After years of having had a relationship with someone, you think you know that person completely. Every aspect, from their smile to their smell to the weird sounds they make when they laugh. Because falling in love doesn’t happen head over heels, you get to know the person you love very well.
Therefore, it would be extremely sad if your loved one suddenly lost all the memories and all the love that you have shared. This is exactly what happened to Steve Curto and his wife, but he knew exactly what he needed to do.
Steve Felt Like He Lost His Wife
Most people would say that losing their memory is their worst nightmare. For Steve Curto, it was the harsh reality. The American citizen was shocked when his wife lost both her short and long-term memory. In one fell swoop, his wife lost the entire history of the couple. The first kiss, the first date, the marriage proposal, the wedding, everything. Steve had the feeling that he had lost his wife. He decided to not just give up on her. He wanted to do everything he could to make sure that his wife could relive their great memories.
As if it wasn’t sad enough: While Steve’s wife lost her memories he had a little boy on the way. How was it possible that life didn’t seem like a fairytale long ago, but now it seemed more like their fairytale turned into a nightmare. Yet Steve wanted to make sure that he would get his wife back and he also wanted his son to have a good mother.
It Turned Out to be the Begin of Something Way Worse
In 2015, 31-year-old Camre Curto, Steve’s wife, became pregnant. For two trimesters both mother and child were doing very well. It seemed to be a normal and healthy pregnancy, something every woman hopes for when she gets pregnant. The lovebirds couldn’t wait to meet their little angel. Unfortunately, everything changed when Camre was 6 months pregnant. The feeling of euphoria and happiness was completely destroyed.
In the third trimester of the pregnancy, Camre suffered from pregnancy discomforts, like fatigue and swelling. Those are common discomforts for most pregnant women. What concerned the couple was that she also had severe vomiting attacks. They were very worried and hoping the attacks would soon stop. Unfortunately, the vomiting attacks turned out to be the beginning of something way worse…
She Felt Like She Wasn’t Able to Breath
The worst came when Camre was exactly 33 weeks pregnant. Her throat suddenly began to swell, because of this, she very quickly felt like she wasn’t able to breathe at all. Steve panicked and drove to the hospital with his pregnant wife. Once they were at the hospital, doctors checked Camre and it turned out that she had an epileptic seizure…
It wasn’t just an epileptic seizure. As if it couldn’t be worse, it turned out that Camre also suffered from a debilitating stroke where both sides of her brain were affected. This wiped out her memories. Everything she knew before that was gone: who her husband was, what her name was, how to brush her teeth, even that she was carrying a baby…
Thank God for a Silver Lining
Her baby was doing better: the boy was born by cesarean section and although he was born far too early and weighed only 4 pounds, he was actually doing relatively well, which was a silver lining. The hospital would take care of him in the incubator for 5 weeks. In Camre’s case, the recovery process would unfortunately take much longer. In fact, they first had to find out exactly what had happened
After the incident, the doctors went to see what was wrong with Camre. She turned out to have undiagnosed pre-eclampsia. This is a pregnancy-related condition that causes high blood pressure and reduces the amount of blood going to the fetus. The stroke was caused by Camre going into eclampsia. She was placed in intensive care and placed in a controlled coma by the doctors. When the doctors took her out of her coma, they immediately realized that something was wrong.
He Thought He Lost Her Forever
Camre’s occupational therapist soon had to pass on terribly bad news to Steve: his wife had completely lost her short and long-term memory. Camre’s life was about to change drastically. She no longer knew who she was, who her friends were, and who her husband was. Steve was devastated. He thought he would lose his wife forever, that it would never be the same as it used to be…
“She couldn’t remember anything from before her brain injury and she now has no short-term memory,” said Jessica Smith, the occupational therapist who treated Camre. Steve agreed: “She had no idea who she was or that she had just given birth. She didn’t know who I was or who her parents were.” The grief of the new father of their baby-boy Gavin was indescribable. He knew his life would never be the same, but he still wanted to do everything he could to make sure that both his wife and his newborn son would have a beautiful and happy life.
