Friday, January 14, 2011

Her eyes are open

Good for Arizona Congressperson Gabrielle Gifford: Wednesday afternoon, she opened her eyes! What's more, while she is still in critical condition, she has opened her eyes for fifteen straight minutes. I want you to understand: the odds against this physiologically traumatized doing that within the week were astronomical. If the bullet had followed most any other trajectory through her skull, she would've been lost. A head trauma recovery of these proportions---and it's nowhere close to a done deal--is enough to make the most studious surgeon begin mumbling about miracles.

I've really been sucked deeply into this story, which I've struggled to put myself too deep inside. But the misery and shock of almost a week ago were met, from the start, by the bravery of those there who stopped the shooter and of course, Daniel Hernandez, the young, new intern who probably saved her life.

I don't know why my eyes did not fill with tears at the sight of the 9/11 flag, brought from New York by a fire fighter who wished to honor...ah, this IS sad. It ties me up intellectually to ponder the perverse symmetry of Christina Green's 9/11 birth and tragic death in this shooting. She packed a lot of living into her little life. The stories of the rest of the people, the young man who was engaged, the four older people, including the fellow who died protecting his childhood sweetheart---it's all moving. But I've known enough 9 year olds to tell you, for them, you expect nothing but the future, as it should be.

When I think about her playing baseball, or finding out what government is and how, ideally, the adult world works out its serious, all-inclusive problems, she is only alive. I had to see the tiny, handmade coffin for myself to let the sobering thought all the way in.
Maybe the thousands who gathered along the funeral route felt that way. Maybe they felt deeply intertwined already, through tears and sympathetic thoughts of the family. God knows, my heart weeps for the shooter's parents...much less those of Christina Green, and the children of her school, about whom I can write no more without assuredly crying.

Maybe all my muses could not help but stand in reverence this week, to absorb a lock step moment in our walk through time, as for once, all of us had one scene to ponder, to bring us all together...the way we live each day, regardless of our disagreements.

I never knew Christina, but they did a good job letting me know her. I needed her perspective to see this all clearly, to see how I'm not alone in hope, even knowing the many difficult realities of government as it exists. There is not much more I can say that wasn't best said by my President, who spoke as much as a father of his own nine-year old as the collected, dignified focal point, for one shining, sorrow-born minute, of our country. Hope comes with children; anything is yet possible. Yet we must rejuvenate our own hope with them, for them---and for ourselves.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes, tracked people and objects, moved her arms and dangled her legs over the edge of her hospital bed.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes, tracked people and objects, moved her arms and dangled her legs over the edge of her hospital bed.

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An early recovery is a good portent of a full recovery. I hope she's back on Capitol Hill, one day, cognizant once more, wishing her astronaut commander husband good luck on his way out of the atmosphere, hugging the strangeness out of strangers and making another lifetime of friendships. They are all we really need to light the night against the cold encroachment of mortality; its chill remains at our back, while our smiling faces ring the circle of life giving love.

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