A WOMAN who was told her boyfriend would never remember who she was after he suffered a serious brain injury couldn't believe it when he woke from a coma and said: "I don't know who you are, I don't know your name, but I love you."
Chrissy Fryett was devastated when she was initially told her partner Stewart would probably not survive after the 39-year-old was injured in a horror car crash, and that if he did, he would never recognise her again.
Loading article content
Despite the odds being stacked against him, Stewart did survive, regained his memory and the couple, now married, have celebrated the birth of their first child together.
The former painter had suffered a severe brain injury, broken ribs, collapsed lungs and shattered spine when a car he was a passenger in spun out of control and hit an oncoming vehicle.
When he miraculously woke up after 10 days in a coma, he declared his love for Chrissy, 32, who had been sat by his bedside never sure if he was going to make it.
It took Chrissy, now a full time carer to her husband, three months to help Stewart regain his memory of their relationship before the accident despite doctors predicting that he wouldn't ever remember.
"I cried when he said those words to me, and will never forget it," said Chrissy, from Ingleby Barwick in Stockton-On-Tees.
"I was determined I wasn't going to lose him.
"We had only met six months earlier, but we had fallen in love.
"I couldn't believe it when I saw him trapped in the car, there was nothing I could do.
"The love of my life was slipping away from me.
"In those first weeks I spent hours talking to him about all the times we had spent together.
"We had planned our future before the crash, and I just prayed he would remember what we had."
In 2009 Stewart, a dad of six, was a passenger in a family friend's new Ford Focus RS when the car hit a curb and collided with an oncoming car in Ingleby Barwick, near Middlesbrough, only 200 yards from where they had set off.
Stewart suffered a severe brain injury, broken ribs, collapsed lungs and shattered spine and spent almost three months at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
For those three months his memory was incredibly sketchy and jumbled, with him not having any sense of time.
Chrissy, a former customer services adviser, would ask him what car he drove, and he would mention one from ten years ago.
"I told him about our first date. He would remember for an instant, but then forget straight away," she said.
"One day I brought photographs in of us at a wedding we had gone to.
"'Remember,' I said, 'We got really drunk and felt awful the next day!'
"Stuart began to laugh, and slowly things started to come back to him."
Eventually the memories began to stick, and at Christmas that year Stewart proposed.
In 2012 the couple got married, and just over two weeks ago (JUL 22), Chrissy gave birth to Oliver, their first child together.
She said: "Oliver is a dream. He is just amazing.
"It was the final piece to the puzzle and now we are complete.
"He has just fitted into our little lives perfectly."
"Stewart has five other children from before we met and they have adapted brilliantly to their dad's situation."
Stewart is unable to walk long distances and uses a wheel chair to move around.
He still has problems with short term memory and suffers from severe sleep apnea.
He requires a high level of care and was awarded compensation for the accident in February this year.