Mark Kelly always assumed
his career was riskier than his
wife’s. Today, he and Gabrielle
Giffords are triumphing in the
face of the unthinkable.
in your life and career? For me, it was a risk-versus-reward calculation in each of my
four space flights. And the reward wasn’t only what it meant to me personally, but also
to NASA, our nation, and the human race. I think acceptable risk, however, is such a
personal decision. Most of us make these kinds of decisions on a weekly basis. I’ve
always thought that taking risk is a good thing—you just have to be careful.
The tragic shooting pushed both of you into the spotlight. What lessons have you
learned from all that public exposure? Things can change for any of us very quickly.
Your whole life could be turned upside-down in an instant. Over the last three and a
half years, I’ve met many people who share their own life-changing moments—a car
accident, a stroke, a heart attack. What I’ve learned is careers and the spotlight come
and go, but family members who are close to you matter more than anything. How well
you balance your work and your family is what’s really important.
How did you and Gabby survive and thrive as a couple amid extreme adversity?
Even when really bad things happen, there are some good things that come out of it.
For Gabby and me, we now get to spend basically each and every day together, and
we still get to serve our communities, just in a different way than before. Our bond and
love have grown deeper since Gabby’s injury. And when things look the bleakest, you
need to have the attitude that they can only get better.
No one knows better than Capt. Mark Kelly and his wife Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona
congresswoman who was critically injured
in a shooting spree three and a half years
ago, about how life can change on a dime.
In an e-mail interview with REALTOR®
Magazine, Kelly, a retired astronaut and
naval aviator, discussed how he and
Giffords have weathered their personal
crisis and the role of risk in all of our lives.
How did your professional training and
experiences help prepare you for the
challenges you and your wife, Gabrielle
Giffords, faced in her darkest hour?
Before January 8, 2011, the day Gabby
was shot, I never considered that she was
the one with the risky career. But as it
turned out, she would be the one to nearly
lose her life serving our country. I think
some of my experiences and training
with NASA and in the Navy helped me
make some decisions about Gabby’s
treatment early on, when she couldn’t
make those decisions for herself. When
you fly the space shuttle or a fighter in
combat, things happen very fast, so you
learn to evaluate the circumstances very
quickly. It is something learned through
Spaceflight is a risky endeavor. How do
you decide what risks are worth taking
CAPTAIN MARK KELLY