An accident, stolen memories, and love

Car after accidient

 

On August 28th, Ruth’s life changed forever. A truck ran a red light and hit the car she was riding in with her fiancee Mike. They were pushed into a light pole.

Ruth was severely injured. They had to cut her out of the car and the first responders were unsure she was going to survive.

Upon arriving at the hospital, she underwent several tests. They did a full body MRI and discovered a brain cyst that was there before the accident. Aside from a concussion, that was the only serious injury Ruth had.

She was sent home.

Ruth suffered through her serious concussion. The first couple weeks were very difficult for her. She was in and out of consciousness with lots of dizziness and headaches. Mike tried to help take care of her as best as he could.

Thankfully Mike’s parents live 2 doors down. They were able to watch Mike and Ruth’s three children while Ruth worked on getting better. Ruth had trouble remembering appointments and things so she had to write it all down. Mike’s mom drove Ruth to hip therapy.

Slowly, Ruth started to get better.

But as Ruth got better, Mike got worse.

About two weeks after the accident Mike starting acting odd. He was hallucinating. He would talk to people who weren’t there. He would lose consciousness and stare off into space.

At first, Ruth thought he was playing a joke. But then she tested it.“We got a pin and poked him but nothing.” There was something definitely wrong with Mike. He was there but they were losing him.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”200px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]He was there but they were losing him.[/dropshadowbox]

Those moments became more frequent. Mike became agitated easily. His body temperature was way off. There were times when he felt extremely hot or cold, no matter the weather outside.

He would stumble when he tried to walk. He looked and acted drunk although he was completely sober.

They took him to the hospital several times but the doctors never found anything wrong.

“I was out of breath and no one could help me. I was so angry when the doctors told me there was nothing wrong or nothing they could do. In my head I questioned why they were brain doctors and they couldn’t do anything.”

Ruth started to lose hope. She was trying to raise her 3 kids and train a new 4 month old puppy. She was homeschooling her oldest child and trying to balance the health issues with Mike. When she woke up in the morning she wouldn’t know if it was going to be a good day or a bad day.

It all depended on the mood Mike was in.

On October 3rd and ER doctor finally observed Mike’s hallucinations. They ran him through even more tests and brain scans and decided he had some kind of brain injury from the accident, although nothing was ever conclusive.

Ruth's love in hospital

But Mike continued to get worse. By October 16th, Mike started losing his short term memory. Shortly after that he was released and medically cleared to do therapy.

That didn’t help. The rehab clinic found out Mike’s insurance had run out and became hesitant to help.

Ruth was out of options. The man she loved was slowly losing his memory and nobody besides Mike’s parents were there to help.

By the middle of November, Mike’s memory problem continued to worsen. He was not retaining any new information and moving backwards in life.

He was agitated and angry. He lashed out and said things that would hurt Ruth and their children.

But Ruth remained dedicated to this man.

“When I needed him or someone beside me, he was always there. I had to return the favor. He needed me to be there for him. In my head I was thinking what would he have done if I was the one like that?”

By Christmas, Mike had forgotten week’s of his life. By January he was living years in the past.

One by one he forgot each of his children. On good days, he trusted his parents and Ruth that they were his kids. On bad days, he thought somebody was trying to tie him down with a family of strangers.

And then he forgot Ruth.

Ruth’s love. The man she lived with and intended to marry could no longer remember her existence. It wasn’t his fault, his brain was sick, but it was still a living hell.

There were days when she’d had too much. Days when she couldn’t take the anger and accusations from Mike anymore. Days when she was tempted to pack up and leave.

She would call Mike’s parents and tell them to come get him, that she couldn’t take it anymore and she didn’t want that stranger back in her house. He visited his parents for a few hours while both Mike and Ruth had a chance to calm down.

During this time the brain injury changed who Mike was. He wasn’t aware of who he was or what he was saying. He was ignorant to the harm he was doing. He was mean, agitated, and would say things that hurt those who loved him in their deepest places.

But there was a part of Mike that was still there. Each and every time he left to go to his parent’s house he still missed Ruth. He would ask to go back, and after she calmed down, she always welcomed him back home.

Ruth could have left. Mike didn’t remember her or her children. She could walk out at any time and Mike would never have known. By the next morning, he would be a single man living in a house 2 doors down from his parents.

Even Mike’s mom told Ruth that she could go. She told her, “Ruth, we don’t know if he will ever get better. Do what you need to do. Dad and I will take care of him. I don’t expect you to be tied down to this.”

There was a time when Ruth thought about leaving. She didn’t know the man in front of her. The man Mike was becoming. She saw her children hurting and wanted to protect them from the harm that their father was doing.

But Ruth’s commitment and love won out.

She loved a man who could not love her back. It wasn’t that he was unwilling, he was incapable of loving her because he didn’t know her. But she knew inside, beneath the brain injury he was still a good man. A man with issues, but good in his core.

