By Margaret Rimmer
There's a tap on my shoulder and a voice calls softly: 'Margaret!' I freeze and then slowly turn my head and look up straight into the beautiful green eyes of a very tall lady bending over me. She has black hair, topped with a white frilly cap and is wearing a dark blue dress.
'Who are you?' I quiver.
'Don’t be frightened, me darling,' she murmurs soothingly, 'I’m Sister O'Donovan.'
Every morning Sister O'Donovan helps me to wash and dress and then, whilst she's brushing my long blond hair, we sing nursery rhymes. When Sister has time she sits with me and tells me stories about pixies and gnomes in Ireland, where she was born.
I like the evenings too because a quiet, considerate man always visits me. He's not very tall, has nice brown hair flecked with grey, but best of all he has lovely twinkling green eyes. They look sad most of the time but I made him laugh today when he asked me what I’d be doing and I said: 'We played ‘Ring a ring a roses,’ but I hurt myself when I fell down.' He acts as if he knows me and greets me with a kiss on each cheek, but he’s got quite a big nose and every time he does this he nearly knocks my glasses off. His name is David but I don’t know anyone with that name.
A head pops round the door and says: 'Hello, Margaret. How’re you feeling this week?'
'I’m fine,' I reply automatically, desperately trying to cover myself scantily clad body with the sheet. 'I’m sorry about my revealing attire but I wasn’t expecting anyone.'
'Not to worry,' he grins, 'You do know I’ve been visiting you for the last few weeks nothing’s going to surprise me now.'
'Oh, my God,' I blurt out, 'have you really been to see me before? I don't remember.'
'Yes, I’m your local rector, Denis Sweetman. I look after the three churches of Eynsford, Farningham and Lullingstone.'
'Oh, my God,' I can't help repeating myself. 'Really.... how nice.'
He smiles: 'They’re beautiful, actually. You live in Eynsford, almost opposite St. Martin’s Church.'
'Do I?' I look at him in bewilderment.
'Yes. You had a baby in July, a boy, do you remember?'
'No.....' I can't believe what he's saying, 'what month is it now then?'
'It’s the end of August, but don't worry your mother is caring for John, that's what you called your son, and your little girl Victoria.'
'Oh, dear, I have no recollection of having a little girl either,' I cry. 'What's the matter with me?'
Forty two years ago I gave birth to my beloved son John, and due to a hormonal imbalance during pregnancy, I suffered amnesia and reverted to my childhood. I was a mother of two, but I didn’t know it, as far as I knew, I was a child living in a strange place that smelled of school dinners. In actual fact I was in Stone Mental House in Dartford, my two children were being looked after by my mother and my husband was alone in our little house in Eynsford.
It took me close to six months of treatment, including long courses of ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy) to regain my memory and come home, but it took me a lot longer to build my confidence and feel like a real Mum again. My friends in the village and walking with our old pram around Sparepenny Lane and under the viaduct to Lullingstone was a great tonic, as were the fetes and village get-togethers. Ultimately it was the love of my family that brought us back together. The local vicar recovered after seeing me in my negligee in the hospital enough to support me through my recovery too!
The full story of how Margaret regained her memory and returned to her family in Eynsford ‘I Know Who I am’ is for sale for Kindle at www.amazon.co.uk Twitter @MumBooks