Tina Carruthers, 25, one of the two survivors of the Feb. 20 Kalamazoo, Mich., shooting spree allegedly by an Uber driver, spoke out about her painful and emotional recovery at a press conference from the Borgess Medical Center, NBC News reports.
Carruthers said that her daughter's "beautiful smile" has helped her through the traumatic experience.
"I have days where I'm crying and I'm feeling so down," Carruthers, who is in a wheelchair with her arm in a sling, said. "It's hard for my child to see that."
Carruthers suffered four gunshot wounds while shielding a group of children from the hail of bullets. She was watching her daughter and a group of other children at a playground outside an apartment complex when Uber driver Jason Dalton allegedy shot at the group, one of a series of attacks with which he's charged.
"My arm has been completely reconstructed," she said. "I still have a bullet lodged into my liver. Most of my fingers were broken. Both of my thigh bones—there's metal in both of them."
Now back home after weeks in the hospital, Carruthers is trying to be strong for her daughter, even though "it's been a long road."
"Just being 25 and being in a wheelchair, just trying to walk—I put a smile on my face every day. I'm trying to be the same person that I was, but that is entirely impossible," she said.
However, she acknowledges, "it feels good to sleep in my own bed and be around my daughter to see her beautiful smile. She's so special. I love her. Just her smile, it gets me through a day," she said.
And despite her pain, Carruthers says she is not angry at the shooter and is "working on forgiving" him. "For some reason, I do not hate him," she said. "Sometimes I get angry with myself because I don't, and I don't know if anyone could ever understand that.
"I feel like I'm a child at zero months right now," she added. "I'm living life like it's my last."
Dalton has told authorities he started shooting after a "devil figure" appeared on his Uber app, according to NBC. He is facing multiple charges, including six counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Read more at NBC News.