My life almost ended six years ago. On July 31, 2008, my husband, Rich, and I were driving home from a New York Yankees baseball game when we were involved in a car crash. I awoke from a coma six weeks later in a strange hospital bed and was told that Rich had not survived. We would have celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary during the time I was in the coma.
My parents were told not to expect me to walk or talk again, if I even survived. After three months at Helen Hayes Hospital, just outside New York City, I was relocated to North Carolina to be cared for by family during my next phase of rehabilitation, which lasted nearly two years.
After progress that exceeded all expectations, including my own, I decided I was strong enough to return to New York where I could receive the best medical care possible. Because of the traumatic brain injury that resulted from the crash, along with numerous other severe injuries, the doctor declared me permanently disabled.
This life-altering circumstance afforded me time I normally would never have had to attend classes, retreats, and Sunday services at Unity of New York, my spiritual home. While my broken bones were healing, my broken spirit was healing too. Much like going to the gym to rehabilitate and strengthen my body, I developed a prayer practice to strengthen my spiritual muscles.
My prayer partnership with Britt Hall has been a blessing beyond words. Britt is the director of music ministry at Unity of New York and he has been my prayer partner for years. (Editor’s note: See Britt Hall’s article.)
Britt and I have become very close. I refer to him as the big brother I never had. We devote five days a week to our prayer time. Because I have memory challenges, I rely on an iPhone alarm to remind me. I use the church bells of “Bell Tower” as my prayer alarm. When I hear the chime at 10 a.m., I know it is time to call Britt to “get our prayer on.”
With a brain injury, I can sometimes become distracted or long-winded. When this happens, Britt lovingly reminds me that both of our plates are quite full and he gently helps me refocus. Rather than talking at length with chatty updates, we go right into prayer. Our intention is to pray in the affirmative way as taught by Unity. We rarely discuss the problem or circumstance. We focus on knowing the truth that God is always present, no matter the situation or need. In prayer, Britt and I know the truth for each other, especially at those times when we may have difficulty knowing it for ourselves.
Our calls usually last from five to 15 minutes, although they can take longer when time allows. Since we both have busy calendars, maintaining flexibility is key to our success. While devoted to our daily call time, we sometimes must rely on “divine timing” when one of us in unavailable at the assigned time. It is because of our commitment that it always works out.
While my outpatient therapies continue on a weekly basis, I have become a strong voice as an advocate for brain injury awareness. Whether helping to establish legislation in Washington, D.C., or consulting for a new treatment program with an emphasis on meditation and spirituality at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, my life clearly has a new direction. I have no doubt that my prayer partnership with Britt has been the most powerful aspect of my recovery. It has created a rock solid foundation in my life. Miracles continue to unfold on a daily basis, and I know the best is yet to come.