Gabby: Una historia de valor y esperanza

Gabby: Una historia de valor y esperanza

4.4 76
by Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly, Jeffrey Zaslow

View All Available Formats & Editions

Como individuos, la congresista Gabrielle Giffords y su esposo, el astronauta Mark Kelly, demostraron a los estadounidenses cómo el optimismo, el espíritu aventurero y el llamado al servicio pueden ayudar a cambiar el mundo. Como pareja, se convirtieron en un ejemplo nacional del poder sanador que puede encontrarse en la valentía y el amor profundamente


Como individuos, la congresista Gabrielle Giffords y su esposo, el astronauta Mark Kelly, demostraron a los estadounidenses cómo el optimismo, el espíritu aventurero y el llamado al servicio pueden ayudar a cambiar el mundo. Como pareja, se convirtieron en un ejemplo nacional del poder sanador que puede encontrarse en la valentía y el amor profundamente compartidos.

Su llegada al centro de atención mundial se dio en la peor de las situaciones. El 8 de enero de 2011, al reunirse con sus electores en Tucson, Arizona, Gabby fue víctima de un atentado que dejó seis muertos y trece heridos. Los médicos dijeron que era un “milagro” que hubiera sobrevivido.

Íntima, inspiradora, conmovedora e inolvidable, Gabby: Una historia de valor y esperanza cuenta la vida de estas dos personas extraordinarias. Lleva a los lectores detrás de muchas puertas cerradas: a la plataforma de lanzamiento del transbordador espacial, a los vestuarios del Congreso, y a las salas de hospital donde Gabby luchó para recuperarse con la ayuda de formidables equipos médicos y de familiares y amigos dedicados.

Gabby: Una historia de valor y esperanza es un recordatorio del poder que tienen la valentía y la paciencia en la superación de obstáculos inimaginables, y de la trascendencia del amor.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“An extraordinary tale…of love, of unthinkable trauma, of a heroic partnership… Redefining for the world what it means to be a fighter.”People

“A gripping and inspirational memoir…”—St. Petersburg Times

“A picture of a victorious human spirit.”Publishers Weekly

“Nothing but inspirational.”Kirkus Reviews

“A story of bravery and perseverance.”Palm Beach Post

Product Details

Publication date:
Sold by:
File size:
28 MB
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

The Beach

I used to be able to tell just what my wife, Gabby, was thinking.

I could sense it in her body language—the way she leaned forward when she was intrigued by someone and wanted to soak up every word being said; the way she nodded politely when listening to some know-it-all who had the floor; the way she’d look at me, eyes sparkling, with that full-on smile of hers, when she wanted me to know she loved me. She was a woman who lived in the moment—every moment.

Gabby was a talker, too. She was so animated, using her hands as punctuation marks, and she’d speak with passion, clarity, and good humor, which made her someone you wanted to listen to. Usually, I didn’t have to ask or wonder what she was thinking. She’d articulate every detail. Words mattered to her, whether she was speaking about immigration on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, or whether she was alone with me, talking about her yearning to have a child.

Gabby doesn’t have all those words at her command anymore, at least not yet. A brain injury like hers is a kind of hurricane, blowing away some words and phrases, and leaving others almost within reach, but buried deep, under debris or in a different place. “It’s awful,” Gabby will say, and I have to agree with her.

But here’s the thing: While Gabby struggles for words, coping with a constant frustration that the rest of us can’t fathom, I still know what she’s thinking much of the time. Yes, her words come haltingly or imperfectly or not at all, but I can still read her body language. I still know the nuances of that special smile of hers. She’s still contagiously animated and usually upbeat, using her one good hand for emphasis.

And she still knows what I’m thinking, too.

There’s a moment that Gabby and I are going to hold on to, a moment that speaks to our new life together and the way we remain connected. It was in late April 2011, not quite four months after Gabby was shot in the head by a would-be assassin. As an astronaut, I had just

spent five days in quarantine, awaiting the last launch of space shuttle Endeavour, which I’d be commanding. It was around noon on the day before the scheduled liftoff, and my five crew members and I had been given permission to see our spouses for a couple of hours, one

last time.

We’d be meeting with our wives on the back deck of this old, rundown two-story Florida beach house that NASA has maintained for decades. It is on the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center, and there’s even a sign at the dirt road leading to it that simply says “The Beach House.” The house used to have a bed that astronauts and their significant others would use for unofficial “romantic reunions.” Now it’s just a meeting place for NASA managers, and by tradition, a gathering spot where spouses say their farewells to departing astronauts, hoping they’ll see them again. Twice in the space shuttle’s thirty-year history, crews did not make it home from their missions. And so after a meal and some socializing as a group, couples usually break away and take private walks down the desolate beach, hand in hand.

The 2,000-square-foot house is the only structure on the oceanfront for more than twenty-five miles, since NASA controls a huge chunk of Florida’s “space coast.” Look in any direction and there’s nothing but sand, seagulls, an occasional sea turtle, and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s Florida pretty much the way it was centuries ago.

On our previous visit to this spot, the day before my shuttle mission in May 2008, Gabby and I were newlyweds, sitting in the sand, chatting about the mission, her upcoming election, and our future together. Gabby reminded me of how very “blessed” we both were; she often said that. She felt we needed to be very thankful for everything that we had. And we were.

The biggest problem on our minds was finding time to see each other, given our demanding careers in separate cities. It seemed complicated then, the jigsaw puzzle that was our lives, but in retrospect, it was so simple and easy. We couldn’t have imagined that we’d return for a launch three years later and everything would be so different.

This time, Gabby entered the beach house being pushed in a wheelchair, wearing a helmet to protect the side of her head where part of her skull was missing. It had been removed during the surgery that saved her life after she was shot.

While the others at the house had come in pairs (each astronaut with a spouse), Gabby and I showed up with this whole crazy entourage—her mother, her chief of staff, a nurse, three U.S. Capitol Police officers, three Kennedy Space Center security officers, and a NASA colleague assigned to look after Gabby for the duration of my mission. The support Gabby now needed was considerable, and certainly not what my fellow crew members expected in their final moments with their wives. Instead of an intimate goodbye on a secluded beach, this became quite the circus. It was a bit embarrassing, but the men on my crew and their spouses were 100 percent supportive.

They understood. Gabby had just logged sixteen arduous and painful weeks sequestered in a Tucson hospital and then a Houston rehab center. She had worked incredibly hard, struggling to retrain her brain and fight off depression over her circumstances. For her doctors and security detail to give their blessings and allow her to travel, this was how her coming-out needed to be handled.

My crewmates and their wives greeted Gabby warmly, and she smiled at all of them, and said hello, though it was clear she was unable to make real small-talk. Some words and most sentences were still beyond her. Everyone was positive, but everyone noticed.

As I watched Gabby try to navigate the social niceties, I was very proud of her. She had learned since her injury that it could sap her energy and her spirits to be self-conscious about her deficiencies or her appearance. So she had found ways to communicate by employing upbeat hand motions and that terrific smile of hers—the same smile that had helped her connect with constituents, woo political opponents, and get my attention. She didn’t need to rattle off sentences to charm a bunch of astronauts and their wives. She just had to tap into the person she’s always been.

* * *

After we settled in at the beach house, I said to Gabby: “Want to go down to the ocean?”

“Yes,” she said. “Yes, swim in the ocean.”

Though Gabby grew up in Arizona, a daughter of the desert, she loves the ocean more than anyone I’ve ever known. She first saw the Pacific as a kid, traveling with her parents and sister through Mexico and Central America. They’d spend weeks at a time driving up and down the Pacific coast in a station wagon or camper. She loved to swim, to look for shells, to people-watch. Later, the Atlantic became equally alluring for her, including this stretch of beach, where we walked and swam together before my previous space flights. On those visits, Gabby had enjoyed swimming well offshore. And I admired how she engaged the other spouses so they all could shake off their nervousness over the risky missions ahead. She had just the right touch, embracing the duties that came with being the commander’s wife, while also being completely down-to-earth and making everyone feel welcome.

But this time, of course, she was dependent on the kindness of others.

Her nurse took her into the bathroom and got her into her swimsuit. Though it was a warm day, she needed sweatpants and a jacket, since her injury leaves her cold so much of the time. Gabby helped dress herself the best she could, using her left hand, but she was limited. (Because she was shot in the left side of her brain, which partially controls the right side of the body, her right hand remained mostly useless and still, an appendage on her lap.)

When Gabby got out of the bathroom, those assisting her helped her into a special chair that emergency medical crews use when they have to carry people down stairs or out of the wilderness. It took three of them to lug her in that chair through the sand, step by step, a hundred yards toward the ocean. It was low tide, which made for a longer walk. I knew exactly what Gabby was thinking on this awkward journey down from the beach house. She was thinking what I was thinking; how desperately we both longed for the life we used to have together.

