Sarah Thomspon of Devon, England was still just a child herself when she became pregnant in her late teens. She was forced to learn responsibility from a young age, but the role of mother suited her, and in time, though she had some failed relationships, she became one heck of a parent.
She and her husband Chris were happy and their three children, Michael, Amy, and Daniel were growing up to be well-rounded, responsible, caring individuals: just like their parents. Then, one day Sarah’s perfect life was torn asunder by something completely unexpected. What happened to her afterward was at once tragic and extraordinary…
Sarah Thomson was a 32-year-old wife and mother-of-three. Her first son, Michael, was 14 and had been from her first marriage. Her other two children, five-year-old Daniel and four-year-old Amy were from her second and current marriage to Chris Thompson, a 34-year-old computer programmer who runs an IT business from their home.
Sarah was, for all intents and purposes, an average homemaker. Even though her husband worked from home, Sarah was still responsible for tending the household and taking care of their three kids. Capable, responsible, and fastidious by nature, Sarah kept their small home virtually spotless. Her neighbors were constantly impressed by her decorating style, her cleanliness, and her superb parenting skills…
By all accounts, Sarah was as prim and proper as they came. She was very image-conscious and cared deeply what people thought of her. She always kept her makeup and hair immaculate, even if she was only going to the grocery store. She dressed smartly: dresses, skirts, high heels: nothing was too much.
The day of the accident started out like many others. Sarah awoke from sleep a bit more tired than usual and feeling a little poorly, but decided that she hadn’t the time or the luxury to get sick and urged herself to push on. She began by looking into some Christmas presents online. It was early November and she wanted to get the holiday shopping out of the way…
As she surfed the web, Sarah began to feel a pinging sensation in the back of her head. It felt as if she was getting a migraine. But though she tried her best to ignore it, the splitting headache increased in intensity. Her vision was growing blurry. It was perhaps time to lay down.
Her husband Chris was a bit worried. Sarah was an unfailing rock around the house and almost never complained about being sick. She had a high pain threshold and rarely rested even in the face of the flu. Instead, she seemed to be drifting in and out of consciousness. She could barely talk above a whisper. There was no other choice, Chris had to call an ambulance…
Sarah was so weak that she had to go down the stairs on her bottom. She couldn’t even hold herself up. She was ushered into the ambulance and strapped in. It was the last cogent memory she would have for the remainder of her ordeal. Meanwhile, her husband stayed home with their children.
Chris received a phone call later but was unprepared for what the doctors had to tell him. They told him Sarah’s condition had taken a turn for the worse in the hours since she’d arrived at the hospital. Her brain scan had revealed a 4-cm blood clot at the back of her brain, and that wasn’t all…
Sarah was rushed into emergency surgery. A drain had to be inserted into her head to draw out the spinal fluid, which had been building to dangerous pressure-cooker of sorts. She would remain in intensive care for the next five days, but she wasn’t out of the woods yet. For days Sarah hovered between life and death, before finally falling into a coma.
When Sarah emerged from the coma three weeks later, she was very different. She woke to a world that seemed completely unfamiliar. Sarah was baffled, as far as she knew the year was still 1998 and she was an 18-year old girl who had just given birth to her young son. But Michael was now a teenager and her much-older parents were telling her that she was married to someone new…
Sarah kept asking for Andy, her teenage boyfriend and first husband, a man she had been divorced from for years. She didn’t recognize her husband at all and her teenage mind couldn’t even fathom that she had married such a nerdy man. What’s more, she couldn’t believe that she had two more children with him.
Her brain had wiped out 14 years from her memory. Chris, whom she’d been with for a decade now, and her two young children were completely obliterated from her brain. As were the feelings of love that she previously felt for them all. It was as if she was a teenager again, with all the eccentricities and feelings that came along with it…
Back in 98’
As far as Sarah was concerned, the worst news of all was finding out that her favorite band, the Spice Girls, had broken up. To her family and friends, it was as if their loved one had simply stepped back into her younger self. Still, she had to be told. Chris though meeting her family would perhaps jog her memory.
It was three-and-a-half weeks later that Chris decided to finally bring the children in to “meet” their mother. He started by printing photos of them and showing her the truth of his statements. He wanted her to know for certain that what he was saying was true: that they were her children….
Two More Children?
Unfortunately, neither photos nor the children themselves triggered any of Sarah’s memories of Daniel and Amy. She tried to smile for them, to assuage their fears that their mother was still there, but something just wasn’t right. Sarah wasn’t the older woman she saw in the mirror: she was a teenager and she was wanted to act like one.
Once she got home, Sarah’s teenage side emerged in its entirety. She was rebellious, threw tantrums when she didn’t get her way and dyed her hair the same wild colors it had been in 1998. Her once-conservative style reverted as well. Now she started wearing stone-washed jeans, belly shirts and accessorized with friendship bracelets…
Sarah’s musical tastes mirrored those of her youthful self. She took to listening to heavy rock and roll music. She lost all sense of adult decorum, blurting out thoughts without stopping to think about how they’d make her look or sound. Her children, of course, found her to be a much less strict, much more entertaining mother than they were used to.
“Hopefully I’ll learn some decorum one day,” she says of her experience. “But at the moment I feel this overwhelming compulsion…to be non-conformist, provocative. I cannot stop being rebellious.” She felt as if her roles as wife and mother were holding her back and all she wanted to do was go out and spend time with her friends…
Hard to Connect
Despite the many strides she has made in recent years, the healing process is still not complete. Sarah openly admits that she doesn’t feel love for her children. She knows that she is supposed to love them but fears that the bond is gone. To her, David, Amy, and even Michael are more like nieces and nephews than her biological kids.
Time to Readjust
It has taken a while, but she is readjusting to her life and has even re-fallen in love with her husband, Chris. She still has far to go, but she is confident that she can learn to love her kids like she did before, that she can learn to be a mother once more. Her style, however, remains locked in her teenage years. Her magenta hair is a continuing reminder that Sarah’s life and experiences may never be the same.