My dear friend and author of the book Me Now – Who Next? The Inspiring Story of A Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery suggested I comment on the progress of three affirmations I wrote at the end of the book nearly five years ago. It states:
“I believe in the power of affirmations. Many of you might not venture a guess at the outcome of my story. At the risk of spoiling the surprise, let me tell you the end. I have very clear affirmations of the direction of my life:
1.) I will become an effective advocate for traumatic brain injury survivors and their families.
2.) I will sing again.
3.) I will find the second love of my life.”
The first affirmation has manifested, as I am now the chairwoman of the New York City Chapter of the Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS). I also serve on its Board of Directors.
The chapter refers to itself as BIA-NYC, pronounced “bionic,” inspired by the former Vice-Chairwoman. The definition of bionic is having body parts made stronger or more capable by special devices, or having normal performance enhanced by electronic devices. Beyond the technology, I believe this is what the BIA-NYC chapter does; we enhance each other’s recoveries and healing through the support of our friendships. There are approximately 45 members who regularly attend the monthly chapter meetings.
“I will sing again” is the second affirmation. There is still some work that lies ahead. I have been told my voice has returned, but only to those ears who didn’t hear me sing karaoke before the car crash. The sound is not the same as it once was before the tracheotomy. This change may only be noticeable to my own ear, and there is a dose of acceptance that comes along with this. Angela 2 has to let go of the desire to sound like Angela 1 again, as this may not be possible (for more clarity on this analogy, refer to the Chicken Soup For The Soul blog post from January 2014).
I have an inspiring song now, and I will sing again at the right time. My dear friend Sally from church began to offer voice lessons and exercises to practice at home. My plate is full with Chairwoman responsibilities so this goal has taken a back seat. We practiced a favorite song by Sarah McLaughlin titled “I Will Remember You”. With Rich in mind, its lyrics have a new meaning now:
I will remember you
Will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories.
The final affirmation has manifested wonderfully. I have met the second love of my life, and am deeply in love with Adam Augustus Renzi. I purposely avoid the expression “fell in love” because this relationship was no accident. Through setting intensions, we both came into each other’s lives at the right and perfect time. We each had a few important teachers to meet along the way, which helped us value and appreciate the love that we have cultivated.
I am careful to not compare Augustus to my husband Rich. When we met, I sold him a copy of Me Now – Who Next? Augustus told me he often wished that the woman he dated were accompanied by a memoir about their lives, as there had been dark secrets in past relationships. My book was received kind of like a manual.
He brought up the photo of Rich in the book and acknowledged their similarity in appearance. He told me he felt he had big shoes to fill. I explained those shoes will never be filled, and they aren’t meant to be. What we are building is a new and unique love.