Weatherford Democrat

Obituaries

February 1, 2013

Virginia woman pieces together 17 years lost to amnesia

(Continued)

Some physicians have suggested to Shawnda that the cocktail of steroids and other drugs she was prescribed might have caused the memory loss, but Nath said that was unlikely. Still, he said that it's puzzling that she lost so much, so abruptly.

From 2005 on, Shawnda began counting her birthdays at zero, signifying that while her body is 38, she has only eight years and counting of life experience. She refers to herself pre-amnesia as "she" and "her," rather than "I" and "me."

She had to relearn virtually everything since adolescence. As her symptoms regularly confined her to the house and to bed, she watched TV for cues on the rhythms and tools of human interaction. The characters in daytime soap operas and syndicated sitcoms at night, especially "George Lopez," served as her examples of how to talk and act.

"I know that life is not a sitcom," she said in an interview in 2012. "But I also want people to understand that's how I've had to learn. I don't know any life any other way, because I lost my memory. People had the opportunity to come out of the womb and go through school and learn friendships and stuff. I lost all that."

She watched the same shows every day, latching onto anything that could become familiar in a hurry. She used her daughter's math homework to relearn multiplication tables. Even when Shawnda learned how to operate a cellphone again, she didn't know any of the names in it. Marsha told her what she could about the names she knew.

When Shawnda did try to reconnect with the people in the contacts list, their meetings were often awkward and pointless. Old friends would sometimes be frustrated that anything they brought up from the past was lost on her. For Shawnda, trying to explain what was wrong with her mind to someone she couldn't remember was exasperating. "I'd just sit in tears the whole time," she said.

Text Only
Obituaries
  • W.L. (Bud) Barber W.L. (Bud) Barber

    Winburn Lee Barber, of the Greenwood community, passed from this life on Thursday, July 24, 2014. He was born and died in a Parker County farmhouse – 100 years, four months and 15 days apart.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tylea-Marisol Grace Moore Tylea-Marisol Grace Moore

    WEATHERFORD — Tylea-Marisol Grace Moore, one year old, passed away Monday, July 7, 2014.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bernice Sipe Bernice Sipe

    WEATHERFORD — Bernice Sipe, 87, passed away Friday, July 25, 2014.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Grace E. Jones

    Grace E. Jones, 91, died Monday, July 21, 2014.

    July 23, 2014

  • Katherine Faye Daniel Brown

    BRECKENRIDGE — Katherine Faye Daniel Brown, 93, died Sunday, July 20, 2014, in DeLeon. 

    July 22, 2014

  • Kelley Ann Aylesworth Queen

    Kelley Ann Aylesworth Queen, 54, died of natural causes on July 13, 2014.

    July 22, 2014

  • Maggie Curtis Maggie Curtis

    Maggie Curtis passed away Sunday, July 20, 2014, at the age of 80. 

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charles M. Linehan Charles M. Linehan

    WEATHERFORD — Charles M. Linehan, 81, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend, passed away Sunday, July 20, 2014.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lyndia Faye Bullock Lyndia Faye Bullock

    FORT WORTH — Lyndia Faye Bullock, 66, beloved mom, granny, daughter, sister and friend, passed away Friday, July 18, 2014, at home with her family.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jewel Allene Williams

    Jewel Allene Williams, 98, of Springtown, passed away Friday afternoon, July 18, 2014, in the local hospital. 

    July 19, 2014

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp