Today, a meet and greet between Representative Gabrielle Giffords and constituents outside a Tucson grocery store turned deadly when a gunman opened fire, killing six people and wounding 14 others. It is dark times like this when finding gratitude is both difficult and essential.
One of the victims of this tragedy was 9-year-old Christina Green. A beautiful little girl with an indelible spirit, Green was born on 9/11 and according to her parents was so proud of both her birthday and her country. As her mother said, Christina's birth "lent a grace note of hope to that terrible day."
Even in tragedy we need to find a "grace note of hope." 76-year-old Dorwan Stoddard was one of the victims of the shooting in Tucson and he died saving his wife, Mavy. Stoddard was a church volunteer and Mavy was his high school sweetheart. When the shooting started, he jumped in front of his wife and, quite literally, gave his life for her.
Tonight we celebrated my sister, Megan's, 36th birthday. Five years ago Megan underwent open heart surgery to fix a corroded artery that had been deteriorated by radiation from childhood cancer treatment. When she was going through all of her hospital treatments and surgery, I literally wanted to step in front of her, step in her place and take the bullet. I wanted to save her from the pain and suffering. I am learning that this is what love truly is, to know that you would rather sacrifice your own life for the ones you love. Tonight we celebrated my sister's birthday with cake and presents as her 8-year-old daughter danced around the room, handing presents to her mother and showing everyone the book she was reading (Junie B. Jones).
I am grateful for my sister's health because a few years ago I almost lost her. Life is precious and we need to hold the ones we love tight, forever. Love never fails.