A Life Interrupted
Living with Brain Injury
More info about A Life
Interrupted | Author's website | Author page for Louise Mathewson
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 Cup of
Comfort—Vol. I (Adams Media) and Borderlines ’08 (University of
Portsmouth, United Kingdom).
Most recently her work appears in Mentor’s
Bouquet, an anthology edited by Linda Leedy Schneider (Finishing Line
Press, Fall 2009).Louise has always loved to write about the sacred moments in everyday experiences, but
today these experiences hold even deeper meaning. 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 Louise
lives with her husband in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where she continues to write and recover.
Advance Praise for A Life
"Reader: You will be TRANSFORMED BY INJURY—vicariously and literally
as you read this book of poems.
"There is a message in this poetry that is poignant and essential for all
who are recovering from traumatic brain injury and for those who love them. This poetry will transform you: Mind,
Body and Spirit. You will feel your skin prickle; your heart and lungs open and your mind relax in a way that prose
would never penetrate. You will become aware of the greater importance of your Life experience, transformed by
injury. You will know the stages and transitions that occur on the healing journey with Traumatic Brain
Injury. You will experience a wakeup call mentally and spiritually to declare the purpose of your life. As
you read A Life Interrupted, you will be interrupted to become more authentic and whole,
while wholly different than before.
"This book should be required for every neurologist graduating from
residency. It should be in every VA hospital for soldiers returning from war. It should be at the bedside
of all who suffer at home. A caretaker should gently read these words out loud to heal and be healed.
"The book not only outlines the TBI journey but specifies resources
for healing. The best of the best therapy and therapists in this country are listed at the end of the
book. These approaches hold hope for all who have chosen this challenging and difficult life in transition. To
those who work with TBI and those such as Louise Mathewson who live beyond it, we owe our
gratitude and awe."
Linda W. Peterson-St. Pierre, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor, University of Nevada School of Medicine
Marriage & Family Therapist
Children in Distress: A Guide for Screening Children’s Art,
Clear Vision: The Power of Story
& Write Out
Loud: A Guide for Families who Live and Work
in War and War-Like Environments
“A car accident left Louise Mathewson with a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
that changed her forever. She awoke after a two-week coma unable to walk, read, speak, remember. But
something deep inside had not been touched—her essence, her soul, remained intact. It struggled through the
confusion and chaos to reclaim its voice as she struggled to regain her physical and mental abilities. This
book of short poems recounts Louise’s strenuous journey back from the darkness of this ‘invisible injury’ and
allows us to rejoice with her when, finally, she is able to change her personal understanding of TBI to
‘transformed by brain injury.’”
After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story
“Brain injured individuals are launched into a journey through unfamiliar and chaotic terrain,
a path with few signposts and one mostly traveled alone. Many enter that wilderness and do not return. Louise
Mathewson has traveled that path. Yet, remarkably, she has refused to surrender to its isolation. Through her
poetry she insists that we join her there as she wrestles with the angel of transformation, as she emerges
from the cocoon of her grief to become the shimmering poetic butterfly so evidently here now. What emerges
through her writing is an evocation of the experience of brain injury that is by turns wrenching, detailed,
clinically accurate, ruthlessly honest, and in the end spiritually rich and nourishing.
“This is not necessarily an easy book to read. Much of it is about the peculiar qualities of suffering and distress
that happen to people following a traumatic brain injury. This is not the breezy, Hollywood version of life we are
so accustomed to, where bad things never happen to good people. Here is the voice of a good person, and something
quite bad has clearly happened. Louise refuses to let herself or us off the hook too easily. ‘You must look at
this,’ she seems to be saying; ‘this is real and it’s not okay to ignore it.’ So we must accompany her on the
journey of her personal tragedy and ultimate transformation.
“A wonderful jewel of a book!”
Darell M. