NEW YORK — Jeff and Angela Hartung are in that getting-to know-you stage of their relationship. But unlike most couples going through this discovery period, they’re already married — and have been for the past 17 years.
Angela got hit by a car nearly five years ago while crossing an intersection in New York City. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for about a month. When she woke up, she was trapped in the past.
“I do not remember anything at all. I asked for my two children, I thought they were like 2 and 8 years old. They were 17 and 23 years old,” she said.
Angela had no memory of at least the last fifteen years of her life. She thought she was still married to her first husband, who’d died long ago, and had no recollection whatsoever, of her second wedding to Jeff, or anything about Jeff, which left him with a question that had no easy answer: How to go from stranger back to spouse?
He started by lining virtually every inch of their home with pictures, reminders of happier days. Then he began courting his wife again, and most importantly, he never left her side. It worked, which called for a celebration — one Angela would never forget.
Earlier this month, surrounded by friends and family in New York’s Central Park, Jeff and Angela started the next chapter of their storybook tale, by retelling their vows.
Of course, those painful years would have broken a lot of marriages. But Jeff believes the accident did quite the opposite for his.
“I honestly believe that this happened for a reason,” he said.
He feels it’s a blessing that he had to prove himself all over again.
“How many times have we said, ‘I wish I could go back and do something over again?’ I’ve gotten to do that,” Jeff said.
That’s the beauty of having a second chance at finding your one, true love.
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