[dropshadowbox align=”left” effect=”lifted-both” width=”200px” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]It wasn’t that he was unwilling, he was incapable of loving her because he didn’t know her.[/dropshadowbox]

Like any full time caregiver, she needed breaks, but her love and her dedication gave her the strength to get through.

She prayed often, and asked others for support and prayer.

“I thought the hell would stop and everything would be back to normal. I was just waiting for that day that it would hit him and he would be himself….I felt my children didn’t need to go through that, but they love their father. I stayed because deep inside of me I was hoping and looking for the man I fell in love with. I thought deep in my heart he would come to me.”

So Ruth continued to fight.

She helped and supported Mike in every way she could. She continued to love this man who couldn’t love her. She continued to love this man who would be so mean. She continued to love a man who accused her of trying to trick him into a family.

By March, Mike slowly started to get some short term memory back.

If you’ve ever seen the movie 50 First Dates, Ruth was living with 10 Second Tom. Mike would remember something, but forget it 2 minutes later.

There was hope, there was progress, but Mike was still forgetting. 2 minutes slowly turned into 2 days. Mike began remembering bits and pieces of the present, but the past was still gone.

Mike decided he wanted to take a trip to Puerto Rico to meet Ruth’s family. A trip he had taken several years ago but had long forgotten.

Everyone tried to talk Mike out of it many times. Mike’s parents didn’t think it was a good idea. Ruth and their oldest son were scared. Yes, Mike’s memory was retaining things in bits and pieces but what if he forgot everything again? What would Mike do if he found himself in a foreign land, surrounded by strangers.

But Mike insisted, so the trip planning continued.

Ruth and mike in love

They knew he was showing some signs of improving and held onto hope. They were scared but the trip went as planned.

On May 5th, Mike, Ruth, their 3 children, and Mike’s 2 nephews arrived in Puerto Rico.

When they got off the plane and started toward Ruth’s Aunt’s house, bits and pieces of Mike’s memories started returning to him. He remembered how to get to her aunt’s house, and remembered where they had visited on the trip years before.

Then, he remembered everyone’s names. Memories continued to flood back in. He remembered things unrelated to Puerto Rico.

Prayers were being answered and God was working miracles.

But Ruth didn’t know. Mike didn’t tell Ruth at first.

He maintained the secret until the following day.

[dropshadowbox align=”center” effect=”lifted-both” width=”autopx” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]”At first when he told me his memory came back I thought he was playing around. I started asking questions only him and I would know and he answered them correctly.

Wow! My heart felt like it wanted to come out with joy. I went to tell my parents but I couldn’t speak. I was crying too hard. The words were not coming out. When I told them, my mom cried with me and so did my dad, but he didn’t want to show it.

The children looked at me like I lost my mind. I was filled with so much joy. I cried every time he would tell me he remembered that. Even now I still cry. I thought that moment of seeing my baby come back to me would never come.”[/dropshadowbox]

 

 

Mike still suffers from his brain injury and has his bad days, but his memories returned.

Because of Ruth’s love and dedication she got her man back. Without that trip to Puerto Rico, nobody knows who Mike would be today.

God kept his promises, and He returned Mike to his family.

This struggle has brought Mike and Ruth even closer. They are once again planning their wedding.

And what a beautiful wedding that is going to be.

 

~Crystal

 

 

Ruth’s love and dedication is one of the most inspiring stories I’ve heard recently. She chose to stay even though he had essentially lost her fiancee and those closest to her gave her permission to leave. Her choice to love when love could not be returned inspires me to love those around me a little more.

Every Thursday I share a story. Sometimes it is a story of love and dedication, sometimes a story of working through the hard times, sometimes a story of enjoying life to its fullest. If you have a story you would like to share, or someone you would like to honor, please contact me via the Share a Story tab above or by clicking here.

I would love to hear your story and share it with others!

 
This post was shared on the Let’s Be Friends Blog Hop.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. itherapywithamy
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 15:48:48

    Another amazing story! Thank you for sharing your “cloud of witnesses” to help others on their journeys.

    Like

    Reply

    • Crystal
      Jul 08, 2014 @ 10:04:30

      Thank you Amy. I love sharing stories. I believe if we listen and stay open, we can learn something from everyone. I’m glad you’re enjoying them.

      Like

      Reply

  2. Katie
    Jul 07, 2014 @ 20:29:44

    What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Like

    Reply

  3. Candace
    Jul 08, 2014 @ 09:01:40

    Wow! What a story of hope and incredible love. Ruth is so inspiring! Brain injuries are scary and unpredictable. I remember learning about them in college and how they completely change the person afflicted. God definitely blessed him with a miracle by restoring his memories. Thanks for sharing, Crystal!

    Like

    Reply

  4. Melody James
    Jul 15, 2014 @ 20:30:38

    What an amazing story and incredible testament to true love! Love that doesn’t quit or give up!

    Like

    Reply

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