A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injuryby Louise Mathewson
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A collection of poems chronicling the author's recovery from a brain damaging car accident, with a list of journaling therapy writing prompts and other resources she found helpful in transcending trauma.
- Pearlsong Press
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- NOOK Book
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- 213 KB
Meet the Author
Louise Mathewson holds a master's degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University in Chicago. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Wordgathering: Journal of Disability Poetry, Mochila Review, Boulder County Kid and Sasee magazines, and the anthologies Mentor's Bouquet, Cup of Comfort Vol. 1 and Borderlines '08.
In February 2003 she emerged from a two-week coma following an auto accident in which she suffered a traumatic brain injury. Though she struggled at first, she resumed writing as soon as she was able. Today she lives with her husband in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where she continues to write and recover.
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As someone who had a serious brain injury, I could so relate to the sentiments expressed in these poems. Following the natural progression of healing physically, emotionally, and mentally post injury, the poems start out expressing the bewilderment, shock, and grief arriving with a brain injury and evolve to communicate hesitant acceptance and hope. Finally, the last poems convey a new understanding of reality, energy, and appreciation of life. I wish I had had access to this book when I was in the midst of my rehabilitation. These moving poems will provide relief and inspiration for those with a brain injury and insight into their confusing world for those around them.
As a former rehabilitation nurse working with patients with traumatic brain injuries, I found A Life Interrupted extremely valuable. I wish a book such as this had been available at that time. This book provides a deeply moving view into the world that so many of my patients experienced. Ms. Mathewson's poetry is powerful, deeply moving and engaging. I would highly recommend this book on many levels, including a "must-read" for health care professionals in the fields of neurology and rehabilitation, as well as those with friends and loved ones who have experienced a traumatic brain injury.
'Traumas are about transformations,' wise words that begin Louise Mathewson's new poetry collection 'A Life Interrupted: Living with Brain Injury' and also close it, reinforcing the transformation that takes place within these pages. What is remarkable about this collection, detailing one woman's experience of a brain injury resulting from a car accident, is the journey towards the Self that the writer takes the reader on. In vivid and concrete imagery, the reader comes to understand this life changing experience through up close detail of every twist and turn on the road of recovery. 'Thoughts must find new neutrons to relay their messages to the body.' Before reading these poems, it was unimaginable for me to know and feel what it would be like to be alive, living in my body but have no recollection of who I was and what happened to me. But these beautiful and at times heart-rending poems show me how to imagine it, feel it and to some extent live with it. What this collection does is put life in perspective, and makes me realise how small my woes and problems are in relation to what this poet had been through. Being ' knocked outside' the self but through the support of family and friends, as well as the healing process of writing itself, Louise is able to come home to herself, a changed person. Providing a roadmap for others in similar situations to follow. This collection does give the reader hope. Not just vivid imagery but the structure and the refrains within the pieces all work to reinforce the disorientation of the experience and how you can go around in circles trying to catch the memories lost and not being able to hold onto them long enough to make sense. The frustration of 'learning to dance with trauma in my cells' is felt by the reader. What stays with me long after I finished reading the collection is the resilience of the human spirit. There were dark times, times when the landscape of Louise's life all changed and she didn't recognise herself or her life. But she never gave up and finally found that golden goodness inside of herself which she probably wouldn't have found if not for this experience of suffering with a brain injury. A remarkable collection which I will return to again and again. There is handy list of resources and organisations at the back of this collection which is very useful for myself who has not endured living with a brain injury but can appreciate the signposts towards healing and finding a way back to the Self.
As someone who relates to Louise's book from an actual event (I had a Stroke), the steps that must be taken in order to move on with your life are critical! Reading "A Life Interrupted" helps us reflect on what happened, as well as where to go from here. We may get very upset at first, and ask "Why Me?". Then, as we continue on, we figure out that there is more to this life; and some even find their true self! Everyone goes through some interruption of life. But to those who learn to move forward and make the most of life after the fact, it is a blessing. Thank you Louise, for your desire and dedication in order to move on with your life, and to help others do the same. Keith Taylor Strength after Stroke www.strengthafterstroke.com firstname.lastname@example.org