Giffords' husband: 'She's a really, really tough woman'
'I'm really worried that somebody's gonna come up to me at one of these events with a gun'
"Gabby's got a long road ahead of her," said Mark Kelly, the husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, told ABC News on Sunday.
The congresswoman had discussed her worries about safety with him, Kelly said.
Kelly spoke publicly for the first time after a Jan. 8 attack on his wife.
Also Sunday, Kelly spoke briefly at a private memorial service for Gabriel Zimmerman, an aide who died in the attack on the congresswoman.
"She's a fighter," Kelly told mourners gathered to remember the 30 year old social worker who served as Giffords' community outreach director, the New York Times reported.
"I know someday she'll get to tell you how she felt about Gabe herself," Kelly said.
Giffords was inspired by Zimmerman's "idealism, his strength and his warmth," Kelly said.
Kelly was speaking for the first time since a Jan. 8 rampage left his wife shot in the head and 18 other struck by bullets, including six who died.
Kelly and Giffords had discussed her safety, he told ABC News on Sunday, in an interview due for broadcast Tuesday night. He had "absolutely" worried about her safety.
"She's had death threats. As a lot of members of Congress have death threats. She's had 'em before," he said.
"She says, you know, 'Someday I'm really worried that somebody's gonna come up to me at one of these events with a gun,'" Kelly said.
"Gabby's got a long road ahead of her," Kelly said. "We know that the recovery from these kind of injuries isn't measured in days and weeks. It's more like weeks and months. And so she's got a long, tough road ahead of her. But, you know, she's a really, really tough woman."
Kelly has remained at Giffords' side, holding a vigil with family and friends and sleeping at the hospital.
Kelly attended Wednesday's memorial service at McKale Center, sitting with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. He also attended Thursday's funeral for Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year-old victim of the shooting.
Kelly told doctors that Giffords has smiled at him, and told ABC's Diane Sawyer that she gave him a neck rub.
[It is] so typical of her," Kelly told ABC. "She's in the ICU. You know, gone through this traumatic injury. And she spent 10 minutes giving me a neck massage.
"I keep telling her. I'm like, 'Gabby, you're in the ICU. You know, you don't need — you know, you don't need to be doing this.' But it's so typical of her that no matter how bad the situation might be for her, you know, she's looking out for other people."
Kelly told a University Medical Center trauma surgeon that his wife has shown some facial expressions.
"Her husband told me that she's smiling," Dr. Randall Friese said at a briefing Monday morning.
"We all want to see the best. Sometimes we see what we want to see, but if he said she is smiling, I buy it," Friese said.
Monday, doctors agreed that Giffords' recovery has been "miraculous."
"That word holds up very well," said Dr. G. Michael Lemole, a UMC neurosurgeon.
Giffords could be discharged "in a matter of days or weeks," he said.
She faces a lengthy period of rehabilitation, Lemole said.
Her family is looking at facilities across the country, but proximity for her family is an important concern, he said.