IMAGINE wakes up with the memories of the past fifteen years gone.
Angela Sartin-Hartung, 59, shares her incredible story.
Angela thinks he’s a doctor.
Struggling with excruciating pain she didn’t understand, in the hospital room she didn’t recognize, she could only think of the kind-faced man by her bed as her medical team.
“In the days that followed, I tried my best to understand what was happening to me,” she recalls.
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“I said to myself ‘I’m 36 years old. I am married to John and am the mother of a twenty-eight year old. “
The truth will shake her entire world.
The stranger next to her is not a doctor but her second husband, Jeff.
Angela is not 36 years old but 51 years old, and her children are 17 and 23 years old.
“I didn’t know it at the time,” she said.
“But the past fifteen years have been erased from my memory forever.”
On October 25, 2013, in New York, Angela was crossing the street alone when she was hit by a car.
In the hospital, she was in a coma lasting a month, the family rushed to her side.
Jeff, 55, recalls: “We were crazy.
“The doctors don’t know if Angela will survive, and if so, the extent of her brain injury.”
His relief when she awoke was immeasurable.
But the doctors explained that she had suffered a traumatic brain injury and gave Jeff a grim picture of what lay ahead.
“They told me that, in most cases of traumatic brain injury, the marriage ends.
Nothing makes any sense. “
”It’s just too much for a relationship to stand.
”I refuse to accept that.
”Whatever happens next, I’ll be there for Angela, just like I was. “
Jeff was right to train himself.
Because Angela feels confused and anxious, quickly moves from high to low emotions.
Angela explains: “Through all of that, I’ve always asked my husband John.
“The man I fell in love with in college and married in 1985.
” When I heard that he had passed away fifteen years earlier in 1998, grief came over me.
”Nothing is fair. “
The thunder continued to strike.
Angela was heartbroken to hear that her dear father had also passed away.
Despite arranging her own funeral in 2010, Angela remembers absolutely nothing of it.
“Then my kids,” she explained.
“My toddler daughter Abigail is suddenly seventeen and my son Phillip is now twenty-three, a man.
Finally, there was a man with kind eyes.
The man she had known was her loving husband of twelve years.
“My head tells me this is a stranger.
“But my heart tells me I can trust Jeff.”
Angela listened as he talked about the two other children they raised together, Evan, 21, and Maggie, 24.
How the kids have lived with them and Angela since getting married in 2001.
“I don’t know who they are.” Angela recalls.
“I don’t have a single memory of them to call.”
When she was discharged from the hospital, two months after waking up from a coma, Angela was very worried.
But she focuses on her heart, not her head.
“I was going home to live with a man I didn’t know.
”I have to trust my instincts that this is a safe thing to do. “
Angela struggles with her emotions when they arrive at their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the house she and John have lived in for many years.
“Imagine walking into the house you left this morning, to see that everything has changed,” she said.
“You can see the chair you know, and the table you recognize, but they are suddenly misplaced.
” The walls are painted in different colors, there are pictures you don’t recognize with people you don’t know.
”My head was spinning. “
From the first night, the couple slept in the same bed.
“It just feels like the right thing to do.
”But when I woke up the next morning, I still looked over and expected John to be there.
” When I remembered that no, he was dead, the pain hit again. “
Jeff was her rock in all, understanding that John would be a presence in their lives forever.
“They were together for twenty years,” he explained, “And were deeply, passionately in love.
”In many ways, it was a perfect marriage.
“Loving Angela means accepting it.”
“So when she talks about John, or brings out his old t-shirt or wallet to hold or smell, I understand.
”It didn’t take her years to grieve his loss.
“In Angela’s mind, her husband just died.”
There are tougher moments to come.
Angela quietly said, “When I took off my wedding ring for a few months, couldn’t wear it when I was already married to another man in my heart,” Angela said quietly, “Jeff understands my struggle. .”
With endless patience and understanding, Jeff told Angela their own love story.
And when the years turned into years, I fell in love. ”
“He told me how we met in church in 2000, three years after John’s death.
”We are both single parents with two young children. “
“He described our first date at a comedy club and the dinner we had.”
Jeff describes his proposal, in a space filled with trees and flowers. And their perfect wedding in 2001, with their 4 children.
“Do I remember any of that?” Angela asked.
“No. But I have all of that deep in my heart? Sure.”
When she looked at pictures of herself in places she didn’t know, with strangers, Angela understood that Jeff wasn’t just trying to fill in fifteen years of lost memories.
He is showing his wife how much he loves her.
“I would watch Jeff patiently tell the same stories over and over, or smile at our family photos on a day trip that I don’t remember, and think ‘who did this for my wife? he?’
“Many men just walk away or bury their heads in work or hobbies as a way to escape responsibility.
Jeff never did that.
” And when the month of May turned into a year, I fell in love. “
Reliving the happy times and spending the days together was an unexpected joy for Jeff.
“How long do we wish that we could do something over?” he asks.
“Suddenly I was given that opportunity.
” To flirt with Angela again, to show her how much I love her.
” Doing it is not a burden, it is a privilege. “
Life for three years after Angela’s accident was difficult.
As with many of the medical appointments she needed to attend, the psychological aspect took its toll.
“As a mother, it’s hard not to have memories of Abigail and Phillip growing up, or Evan and Maggie.
“I have to accept that I will never remember the first day of school, or the happy holidays with my family.”
“Instead, I focused on getting to know each of them as adults.
”I feel lucky to have these wonderful people in my life. “
However, their November wedding anniversary didn’t have any emotional tug-of-war for Angela.
So they decided to say ‘I do’ again.
On June 16, 2018, the couple stood in Central Park, New York, and confessed to each other.
Angela said: “Saying my vows to a man who makes me feel safe and valued, who has never wavered, is the easiest thing in the world.
Now, the couple agree that Angela’s loss of her memories has given them a chance to find something greater.
“Through that, I have had the opportunity to advance and grow,” says Jeff.
“Without a doubt, it makes me a better man.
”The years since Angela’s accident have been precious.
” They mean that we have an unbreakable bond. “
And now, looking back at their wedding photos, they have happy memories they both can share.
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https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/8223170/car-crash-hospital-forget-family/ I FORGET my husband of 15 years after being hit by a car