Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘I see this trauma as a blessing because it made me a more positive and grounded person. I was able to start writing music.’

Port Jefferson

“I suffered from a brain trauma in 2009, when my daughter was 6 months old. It turned my whole world upside down. The whole recovery took about five years, during which time I went through all different emotions. Because I’ve been a lifelong musician, my husband said, ‘When you get through this, you’re going to write incredible music.’ I couldn’t even form a sentence without getting symptomatic and nauseous! I was too sick to even reach out for help. There was so much uncertainty, and I didn’t know if I was ever going to heal or if I would ever be the same. It was something that was so much bigger than me.

There is always hope in a hopeless situation.

“I had every reason in the world to be angry. My family and I suffered, but I had to make a choice. I could either hold on to this anger for the rest of my life, or I could live my life with the strength and resilience that it took to survive this trauma. Lo and behold, I was able to start writing music about my trauma. I wanted to write an album that was geared around hope. ‘Finding Hope in Hopeless’ is a healing album that helps you acknowledge feelings about your struggles, and it will also help you find the strength within yourself to cope through challenges.

“I started going on tour before COVID, and I realized that when people heard my story and my music, it brought their own emotions into play, and they related it to their own lives. I see this trauma as a blessing because it made me a more positive and grounded person. It had to be a choice that I can’t hold on to it for the rest of my life. Some people never get over it, and they live their lives in the past. I’m choosing to live in the future. I’m proud that I’m a survivor, and that a small idea turned into a bigger one in which I’m helping other people. Also, I hope my 14-year-old daughter, who was a baby when this happened, sees that I went through something so traumatic and turned it into something more positive that can help other people. I tell people they should never give up. There is always hope in a hopeless situation. Take it day by day, hour by hour, move forward and know within your heart that things will get better. I think if you know it in your heart, your day will just be brighter.”

Interviewed by Iris Wiener