Accident erased all memories: Song brings back memory after 10 years

Do you remember the song “The Whole of the Moon“By The Waterboys from 1985? Thomas Leeds (30) does not just remember the song, but through it parts of his life that he believed to be forgotten forever …

Review: Thomas is just 19 years old and is about to start studying design when a taxi hits him while crossing the street in the middle of London. At first, everything doesn’t look so bad: On the outside, Thomas gets away with a few scratches and bruises. But a life-threatening blood clot has formed in his head that needs surgery.

When Thomas wakes up, nothing is like it was before. “I have vague memories of being very confused, but strangely enough, I wasn’t scared. I didn’t know that I should be scared, ”says Thomas. “I was like a baby.” Thomas is happy about the hospital bed visit, but that these people are his parents and his five siblings – he has absolutely no idea …

His entire memory erased! And it will stay that way for the next ten years.

Ten years in which the now 30-year-old longs for the slightest hint of who he was, whom he loved, how he spent his childhood, what he liked and what else he would have liked to remember.

Until one day he heard this song: “I pictured a rainbow you held it in your hands. I had flashes … “

When the words of the eighties hit “The Whole of the Moon” by the Waterboys (number three in the UK charts in 1985) penetrate his headphones, they strike like lightning bolts (“flashes”). Several times in a row!

A blue floor … a silver radio … a Christmas tree towering over him … his mother as a young woman …

“It was the most magical thing ever,” Thomas says in an interview with the BBC. Immediately after the flashbacks, he begins to write down the scraps of memory. Was his injured brain playing tricks on him? How could he know what was real and what was fantasy?

Memories like in a “terrible filing system”

The neurologist Dr. Shieff explains it to the BBC like this: Thomas’ long-term memory is probably still in his head, but unattainable in a “very terrible filing system”. The scientist also says Thomas may unearth more memories. But there is no certainty that this will really happen.

In addition to the loss of his memories, another problem complicates Thomas’ life after the accident: he still suffers from facial blindness (prosopagnosia). That means: He cannot identify people by their face. Not his parents, not his siblings. Once when he split up with a friend, he said to her: “I’m sorry, but I won’t recognize you tomorrow.”

His lost memory troubles Thomas sometimes more, sometimes less. He calls it “the empty years”. He creates new memories with his wife and two daughters.

But sometimes he loses them again.

The scars in Thomas’ brain occasionally cause epileptic seizures. After that, up to ten years of his memory are temporarily gone. When he came to after the last seizure, he thought it was 2008.

Thomas: “I didn’t know who my wife was, I didn’t know who the kids were.” The smart speaker Amazon Echo knocked him off his feet. It was like traveling into the future. In the meantime, the family writes down such funny incidents so that Thomas can remember them forever.


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