The scrapbook of Kay Delaney's mind is nearly blank. Delaney, 55, slipped and hit her head at work last year, erasing more than 20 years of memories that include raising her three children, according to several reports.
Delaney, 55, believes she is 34. The last thing she can remember is putting her oldest son and daughter to bed in the early 1990s, according to the Telegraph.
"I cannot even begin to describe the pain and sense of loss I feel every day of not being able to remember my children growing up, let alone not being able to remember my youngest child," she said in the Sun.
Delaney was diagnosed with retrograde amnesia, which the Mayo Clinic defines as the "impaired ability to recall past events and previously familiar information."
The Newton, England resident's memory void is a cruel irony, given that she specialized in dementia care as a manager of nursing homes. She sustained her injury when she fell at one of the homes last summer.
Retrograde amnesia can strike even the toughest. Scott Bolzan, who played briefly in the NFL, slipped in the bathroom in 2008 and slammed the back of his head on the floor, wiping out 46 years of memory, ABC News reported.
The deleted fragments of his life included a still-born daughter and the later birth of two children, one of whom has wrestled with heroin addiction. "It's been a long struggle," Bolzan said. "I have rebuilt my life through pictures and stories, and from family friends, mostly my wife." (A New York Post story cast doubt on Bolzan's condition, suggesting he possibly faked memory loss to escape financial woes.)
Delaney, the mother of three whose accident was on July 25, 2011, expressed deep sadness and loss over a now-vacant "sense of motherhood," the Daily Mail wrote. The relationships she has with her two eldest children, 27-year-old Kenny and 23-year-old Sandy, are mostly friendships now, she said. Her youngest, now 20, is a stranger to her, causing wrenching guilt, several newspapers wrote.
She uses Post-it notes in an effort to hang on to new memories but everyday life is a struggle. She has weakness on one side that causes her to stumble, and she forgets easy tasks such as boiling water to make coffee, several stories noted. Her boyfriend Robert takes care of her full-time.
"The results of the accident have left my life in complete tatters and has become a heavy burden for my partner and children," she explained in the Mail. "None of our lives will ever be the same again."
Now without work and memories of motherhood, "I struggle to understand what role and purpose I now have in life," she said in the Telegraph.