For days, the world thought she was dead — the first of the many that would die on a May day that scarred the community of Uvalde, Texas, forever.
But Celia Gonzales, the first person shot by her grandson Salvador Ramos on the day of the slaughter at Robb Elementary School, defied death and has now been discharged from the hospital, according to KHOU-TV.
When a blood-covered Gonzales came out of her home that day, she told her neighbors, “Look at what he did to me,” according to the Daily Mail.
But although the 66-year-old woman is out of the hospital, her battle is far from over.
This is a photo of the shooter’s grandma, Celia Gonzales. Her family provided this photo to me, and describe her as a loving, caring person. She is still in the hospital. pic.twitter.com/4KKU1GPwN1
— Isis Romero (@RomeroIsis) May 26, 2022
“He shot her in the face, so all of this was blown,” Shelby Salazar, a granddaughter, said, according to WOIA-TV, pointing to her lower jaw. “He severed the main artery that pumps blood from her heart to her brain.”
For a few days, Gonzales teetered on the edge between life and death.
“The doctors stated they didn’t even know how she was alive,” Salazar said. “She was a miracle.”
She has endured nine surgeries. With her mouth wired shut, Gonzales can neither eat nor speak. Salazar said Gonzales was alert, though.
“She’s able to understand everybody, she’s able to write and tell you what she wants to tell you,” she said.
“My grandmother is a beautiful woman, inside and out. A strong person,” Salazar said. “I hope one day she’s able to have her bubbly self back. I really do. Because I miss that.”
In a GoFundMe request for support, Natalie Salazar, Gonzales’s daughter, wrote about the family’s struggle.
“We are deeply saddened with what happened on May 24. It has my family shaken to the core, especially my mom. We give our most sincere condolences to all the families that lost a loved one that day, as my children and I have lost my little cousin Layla on my dad’s side of the family too and my nephew on my mom’s side,” she wrote.
“I speak for my children and I when I say we’ve been hit from all sides. My mom was shot in the face and left to die alone in her home by her very own grandson.
“It was by the grace of God that she was able to get up off the floor and walk to a neighbor’s home and ask for help,” she said.
“It will be months before she can even go home.”
“God has called his children to come together. We need to change our ways and pray. We can not continue to spew hate. I know it will take time but we have to forgive those who have wronged us. We can not keep judging. Leave that to God. Quit tearing each other down we can not let evil win. I pray for peace and for God to comfort you in these difficult times as we ourselves our also grieving.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.