was I. Gabby was taking it all in. She walked back and forth several times. She greeted the folks lining up around her and then she said to me, “I remember.”

Most of us can’t remember where we parked our car when we walk out of a store. It happens to me often. But here was Gabby, who has defied the odds, and one of the two things that she remembers from that day is where she parked. She pointed to the spot, and it was exactly one year later. Up until this day the last thing she remembered leading up to 10:10 Arizona Time on January 8, 2010, was learning of the death of her favorite waitress the night before.

The anniversary weekend was good for Gabby, good for me and I think good for many of the remarkable people in the City of Tucson, Arizona. It was a chance for healing and closure and a moment to honor six special souls: Christina-Taylor Green, Dorwan Stoddard, Judge John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorothy Morris and Gabriel Zimmerman. Gabby had known Judge Roll for years, and Gabe was a cherished member of her staff. Gabby would never have the opportunity to meet Christina, Dorwan, Phyllis and Dorothy.

For the rest, head over to the Daily Beast.

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