I saw the photos of Gabrielle Giffords the other day. The camera focuses on Giffords' beautiful smile. Her mother is the background, maybe a little care-worn, but smiling.
I don't know if we have many photos of my mother and me together from those six weeks when I was at the hospital and in Spaulding. But my mother was there, every day. If we had a photo, probably you would see my mother smiling proudly, maybe after she had pointed out my latest accomplishment.
For me, a lot of those days blur together: the parade of visitors, the endless procedures, the night awakenings. I do remember that after other people had left, often my mother would stay. As I drifted into and out of consciousness, she sat in a chair by the foot of my bed, quietly reading magazines.
Every so often I would open my eyes, on the cusp of sleep, wondering if she had left.
She was always still there, quietly sitting.
10 hours ago