Even after she healed from her injuries from a car accident, the 24-year-old woman's memory did not improve
A 22-year-old man had to pull out all the stops to make his fiancée fall in love with him every day for two months after she suffered injuries from an accident that left her with a severe case of amnesia, just like Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore‘s characters in 50 First Dates.
Li Huayu has been caring for his 24-year-old fiancée, Maruyama, ever since she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle to work in February of last year, just five months before they were set to marry. After the accident, Maruyama experienced amnesia and could not remember her family, or even what “family” meant, she said in an interview on the Japanese television show, TBS’ Yume Special.
“The doctor has yet to inform me, it is difficult to know if my memory will return,” she explained on the show. “I live my life day-by-day. My boyfriend and I were scheduled to get married. However, we had to postpone it.”
Amnesia can be caused by damage to areas of the brain that are important to memory, and there is no specific treatment for the condition, according to Mayo Clinic. People with amnesia typically have issues with their short-term memory and may be able to recall things from childhood, but not something like the current year or month.
Maruyama says her case was initially so severe that she often forgot what she looked like, but could remember how to do certain physical activities.
“I don’t remember what I look like,” she said during the TBS special. “So I look in the mirror and tell myself, ‘Oh, this is my face.’ What I do remember is what my body remembers. For example, when you use the restroom, I can do that. The most helpful was I remembered how to use my cellphone.”
In the weeks that followed her accident, Maruyama said she would wake up and forget what had happened the day before, and her life was constantly starting over day-to-day.
“It used to be that I forgot what happened the day before so every day was a reset,” she said. “For about two months, I was resetting every day.”
During those two months, Li did his best to be supportive of Maruyama, who often was unsure whether he was a friend. Though she felt it would be best if they ended their relationship to spare him from her “overwhelming” situation, Li convinced his love that he wanted to stay by her side.
“He liked how I used to be and he told me, ‘I like the way you are now.’ He was the only one who told me that,” said Maruyama, who keeps a daily journal at the urging of her doctors. “That’s when I remember how it felt to like someone. I want to tell him I fell in love with you all over again, for the second time.”
She continued: “I wasn’t the girl I used to be. I was hesitant but he told me, ‘If you don’t have memories, we can make new ones.’ “
Every morning, Li would begin the routine of reminding his sweetheart who he was, how they had fallen in love and what had happened to her in the accident.
After witnessing his commitment, Maruyama decided to propose to Li, and reaffirm that her love for him had not gone away and so enlisted the show to help her propose at Disneyland as it assists people around the country make their dreams come true.
“My doctor has told me due to my amnesia my memory loss may be irreversible, there’s a 50 percent chance,” Maruyama said in her proposal, which was filmed by the show. “Despite that, will you be with me?”
Li immediately said yes.
“I promise to not go anywhere and she will be well taken care of by me,” Li said while on the show. “There’s a possibility that she may forget again or she may remember like she has been. But even if she loses her memory again, I won’t leave her side. I chose her.”
The couple’s inspiring love story has a lot of similarities with the 2004 film 50 Fist Dates. In that film, Sandler’s character Henry meets Lucy (played by Barrymore) and is immediately smitten. However, due to a serious accident leaving Lucy with amnesia, she does not remember him the following day.
Enamored, Henry is determined to make their relationship work, even if that means treating each day as a first date. Love, of course, overcomes their struggles in the end.