This woman lost 19 years of memory, but her boyfriend is determined to help her fall in love all over again
Posted February 17
Updated February 18
Picture yourself waking up one day not knowing who you are, where you are or anyone around you. This nightmare was a reality for 20-year-old Jessica Sharman.
The moment she lost her memory
In March 2016, Sharman suffered a seizure while on the train to work, The Sun reported. She was later told that her body went limp and her eyes glazed over. “Everyone was a stranger to me,” she said. “I didn’t even know my own name.”
Her boyfriend, Rich Bishop, worked with her in downtown London, so he was with her at the time of the incident. Bishop helped her to the station, off the train and to their office where he contacted her parents.
Sharman recalled seeing a woman running towards her, claiming to be her mother, she said. She didn’t remember anyone, even her own parents.
“Mum put a hand on my knee, but I pushed it off,” Sharman said. “It felt weird to be touched by a stranger."
Sharman only agreed to get in the car with her mother because she showed pictures of them together. After looking in a mirror to confirm that she was the woman in the photo, Sharman felt comfortable with going home with her mom, reporters said.
Now Sharman had to get to know herself and “meet” her parents Lisa, 49, and Gary, 56, all over again.
Her parents took her to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London the next day. She was diagnosed with amnesia and in the hospital for a week.
Although Sharman has known she has amnesia since she was 14 years old, it had never had affected her before, reporters said. Doctors told her that it would take six months to retain her memory if it returned at all.
Her rocky relationship
Two weeks after the diagnosis, Sharman tried to break things off with her boyfriend. She told him that she didn’t see how their relationship could work since he was a stranger to her.
But Bishop wasn’t going to give up that easily, and he begged her to give it a try.
"Seeing how passionate he was convinced me that he must care for me,” she said, “so I agreed to date him but made no promises."
Bishop took Sharman to her favorite parks and restaurants, but she still felt uncomfortable at first.
“I wouldn’t even walk next to him,” she said. “When he held my hand, I pulled away.”
But Bishop’s efforts eventually won her over. "I don't remember the first time I fell in love with Rich,” Sharman said, “but I do remember the second.”
The future threat
Even though the couple is happily in love all over again, a threat still looms over their relationship.
“I try not to dwell on it because that won’t get me anywhere – the same way that worrying about my memory going in the future won’t help anything,” she said.
Now that almost a year has past since she lost her memory, Sharman said that she can face what the future holds. “For now, I want to focus on creating new memories.”
Shaelynn Miller is a journalist who has a passion for photography, video production and writing.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.