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Giffords' husband contemplates return to work

When is it the right time to go back to work when a loved one is ill? According to a Reuters piece on Science Daily, astronaut Mark Kelly has said he'll decide in a couple of weeks whether he'll join the next NASA space shuttle launch scheduled for April. And while theirs is an extraordinary case, it does highlight a conundrum many people face when there is a major illness or accident in a family: Does going back to work make it seem like I don't care? And: How useful am I doting on my wife/child/parent, anyway?

Mr. Kelly, the commander of April's Endeavour mission, has been on leave to tend to Gabrielle Giffords, since the January 8 attack in Tucson, which killed six and wounded 13, the piece reports.

"I believe Mark is planning to decide in the next few weeks whether he can resume training and of course he will be candid with the space shuttle crew," NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver told a reporter during a Sunday visit to Israel's Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies.

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"It is an important thing to them as a family, but they have to balance their priorities. So I think we'll be having that decision in mid-February."

Ms. Giffords was transferred to a rehabilitation facility in Houston, Texas on Jan 21 after undergoing hospital treatment, Reuters reports. NASA has a backup crew member in training for Endeavour.

Sure, space travel may be a little more dangerous than your desk job, but what's the right thing to do here?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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