Review: Learning by Accident by Rosemary Rawlins

A few weeks ago I shared a touching blog post by Rosemary Rawlins and realized I never published my review of her book. Learning by Accident: A Caregiver’s True Story of Fear, Family and Hope is her touching real life story of life after her husband Hugh was injured while cycling.

Rosemary writes beautifully and chooses her words carefully, so that with every description of an experience my heart was aching right along with her. I started this book multiple times during the first year of Jason’s injury and had to put it down every time I got to the chapters about being in the hospital immediately following Hugh’s accident. The fear and sadness was written so enchantingly I couldn’t help but relive Jason’s incident. If you have ever wanted to step into someone else’s shoes and understand the fear of losing your love, give this book a read. Likewise, if you want to understand the frustration that can come when dealing with the legal system and a brain injury, immerse yourself in her stories on dealing with the driver that hit Hugh. Rosemary’s candor will give you insight into situations you hopefully never have to live through.

Rosemary and Hugh’s story includes many, many acts of kindness and love from friends and family. It’s inspiring and a beautiful story of community. Unfortunately, this was an area I couldn’t see our story and I probably wept as much for the lovely acts of their friends as I did for our loneliness during Jason’s recovery. I think (based on many conversations, but no real research to speak of) that many families going through brain injury recovery become isolated and so I found it really lovely to hear about friends stepping up and showing love in a really concrete way. The friends and family described in Rosemary’s book are to be admired. For those of you going through as a caregiver I’m sure it’s not at all passive aggressive to highlight some of the stories and hand out copies to your own friends and family!

Finally, as much as I’ve discussed Rosemary’s writing technique, she includes a lot of information on brain injury recovery in general. She describes therapies and symptoms succinctly in a very accessible way.

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