Her father Spencer -- with whom she had a special bond -- died suddenly. He taught her a lot about humor, strength and responsibility, handing her the keys to his tire business when she was just 26.
Giffords' grit and determination also comes from her mother, Gloria -- a force of nature. She is an artist whose home is in the middle of the desert, miles from civilization.
Off-roading with Gabby
You have to go off-road to get there. There are so many desert rocks that on the way home, Kelly got a flat tire in the pitch black night.
Giffords, the daughter of a tire salesman and expert tire changer in her own right, got out of the car to help.
Giffords bond with mother, who sat by her hospital bed for countless hours and still plays a central role in her long road to recovery, is tighter than ever.
And there may be a sliver of hope for Giffords, now 42, to have a child of her own. When she was shot, she was trying to get pregnant with fertility treatments.
They still have two frozen embryos. But given Giffords injuries, they'd likely have to use a surrogate.
"I don't know," said Giffords, looking over at Kelly for his response.
"We -- you know, we talk about it. We talk about it. We haven't made a decision," said Kelly.
Asked whether she is ever resentful about what happened to her, Giffords replied:
"Move ahead. Move ahead," she said.