Learning by Accident (Hardcover)

A Caregiver's True Story of Fear, Family, and Hope

By Rosemary Rawlins

Skyhorse Publishing, 9781628737776, 293pp.

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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 husband--who suffered a traumatic brain injury, necessitating the removal of half his skull--back 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 other--literally--as 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.

About the Author

Rosemary Rawlins is a writer and speaker, currently blogging for BrainLine.org, an award-winning multimedia WETA site. She sits on the advisory board of the Virginia Commonwealth University's TBI Model System of Care (TBIMS). She lives in Glen Allen, Virginia.