Look at Gabrielle Giffords, our first public look at this brave woman since being shot in the forehead in January! No, really look at her in the first photos since the shooting. She is radiant, beautiful and even happy, right? Everyone is saying so. But at the same time, she looks so different from the Gabrielle Giffords we last remember, the blond and professional suited up member of the Arizona House of Representatives.
The D.C. look is gone. No more blond shoulder-length bob. I'm sure they had to cut that off for all the surgeries. No makeup or contacts. No more conservative blue suits. Her clothes and her life are all about comfort and ease now.
As amazing as she looks in these shots, posted to her Facebook page this morning, that's the hardest part about staring into the face of this woman right now. Knowing all that she has gone through and the uphill battles that still lie ahead.
How could she possibly look the same? She will never be the same, inside or out.
Giffords is making great strides but still has trouble stringing together long sentences and with complex concepts. She has much more work ahead of her with physical and speech therapists. It will be a long road to recovery, and maybe not even a full one. It's all a big question mark right now.
These photos were taken by a photographer outside a Houston medical center a day after Giffords watched her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, launch into space. That's her mother sitting next to her; her mother has been by her side during the entire ordeal.
Giffords is doing what all of us who didn't get shot by a maniac and almost died should do every day of our own life's -- celebrating those small victories and moments. Giffords' first photos are a lesson in not taking things for granted, like your husband's great day at work or that little clay pot your son made for you in art class. Or just being able to sit outside in the sun, look at all you got, and smile. Those little things are really the big things in life, we always forget that, and today we should be thanking Giffords for reminding us of that again.
Images via P.K. Weis of SouthwestPhotoBank.com