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How can you describe suddenly remembering something? For example: My MC suddenly remembers her purse, and feels relief when she feels it laying on her thighs.

Maybe, “I froze. My purse.”

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Your instinct is good. Use of short sentences and sentence fragments can convey the idea of sudden changes in thought. Particularly if it comes on the trail of longer more involved sentences, e.g.,

I sipped the latte, watching the feather the barista had poured into the foam on top slowly distort into something more like a broken bird. It was an indulgence, and one I could ill afford. Since I'd lost my job, I had restricted myself to one visit to Starbucks a week and that was maybe more than I could afford. I reached for my purse hanging on the back of my chair to see how much cash was left in my wallet.

There was nothing on the back of my chair. My purse. My credit cards. My phone. My life.

Maybe I could still catch the thief. I flexed my legs to stand up. My purse slid off my thighs and hit the floor. I took a deep breath realizing that I hadn't inhaled since I thought my purse was gone.

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