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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