Parents of Middle-Aged Brothers Aging Backwards Have to Raise Them as 7-Year-Olds Again

Matthew and Michael ClarkAs children grow and develop, we often mourn the stages they leave behind, but we also let out some sighs of relief that we made it through that one and brace ourselves for the next. So what if once we'd raised them to adulthood, they went backwards, and started regressing through the stages? It's unthinkable when you really consider it, but that's just what the parents of Matthew and Michael Clark are facing, as their grown sons are now aging backwards.

Their story is reminiscent of the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but it's their reality ... and it's a heartbreaking one. According to Yahoo!, Matthew, 39, and Michael, 42, were leading normal adult lives for years with no signs anything was wrong. Both had jobs, wives, and children; their parents Tony and Christine, had retired and moved from their home in the UK to Spain. Then things started going awry, and their lives headed in downward spirals.

After being found in a soup kitchen, Michael -- who had previously served in the Royal Air Force -- was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder, terminal leukodystrophy. Shortly thereafter, Matthew was diagnosed with it as well.

Today they live at home with their parents, and are more interested in things like playing Mr. Potato Head and watching cartoons than interacting in the adult world. They squabble like toddlers, and their sleep habits have their parents getting up throughout the nights once again. Their physical abilities are deteriorating as well, as they now struggle to eat with a fork and a knife. Matthew is confined to a wheelchair, and they regress each day.

As much as the thought of being able to go back in time may have some fleeting allure in our minds, the reality is painful. Christine told The Independent recently:

There's no return to them being cute little boys. They're big strong men—and that presents a quite different set of problems.

As she says in a premiere for a documentary on their story, which is set to air tonight in the UK, she used to wish her children were young again, and she got her wish. But it's certainly not a fate she'd wish on anyone else. It's heartbreaking to think of this couple in their 60s who did their job raising their children, now having to spend what were supposed to be their retirement years doing it over again. I'm sure, like most of us, they will do whatever they need to do for their children, but it seems so unfair that they should have to like this.

Can you imagine having your children age backwards? Have you ever wished they were younger again?


Image via YouTube

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Carme... Carmen8706

My heart goes out to their parents. How awful. I hope they're not doing it alone and that these men's wives are helping.

nonmember avatar Tst

That's the first thing I thought of too Carmen! I was wondering where these men's wives were. Of course, it said one guy was found in a soup kitchen, so it might have been that they'd already fails in their marriages and the wives had moved on. Very sad situation.

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

I want to be able to watch this tonight, but I know myself to well, i'll be a blubbering mess. It looks so interesting, thanks for posting the promo- I'd heard nothign about it til now!!

nonmember avatar Samantha

So were they like super babies? Did they litterally age backwards mentally or was it something that hit at a certain age that made them regress? As we grow older we regress anyways, whose to say this is "backwards", it may just be aging on fast forward.

Helena A. Woolley-Killins

How very horrible of a disease is this!!!? But I can't imagine elderly parents having to do it all, when they clearly are/were married. No mention of them in this stoy though! So much for' For better or worse, huh girls? 

nonmember avatar Jasmine

To those bashing the wives ... it sounds like this is a progressive disorder that went undiagnosed until it was fairly far along. My guess is that the disease probably caused these men to make some wacky decisions that hurt their wives and their marriages. So the marriages may have failed long before anyone knew what was really going on.

Aaron Elisabeth Hummel

This is so sad. Samantha, Adults don't age backwards. they don't digress through childhood again. these men have the mentality of children. yeah as you get older your body digresses and sometimes your mind to but back to child like manners is very rare. like this case. I hope the wives are helping cause I had the same thought. This would def be the better or WORSE part. and how long will their parents really be able to take care of them before they are needing help themselves! I will cherish everyday my kids get older and grow into beautiful adults. this is a reminder of that.

MomLi... MomLily67

How terrible!! Obviously it's not the same as when they were the actual age that they are presently acting. Having to deal with adult males that are regresing to childhood has to be so difficult.  A friend os my parents had a daughter born with cerebral palsy and her inteligence only reached that of a 4 or 5 year old. She was  32 when we met them and she loved to dress in frilly dresses ( which her mother made for her), played with dolls, wore pink shiny shoes, She was the sweetest child, but dealing with all the normal stages a woman goes thru was tough. The child had a hysterectomy at 25, as it was traumatizing for her to get a period. She was very loved by everyone. 

Of course we all wish our kids would stay little forever, but this is an entirely different thing.

Kim Worsham-Horton

THis doesn't make sense to me. If it's a rare genetic disorder, wouldn't they be born with it? How did they progress this far?

Mary Dunham-high

If you look the story up it says that they had both been married and divorced. So no wives to help the parents, but they both have older children that I hope would help their grandparents out. But who knows. just an incredible story. Kudos to the parents taking care of them at their home. Another lesson in being Thankful for what you have.

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