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On a sunny spring day, in an ordinary suburban kitchen, the phone rings. There’s been an accident. In one heartbeat, a family’s life is changed forever.
After her husband, Hugh, is hit by a car while riding his bicycle, Rosemary Rawlins is plunged into twelve months of marathon caregiving, without the promise of a positive outcome. She works herself to the point of exhaustion to bring her grievously injured husbandwho suffered a traumatic brain injury, necessitating the removal of half his skullback home and back to himself. Then, as he slowly begins to reclaim his life, Rosemary falls apart.
She can't sleep. Her heart pounds. Her joy and trust in the world dissolve into endless anxiety. She lays awake at night wondering how her marriage will survive. Will she ever be able to relate to Hugh again? What will become of their relationship? Their children? Do they recognize each otherliterallyas the people they fell in love with and married decades ago? How can she let go of her fears? And what can she learn from them?
Learning by Accident is a caregiver's story of ambiguous loss, family love, and emotional healing. This compelling personal account demonstrates with heart and humor that what we fear can be more debilitating than any physical injury. And that sometimes starting over is exactly what we need.
"For anyone who had suddenly been plunged into an alternate world by a phone call, Rawlins's honest and searing account of her family's journey through injury and recovery will ring true for anyone who has had a loved one with a sudden traumatic injury. Her keen observations, emotions, and the sheer resilience of her spirit speak to hidden jewels and ultimate redemption that can be found on the flip side of any "bad thing.'" Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of In an Instant and Those We Love Most
A fast-paced, anecdotal blow-by-blow account of lost brain function, of rekindled love, medical genius, laughter and pain, of setbacks and redemptive renewal.” Bill McKelway, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Learning by Accident provided me with a much richer understanding of the emotional devastation [traumatic brain injury] causes. This book will make you cry, laugh, give thanks, and believe in the power of love.” Anne H. McDonnell, executive director, Brain Injury Association of America
Rawlins writes her inspiring memoir like a professional surfer rides the waves, with precision, passion, and persistence. She shows us what it is like to suddenly be thrown into the role of caregiver, guiding us to survive the turbulent waters of traumatic brain injury.” Dixie Coskie, award-winning author of Unthinkable
"Learning by Accident is a gripping, unforgettable account of the relentless stress, exhaustion and, at times, profound rewards of being a caregiver. Rosemary Rawlins perseveres in tending to her husband as he recovers from a devastating brain injury; she keeps hope alive even when it seems he doesn't recognize her and every medical setback threatens to mark the beginning of the end. She is a compelling narrator, sharing her self-doubt and loneliness with honesty and absorbing detail. Thanks to her spine of steel, loving daughters, and loyal friends, Rosemary finds new meaning in her life and ultimately learns the value of taking care of herself as well as others. Her deeply moving story underscores the need to support caregivers as much as patients and provides a useful road map for families facing such extraordinary challenges. This is an eye-opening, inspiring memoir about love, commitment, and the true meaning of the vow to stay together in sickness and in health." Leslie Brody, author of The Last Kiss: A True Story of Love, Joy, and Loss
"As someone who has lived through similar events, Rosemary's story resonates. Her feelings and fears and triumphs are so familiar, it's chilling. Learning by Accident takes you page by page on a journey of love and family in the aftermath of her husband's brain injury." Janna Leyde, author of He Never Liked Cake
"In Learning by Accident, Rosemary Rawlins bravely limns the collateral fallout her husband’s traumatic brain injury causes his wide circle of family and friends. With grit and grace, courage and humor, she takes us through the joyful achievements and frustrating setbacks of his recovery. It is an inspiring story of love, commitment, and the hidden strength we all hope we would have in similar circumstances." Carolyn Roy-Bornstein, author of Crash
"Rawlins tells a candid story of love and pathos about her husband's traumatic brain injury. She captures the frustration, the angst, and the grinding irritation that exhausts the caregiver and strains the relationship. While it explores the wrenching grief over the intellectual and emotional loss of a companion and partner, it is also about hope and rehabilitation." Claudia L. Osborn, Over My Head, A Doctor’s Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out
"Learning by Accident is a truly inspiring book that shows the value of life, love, hope, family, and friends. It’s made all the more inspiring because it’s true." Grace Conyers, owner and CEO of Insanitek R&D
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 4th March 2014
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Edition Number: 1