Lifestyle & Human Interest

When Teen Loses Memory After Motorcycle Accident, Brother Hides Truth About Sexual Abuse


For most people, memory loss is a horrible, debilitating event that necessitates a long and painful period of relearning even the most basic activities. Someone has to come alongside the person suffering from memory loss and help them remember who they are and who the important people in their lives are.

For 18-year-old Alex Lewis, the past was complicated. And his brother, Marcus, helped him relearn a curated version of their past.

In August 1982, Alex was riding his motorcycle in West Sussex, England. He crashed, and the next thing he knew, he was waking up three weeks later.

He’d forgotten everything except for one crucial factor: he recognized the face hovering above him as his twin brother’s.

“He actually said, ‘Hello, Marcie,’ our nickname for each other,” Marcus told People. “Then the doctors started questioning him — ‘Do you know what day it is? Do you know your name?’ — and he didn’t know anything at all.”

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Marcus took on the role of rehabilitator and helped Alex learn how to do everything all over again.

“I was 18 at the time, and wasn’t a particularly mature 18,” Marcus admitted in an interview with British television channel ITV, according to the Daily Mail. “It was thrust upon me, and I was so busy the first couple of months teaching Alex to walk again and caring for him. His mental age was quite young at first.”

“It wasn’t until three or four months in that he started asking some more difficult questions.”

Marcus was faced with a tough decision. As the one with the complete memory, he knew about their past with difficult and abusive parents. Their biological mother had sexually abused them and invited her friends to participate in that abuse, too, according to Daily Mail.

“It’s not that I wouldn’t tell him,” Marcus told People. “I couldn’t. I wasn’t capable of telling him. It was too dramatic for me.”

Alex noticed a few things that were “off” and didn’t jibe with the happy past Marcus described. When their stepfather died in 1990 and their mother in 1995, Alex was perplexed by Marcus’ seeming indifference.

“I was grieving,” Alex said, according to the Daily Mail. “Everybody was upset. but Marcus didn’t seem particularly upset. That bothered me a lot. I said ‘something’s not right.'”

As they went through their parents’ belongings, the two brothers found something that brought the past roaring into focus. A photograph, hidden away, of the two brothers at 10 years old: the top of the photo had been cut off, and all the rest showed was the naked bodies of the two boys.

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It started to click for Alex, whose therapist had suggested that she saw signs of abuse.

“I asked Marcus if we were abused by Mummy, and he just nodded yes,” Alex told People. “And that is a moment that he and I will never forget. From then on everything changed.”

Alex started questioning everything. He didn’t know who he could trust anymore.

Years later he wrote about his experiences and a London newspaper published his story in 2013. From there, the two brothers’ story gained traction and now there is a book called “Tell Me Who I Am” as well as a Netflix documentary that highlights both brothers’ struggles.

While Alex says he hasn’t forgiven the abuse that he has come to find was true, he expressed a desire to know more about the reasons behind his mother’s actions.

“People talk about the word ‘forgiveness,'” he said, according to the Daily Mail. “That’s quite a big word to use.

“I think if I could have some understanding of what made her do this, of what happened in her childhood, where this journey came from I could go some way to understanding it. But forgiveness? No.”

The brothers are 55 now and have their own families. They hope their story helps people believe they can get past even major traumas in their lives.

“We are both married, we both have children,” Alex told ITV. “You can move forward. These harrowing things can happen to you, but we’ve all got the opportunity to put that aside and live our lives.”

“By telling our story, we want to show you have a choice,” he explained. “You can stay a victim and go down, or step up and move on with your life.”

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