When the chair reached the water’s edge, I thanked the men who carried Gabby for their efforts, and they lowered her to the ground. We unstrapped her, and after we helped her to her feet, she was able to navigate the hard, wet sand, taking a few steps, leading slowly with her left leg. That’s when our support team moved back on the beach, trying to keep a respectful distance so Gabby and I could be alone.

In the days immediately after Gabby was injured, I had considered stepping down as commander of this shuttle flight. I was unsure of whether I’d be able to focus completely on the mission, and didn’t know when Gabby would be leaving intensive care. But once she began improving and I returned to training, I found myself fantasizing about the possibility that Gabby would recover enough to join me on this beach on this day—the day before liftoff. That became a goal of ours. Now here we were.

It turned out to be a pretty amazing moment, a gift of serenity at a time when both of us were caught in the brightest of spotlights. The day before, millions of TV viewers had watched grainy, unauthorized footage of Gabby walking slowly and deliberately up a tarmac staircase and onto a plane in Houston to fly here for the launch. It had been taken by a cameraman in a distant, hovering news helicopter. Meanwhile, within twenty-four hours, 700,000 people were expected to descend on central Florida’s east coast to see me and my crew blast off in the space shuttle. And yet, here at the water’s edge, all of that attention felt very far away.

Gabby and I were focused only on each other, an intimacy heightened by all we’d been through, and by this isolated spot on the planet. Except for my crewmates and their wives walking a ways down the beach, stick figures in the distance, there was no sign of humanity to the south, the north, or off into the horizon. If we ignored our support team on the sand behind us, it felt like it was just the two of us. So neither of us turned around to look.

Inch by inch, I helped Gabby walk a dozen steps into the water, which splashed midway up our thighs. Given that hole in her skull, a fall could be deadly, so I remained alongside her, holding her arm and her waist, balancing her. I was being vigilant, but it was also nice to be so close to her.

Though the water was warm, an almost perfect 75 degrees, it was at first too cold for Gabby. Still, with the splash of each wave, she moved forward, determined to regain some small part of her former life.

What happened next was almost magical. As Gabby gazed out across the Atlantic with wide eyes and this huge, happy grin, I felt almost mesmerized just looking at her face. And that’s when it hit me: For the first time since the shooting, Gabby looked absolutely joyous.

“Awesome!” she said. “Awesome.”

The water started feeling warmer to her. The sky was clear and very blue. “You really love this, don’t you, Gabby?” I said to her.

“Yes, yes,” she answered. It almost brought a tear to my eye, seeing her so happy.

Gabby sat in her chair with her feet in the water. I sat in a chair next to her.

“You know what would be great?” I said. “In the future, we ought to buy a small house near the ocean, so you can swim.”

“Yes,” she said. “Great!”

“Maybe we’ll get a little fishing boat. Or a sailboat. Maybe on a lagoon, somewhere where the water is warm.”


It felt good to tell her this, to talk about a plan that had nothing to do with a medical treatment or physical rehab or speech therapy.

“Waves,” Gabby said. “Ocean!”

She then became quiet, preferring the soft sound of the waves to her halting voice.

I studied her face, which was luminous. In a lot of ways, she still looked like the beautiful, vivacious woman I’d fallen in love with. But there were differences. Her head was misshapen because of the missing piece of skull and the collection of excess cerebral-spinal fluid. She no longer had that full blond mane familiar to so many people from photos taken before she was shot. Her hair, which had been shaved for surgery, was very short, and had grown back in her natural dark-brown color. And she now had a full set of scars: one on her neck from her tracheotomy, one on the left side of her forehead, marking the spot where the bullet entered her brain, one over her right eye, which was also damaged in the attack, and a set of scars toward the top of her head that allowed her neurosurgeons the access they needed to save her life. Though she used to wear contact lenses, she now had to wear glasses. Because of her injuries, she’d lost about 50 percent of her vision in both eyes.

I took it all in. “You look great, Gabby,” I said. And she did. Despite everything.

Gabby smiled at me. She knows I’m a sucker for that smile of hers. Then she looked back out toward the horizon and her smile widened as the waves lapped against her feet.

I knew what she was thinking: That in this brief moment, it felt as if everything was almost back to normal. That maybe, someday, she’d be whole again.

