BOSTON (WMAR) -
They were haunting pictures seen around the world, the face of tragedy, and through the eyes of Ellicott City native, Nicole Gross.
Today, she's able to laugh and smile in her hospital room in Boston. Nichole's husband, Michael, sits with her, determined to be strong and move forward.
"I feel the mixed emotions of sadness and confusion still," said Gross.
Her injuries from the bombings were severe. She's been through several surgeries to fix both of her broken legs and to remove the countless pieces of shrapnel in her body.
"Talking with a therapist for sure has helped. I was meeting with someone soon after just to talk thru it," said Gross.
Nicole was at the marathon to watch her mom run the race, along with her sister Erika Brannock, a Towson teacher. It's still very hard for Nicole to talk about details of that day.
"It was just a day of positivity and well wishes for her and unfortunately it had a traumatic ending to it," said Gross.
She shows how the physical therapy has been vital to helping her use her legs again and finally stand. Just 15 minutes is very exhausting.
Nicole lives in Charlotte now. She is a fitness trainer, a tri-athlete, and she's even helped people with physical disabilities, which she believes motivated her recovery.
"I'm a much better person. It's taught me a lot about myself," said Gross.
Nicole will likely spend the next few weeks in rehab before going back home to North Carolina. Friends say her sister has at least another month in the hospital.