On Steve’s Shoulders
Camre was in the hospital for 30 days after Gavin’s birth, while the newborn Gavin remained in intensive care for 36 days. You might think that Camre and Steve would take care of Gavin together, but Camre was unable to take care of their newborn son for the first few days because of her condition, so it all came on Steve’s shoulders…
Steve was both a father and a mother to his child, he says: “They want the child to bond with the mother after birth, but Camre couldn’t, so I hugged him and fed him,” he says. He soon realized that he would be a single father for some time. He went to his mother and her boyfriend and together with them, he raised young Gavin at first, while Camre worked hard on her recovery…
She Had To Re-learn Everything
Because of Camre’s stroke, she had not only forgotten who her friends and family were, but she also had to learn all kinds of simple, everyday actions again. For example, she had to learn again how to get dressed or how to brush her teeth. At this time, Camre did visit Gavin, Steve, and his parents from time to time, but the visits were strange because Steve’s wife no longer had any idea who they were. How heartbreaking for Steve, although he kept hoping for a miracle…
Nevertheless, Steve kept hoping for a miracle: “You only have hope that it will be all right. That was my mentality.” Although it’s great that he stayed so positive, many doubts crept through his head. Could his marriage last after this terribly tragic event? Could she ever be the mom Gavin needed her to be? There had to be something the new father could do?
This Traumatic Amnesia Is Rare
This story is very similar to the story of the movie The Vow with Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, which was released in 2012 and was based on a true story. This kind of traumatic amnesia is rare, but when it happens, it can put healthy and loving marriages under pressure and sometimes even destroy them completely. Still, Steve, just like the main character in the movie, didn’t want to give up that easily…
He was convinced that he could save his previously great marriage. He did everything he could to make sure that his wife would remember, their first date, their first kiss, their marriage, and everything else they did in those 10 beautiful years before this tragic incident. He didn’t know exactly how, but he tried everything and then he thought about this.
“I Don’t Know Who You Are, but I Know I Love You.”
Then out of nowhere, there was a special and wonderful moment between the couple. When Camre was talking to Steve, she suddenly said to her unknown husband: “I don’t know who you are, but I know I love you.” It was a short, but very powerful statement, which gave Steve the signal that his efforts were not in vain and became even more determined that the Camre he knew could be saved.
After years of help from occupational therapist Jessica Smith and Steve, who was present at almost every appointment with love and dedication, Camre finally learned how to do all everyday things, like cooking and changing diapers. “When I first met her, she was there, but not really there. She was a shell. Now she has her personality back and is able to be a mother to Gavin. That was the most important thing for me”, Smith said about Camre’s progress, but there’s more…
She Still Couldn’t Remember Her History
Camre has learned all kinds of coping mechanisms and techniques to deal with her condition, such as noting things on to-do lists. Yet she attributes the success of her recovery mainly to her husband Steve and their son Gavin. “Every time I see Gave and Steve, an enormous smile appears on my face. The love of the family carries me through every day,” explains Camre. As she progressed, she still couldn’t remember her history with Steve…
Camre also suffered from epilepsy and had seizures on a fairly regular basis. As if it wasn’t complicated enough, the medication for her seizures also affected Steve’s wife’s memory. This made it even more difficult to see if Camre’s memory recovered overtime or not. In short, a very frustrating period for both Camre and Steve. Would she ever get her memory back?
The Realization Sank In
About two years after the terrifying brain injury, Camre’s realization that her memory would really never recover fully sank in. It was only then that it became clear that she had lost many precious milestones and moments, moments that she would never be able to imitate again. Her marriage, her first kiss with Steve, her pregnancy.
Everything was gone. “Memories are everything to us and most people take them for granted, I know. That’s one of the reasons I want to share our story,” said Steve, which he did in a heartwarming way. To show his wife Camre all the experiences she had had, Steve wrote a book in which he described in detail the couple’s entire love story from beginning to end.
“I’m Just Telling Myself That Everything Is Going To Be Okay”
The touching book covered all aspects of their relationship, from their first date to their wedding day and the birth of their son. He named the book after the words that, not long ago, had given him so much power: ‘but I know I love you.’ Camre’s reaction was beautiful.
Steve released the book on the couple’s fourth wedding day, in 2019. Camre felt confused, touched, sad, but also intensely happy. A true emotional roller coaster for the woman, who in this way can still see what her life looked like before her stroke.
“Everything in the book is a memory of what we’ve gone through and what I’ve missed. I enjoy [reading] it very much, but right now with everything it’s kind of mixed feelings”, she explains. “No matter how difficult things are or have been and can be, you just have to keep giving yourself hope and keep going and taking every day the way it is. I’m just telling myself that everything is going to be okay and that’s what I’m striving for,” says Camre.