TUCSON, Ariz. – Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband are moving back to Tucson on Sunday, a year and a half after she moved to Houston to undergo intensive physical and speech therapy after she was wounded by a gunman at an event outside a grocery store.
Giffords' husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, told the Arizona Daily Star that his wife will continue therapy in Tucson but says it's not going to be the six to eight hours per day she'd been doing in Houston.
"You know, it's time for her to get back to as much of a normal life as possible after this type of catastrophic injury," Kelly said. "Obviously, a big thing for her is to come home."
Giffords was among 19 people who were shot in the attack. She and 12 others survived, while six people died.
Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty on Aug. 2 to the shooting rampage as part of an agreement with prosecutors that will send him to prison for life and spare him a possible death sentence. His sentencing is set for Nov. 15.
Kelly told the Daily Star that Giffords has barely any memory of those first weeks after her injury, but after she was moved to Houston and realized she wasn't in Arizona, she kept talking about returning home.
Kelly said "it was very important for her to be in Houston, where she was able to get very specific therapy for this type of injury. She did that for a year and a half, and the second we realized that was going to start winding down, it was time for us to start looking forward to how we could get to Tucson."
In Tucson, Giffords has some things she'll be involved in, but Kelly said he couldn't go into any detail right now.
When asked whether Giffords will be up to making a speech or doing interviews in the future, he said he's confident that she will. But he doesn't want to put any kind of a timeline on when.
"She does continue to get better, and I think she will for years and years," he said. "I have heard anecdotally from other people who have had these kind of injuries, if you remain focused and do the hard work, you will keep improving."