Lovey-dovey couples often tell each other, "If I had to do it all over again, I'd still pick you."
But not many couples have their love put to the test with that exact situation.
Jeff and Angela Hartung did. And this month, their incredible love story got its second happy ending.
"It felt like I was in a movie. It didn't feel real."
Angela was a widower with two young children when she met Jeff, and the couple tied the knot in 2000, just two years later.
They lived happily in New York City for more than a decade, but in 2013 Angela was struck by a car while crossing the road.
A nearby ambulance driver saw the accident and rushed Angela to the hospital, probably saving her life.
She had suffered a traumatic brain injury, and stayed in a coma for a month after the crash.
Throughout that month, Angela's doctor, John Sherman, says Jeff never left her bedside.
But when Angela woke up, something was wrong.
She remembers waking up and asking for her two children, expecting her daughter to be two and her son to be eight.
Instead, "they were 17 and 23 years old," she remembered.
The crash and coma had erased at least 15 years of her memory, leaving Angela convinced it was 1998, and she was still married to her first husband.
As for Jeff, Angela mistook him for a doctor and had no memory of her current husband,
“It was very upsetting,” she told New York Daily News.
“To this day, I get upset and start crying. It felt like I was in a movie. It didn't feel real.”
"It was so much harder the second time."
In fact, it was just like the Hollywood movie The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams.
Jeff had to convince Angela that she had fallen in love with him, despite her amnesia.
His first idea was to set out pictures of them, including wedding photos, throughout their home.
He also started "dating" Angela again, and spent as much time with her as possible.
Later, he even took her on "memory walks" to places they had been to jog her memory.
“It was so much harder the second time,” Jeff said.
“I had to win her heart. There was no trust. She lost that. That’s a hard thing to rebuild.”
But all his hard work paid off. This month, the pair renewed their vows in a ceremony at New York's Central Park.
"My memory is still completely gone," said Angela, "and it takes me a lot to remember to get excited about things."
"But I have pictures all over the house of Jeff and me, and he's just such an awesome man. It makes me cry."
Angela is still praying for a complete recovery someday, but Jeff is taking everything in stride.
Incredibly, they both say that the accident must have happened "for a reason."
"How many times have we said, 'I wish I could go back and do something over again?'" Jeff said.
"I've gotten to do that."
Next, the couple are headed on their second honeymoon, but Angela won't say so.
“Angela doesn't like calling it a 'wedding' or a 'honeymoon,'" Jeff explains, "because we're already married. She's very technical."
For her, this experience is about "creating new memories."
“I want people to know that we can go on in life. We can go on, even if our memory is wiped out.”
Here are even more incredible but true stories:
- This woman's rare form of amnesia makes her forget everything after 1994.
- Trapped in a coma for 20 years, her first words stunned her parents.
- 8 people who beat their doctor's expectations and miraculously survived.