“So, they sent me home with strangers,” she said. “I felt like I was a burden.”
People told Jessica she was a talented musician, one who had traveled to Nashville to record a single that was released on iTunes in August 2012 and had sold well. They said she recently had been asked to audition with a record label. And she had grown up singing in services at New Hope Church.
The reassurance was overwhelming, her life was overwhelming. Jessica’s family removed all pictures of her from her bedroom and tried to limit the constant reminders of what she had been.
Someone showed her a video of her singing the song she released that year.
“I watched this girl who was singing,” she said closing her eyes for a moment. “I kind of felt like that girl died. I felt like I had taken that girl away from them.”
She spent months repopulating the wall of her bedroom with the pictures of people she once knew. They helped her remember their names, but brought only hints of the past.
A white board hung on the wall; written on it was her name and the date. It was a reminder she needed everyday.
Still, she couldn’t sing. Jessica tried several times, but her voice wasn’t the one she heard in the videos.
Then, she began to play piano. It is an instrument she’d played since she was six, Carolyn Hoover said.
“I was good at it,” Jessica said. “I would stay up for several hours during the night just playing. Everything else was just so out of my control. It was the one thing I was good at.”
Her memory didn’t return as the months wore on.
“My husband and I came to a place where we said, ‘if we don’t heal her, it’s OK,” Carolyn Hoover said. “That was one of the worst things.”