Visit stirs Jan. 8 memories for Giffords

Previously, she hadn't recalled anything, says husband Mark Kelly
2012-01-09T00:00:00Z 2014-07-30T17:21:36Z Visit stirs Jan. 8 memories for GiffordsStephanie Innes Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 09, 2012 12:00 am  • 

A visit to the Safeway where she was shot sparked memories of Jan. 8 that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords hadn't previously recalled, her husband said Sunday.

Giffords, 41, and her husband, Mark Kelly, visited the northwest-side supermarket Saturday evening. It was the first time Giffords had been there since last year's shooting.

The congresswoman previously had expressed no memories of last Jan. 8, when she was shot through the left side of the brain during a constituent meet-and-greet event. She was one of 19 people shot that day. Six people died.

During the spontaneous visit to the Safeway, Giffords was able to recall where she parked, her husband said.

Kelly said Giffords also remembered how cold it had been that morning, which brought another memory - that her aide Pam Simon bought mittens for her at Walgreens.

A small crowd gathered when Giffords visited the supermarket, and she was also able to speak to the assistant manager who had been on duty the day she was shot, Kelly said.

"We're spending a lot of time talking about a year ago," Kelly said, adding that he also has remembered details of last Jan. 8 that he had not previously thought about.

On Saturday morning, Giffords and Kelly walked a trail named in memory of her aide Gabe Zimmerman, who died in the shooting.

Kelly said Giffords has also had a chance to visit with friends while in Tucson. She was particularly interested to hear their memories of last Jan. 8 and the emotions they experienced, Kelly said.

Kelly also said Giffords did not want to attract attention to herself at Sunday night's vigil at the University of Arizona. Rather, her visit to her hometown is about honoring those who were lost that day and reflecting on the past year, he emphasized.

Giffords and Kelly were scheduled to return to Houston today.

Kelly said that while the Tucson visit was one of much sadness, Giffords enjoyed visiting with her friends and family, and seeing the mountains.

Kelly said Giffords is looking forward to spending more and more time in Tucson as she continues to recover from her injury.

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