Meet the Author

Gabrielle Giffords is known across the country for her resilience in the face of violence, and for her consensus-building leadership in Congress. The youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, Giffords served in the Arizona Legislature from 2000-2005 and in Congress from 2006-2012.
Mark Kelly is a retired astronaut and US Navy Captain. His picture book Mousetronaut, illustrated by C.F. Payne was a #1 New York Times bestseller. He flew his first of four missions in 2001 aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour, the same space shuttle that he commanded on its final flight in May 2011.
Jeffrey Zaslow (1958-2012) was most recently the author of The Magic Room. His other books include The Girl from Ames and, as coauthor of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Gabby: Una historia de valor y esperanza 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such an inspirational story about two wonderful people who serve and served their country. It is terrific to hear how well Gabby is progressing. The book is so well written. I could not put it down until I reached the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book twice. I found it to be so inspirational and the writing was so wonderful. As a person with many health issues and a progressive disease, it was an eye opener to see how these two brave people handled and fought their way through this tragic event. Their story will give others hope and courage. It is so appropriate for their story to be available during the holidays. Great gift for family and friends to read and share!
chalkdust423 More than 1 year ago
This book, by Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly with Jeffrey Zaslow, is a story of will power over adversity. It is the story of a woman who will tackle any problem: physical, emotional, social, and political, which stands in the way of her ability to reach her goals. It is the story of a man who helps his wife plot a way back to being the best she can be after a life threatening attack from a gun shot wound to her head. It is about family, friends, and care-givers coming together to offer support, love, care and nurturing. Ultimately it is a story about miracles. The miracle of love between a father and mother toward their daughter, a miracle of love between a husband and wife, a miracle of step-children having to grow up in a hurry to cope with the life threatening and possible loss of a step-mother with whom they never really bonded, a miracle that family, friends, and care givers who were able to work as a cohesive unit to bring Gabby back to what she is now, an individual who defines the word miracle! I couldn't put this book down. I would hope my family and loved ones, as well as care-givers, were as dedicated to my well being as Gabby's were to her in any life threatening situation.
Kars10 More than 1 year ago
Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelley and Jeffrey Zaslow have written an outstanding account of the events that took place on January 8th, 2011. This novel is very easy to read and keeps your interest from chapter to chapter. Gabrielle's determination to regain her life (back to normal) is outstanding! I enjoyed Mark's account of his Military History and Space Exploration, as well. Mark should write another book, just on his NASA training and experience. It would be a great read! Anyone that reads, this book, will come back with a different perspective on life and living from the exraordinary accounts of events in this book. This must have been a heart wrenching novel to write, but it will always be one of my favorite books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed reading about the journey Giffords and Kelly have been on this past year. They are brave, courageous, honorable, and I am so thankful they chose to serve their country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Am I DJ or not?!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ru on or not why didnt you respond to me from marie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love her! She is so brave
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story of her life and accident.
hfineisen More than 1 year ago
As a student in Mr. Pfeffer's High School Civics class I learned about "Free Cheese" and how sitting in the back of class with the B's, C's and D's (alphabetically-not grade wise) was way cooler than sitting in the front. That said, I wish this book would have been available way back then as it is a readable discourse on civility and serving your country. In addition, it touches on how congress works, blended families, and reaching your goals. Oh, and it has space travel and a shooting, too. Regardless of your political views, Giffords' and Kelly's story is inspiring and relatable. Sure, we all may not be or aspire to be congress people or astronauts, but most of us have children who don't like their step parent, aimlessness, sick and injured loved ones and the opportunity with just one vote, the chance to participate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What an awe inspiring account of such a traumatic incident. The book is more then just the accounts of a horrible day in Arizona history, but also a very beautiful love story. I would recommend it very highly to be at the top of a must read
Cheritol More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderfully written book about Gabby's commitment to serving the people of Arizona, her work ethic, and her ability to connect with poeple accross party lines, and Marks commitment to their marriage, her reabilitation, and his work at the space program. This book is a source of inspiration for anyone dealing with a life threatening situation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very good, compelling book., worth reading more than once.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Monk44 More than 1 year ago
An excellent book that really tells Gaby's story. You really get to know her, what kind of person she is and her genuine sincerity in representing the people. I do not feel we've seen or heard the last of her in the world of politics, at least I hope not. Mark and her make a great couple and team in the world of public service. I look forward to hearing about them in the future.