Tucson victim marks anniversary of her former life

Tomorrow is the third anniversary of the Tucson assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

A gunman’s rampage in Connecticut pushed the Giffords shooting to the sideline in the ongoing debate over gun control legislation.

Six people were killed. Giffords, as most people know, was seriously hurt, has had a slow and remarkable recovery, and resigned last year from the House of Representatives.

Less well known is what’s happened to others who survived, like Ashleigh Burroughs, who isn’t marking tomorrow’s anniversary. She’s marking today’s. “The last day of my former life,” she writes on her blog:

I could count on my body to do what was needed, to be strong and resilient and willing to be burdened. I scampered. I scurried. I ran.

Bullets took most of that away from me, although some is returning as time passes. I’ve learned the difference between exercise and rehabilitation, and though I long for the ecstatic release I felt after a hard work out, I’ve become comfortable with the aches and pains my rehab sessions engender. New sensations are signs of progress; if the pain is moving around, some parts must be healing and others must be waking up.

It makes sense to me, and that’s all that matters.

That is, perhaps, the most important lesson I’ve learned. If I can make sense of a situation, that’s all I need. I don’t have to understand the why’s and the what if’s, because they won’t change the outcome. I know what I want, and I can’t have it. Christina-Taylor is gone, my hip is shattered, my sense of invulnerability has vanished. I have conjured up a way to live with the losses and the rearrangement of attitude and have come out, on the other side, with new skills, new friends, and a new appreciation for the mundane.

Still, it’s nice to take a moment and remember that there was another me on the other side of tragedy. Sometimes, I miss her a lot.

(h/t: Julia Schrenkler)