Writing for Relief after Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog

Writing for Relief

by Rosemary Rawlins

My memoir, Learning by Accident, was not a book I had ever planned to write. Living the story consumed me. Writing the book saved me. Somehow, writing about my husband’s traumatic brain injury helped me make sense of the chaotic nature of my new world, a world that changed in every way the moment a car hit Hugh as he rode his bicycle home on a sunny April afternoon in 2002.

Changes in our lives usually come in trickles, so slowly we hardly notice them, so slowly there is time to adjust. A family member’s traumatic brain injury feels more like an unexpected waterfall raging on top of your head. If brain injury was the shocking, icy torrent piercing me with its urgency, then writing was the soft towel gently soaking up each drop. Writing helped me break up the immensity of the experience into meaningful parts—parts I could understand, parts I could cope with. And in my writing, I found moments I might have missed had I not looked deeply enough—moments worth remembering—tiny but brilliant glimmers of hope, strength, and the goodness in most people.

I’ve been reading a lot about the healing power of reading and writing and believe in it completely. Looking back, I’m glad I have a record of the past nine years. Not a schedule or calendar of events, but a barometer that shows the emotional highs and lows of a life. This record is my proof that even after feeling like nothing ever works out and you are completely alone, life can turn once more toward a path to peace and joy, if you simply keep looking ahead and wait out the storm.


Rosemary Rawlins Rare Compositions, LLC

September 30, 2011

4 responses to “Writing for Relief after Brain Injury”

  1. Just last week, I was at the Brain Injury Association of Virgnia’s annual conference in Richmond with our exhibit booth for Lash and Associates – and found that Rosemary Rawlins and her husband had the booth next to us featuring her book Learning by Accident. It was such a pleasure to meet both of them and compare publishing experiences – but mostly just to get to know this terrific couple who has weathered the storms of brain injury. They now share hope and inspiration through their story with many families and survivors just starting on this journey. I encourage you to read their story which you will find at http://www.lapublishing.com/blog/2011/learning-by-accident/

  2. Janet Cromer says:

    Hi Rosemary,
    Welcome,and congratulations on living and writing your book! When I wrote Professor Cromer Learns to Read,I had a chance to slow down and really figure out what hit us, how much we had changed to adapt, and how to share the lessons we learned with others going through brain injury.We all learn so much from each others stories, and deepen our appreciation for our resilience and creativity.

  3. Ginger says:

    Rosemary, thank you for this posting. I was so right on for our life. Thanks for having the courage to keep moving forward.

  4. Rosemary, thank you for your courage in writing your book and this post. I heartily agree about the healing powers of reading and writing. When my husband sustained a TBI nearly eight years ago, writing in my journal was one of the things that saved me. While he recovered well, for which we are so grateful, I still journal to record and explore our lives and the ongoing issues of his brain injury. I wish you and your husband the best!

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