The Hardest Part

The hardest part, her father was saying, is that she's always been so vibrant. "The connector," her friend Anneliese calls her. Alice Hershey, 29, has always been the connector, the one to instigate various outings in the city, making sure everyone was involved, flashing that roar of a smile.

You can see a restlessness beginning to emerge, now that the pain meds have been dialed down and the coma has given her brain seven weeks to heal. She's at Bryn Mawr Rehab, and a swirl of activity surrounds her as she curl in her bed. Her eyes are open. It is not clear what she registers.

Her family and an incredible community of friends - more than 850 on Facebook -  have gathered around this 2002 Swarthmore grad to help pull through. There's hope, there's realism, often in the same breath. There really aren't many answers yet. She was hit by an SUV while she pedaled her bicycle through a red light on August 14. So many people are pulling for her. Today's metro column.