“Lady in Red, Where is Your Head?” by first-author Carolann deBellis, tells the story of a woman who survived a brain injury and a coma after a car accident on an icy New Jersey Turnpike in 1987, when she was 34.
Carolann had it all, the perfect life, before the accident-a great job at a hot Philadelphia salon, a passionate 12-year marriage and a wide circle of friends and family who marveled at her energy and infectious spirit.
Then, in the aftermath of the near-death accident, she lost it all-job, husband and sense of self. After learning to walk, talk and cut hair again, she faced the life-long task of going beyond recovery, beyond recreating the person she was before the accident to aspire for something better. Psychological counseling and the support of a loving circle of family and friends helped her to see that all was not perfect before the accident, helped her redefine a new Carolann, a work in progress who’s less self-absorbed and more self-aware, less controlling, and more open in her relationships with men in her life.
If it weren’t for the imperative, painful job of remaking herself physically, cognitively, and emotionally from a child-like state after the accident, Carolann might never have undertaken the intense personal journey that leads her today, at 59, to say “I thank God for my brain injury that cured me.”
More than a conventional memoir or self-help guide, “Lady in Red” stitches together Carolann’s own words, a diary that her cousin Michael Biello wrote during her coma and rehabilitation, hospital documents, notes from nurses and visitors and Carolann’s collection of inspirational quotes.
“I wrote and rewrote this book for over 20 years to help others who suffered or know someone who has suffered a brain injury,” Carolann says. Certainly, those directly or indirectly affected by a traumatic brain injury will benefit from reading her book, but so will anyone who believes it’s never too late to re-examine yourself and get to work making yourself a better person.