When Steve Curto met Camre Carr, it was love at first sight. But, although their romance began nine years ago, Camre can only remember the last couple of days. While it’s entertaining to watch someone living with memory loss in a movie, it is reality for this Linden couple.
While pregnant for their son Gavin, now five years old, Camre developed preeclampsia – a complication that can only be treated by delivering the baby. After the birth, Camre lost her memory. “The preeclampsia caused her throat to swell, and she suffered a loss of oxygen,” Steve explains, “which resulted in a severe brain injury that caused her memory loss.”
On the night the couple met, some of Steve’s friends had invited him to dinner and he almost didn’t go.
At the last moment, he changed his mind and went to the restaurant to meet his friends. Camre was there, and Steve noticed her immediately. “We hit it off instantly,” he remembers. For their first date, he brought her flowers and took her to the Redwood Lodge in Flint. “We’ve been together ever since,” he says. They moved into their Byram Lake home, and were both ecstatic when they learned that they were expecting a child.
Camre was early in the third trimester of her pregnancy when Gavin was delivered via an emergency
C-section. Weighing just four pounds, he was hospitalized for 32 days due to underdeveloped lungs. But the battle was just beginning for the young mother.
“I didn’t know anyone,” Camre says. “I didn’t know who I was; I didn’t even know my own name.”
Camre was life-lifted by helicopter to another hospital where she slipped into a coma for two days. “That hospital saved her life!” Steve exclaims. When she came out of the coma, she didn’t remember the man she had fallen in love with. “She said she didn’t know who I was, but she knew she loved me. That was good enough for me to stick by her side and be the best husband and father I could be.”
It was a long road to recovery after Camre came home from the hospital. She stayed with her parents for about nine months and Steve worked and cared for their son at home. To help her remember things, Camre’s mom would make lists with instructions, such as how to apply makeup. “At first, she didn’t want to come home, because she didn’t know who I was,” Steve admits. “We had a life interrupted. I was heartbroken that she didn’t know me.” Camre developed epilepsy and has suffered roughly 400 seizures in the last four years. She’s made a tremendous recovery,” Steve shares. “She now has memory of two previous days.” But getting to that stage wasn’t easy.
Eventually, Camre gained enough confidence in Steve to return home, and they were married in October 2015, in a lakeside ceremony in their backyard. They chose John Legend’s “All of Me” for their wedding song. “It was very special to finally see her walk down that aisle,” says her husband. “It was pretty emotional.” What’s sad, however, is that she doesn’t remember the wedding or their Mackinac Island honeymoon. “She still loses her memory after two to three days,” Steve explains. Camre often looks at the photos but has no memories of the occasion. The couple has the encouragement and support of their wonderful families and friends. “We choose to focus on the positive,” Steve adds.
The one thing Camre never forgets is that Gavin is her son. “Every day is a new day, pretty much,” she says with a radiant smile. “On October 9, 2012 somebody took an eraser to my brain and everything was new.” She has weekly occupational therapy, which has been very beneficial.
Steve has hope of a full recovery for his beautiful wife. In the meantime, they live each day with that hope, always staying positive. “I feel blessed that Camre is alive,” Steve says emotionally. “She is an amazing woman and the strongest person I’ve ever met.”
“I live each day to the max,” his wife says. “And I pray every day for my memory to come back.”
For the last four years, Steve has given Camre the same card on Valentine’s Day. “She loves it every year!” he smiles. “We love each other unconditionally, and she makes me want to be a better person every day.”
Photography by Eric Dutro
photos provided by Steve and Camre Cozart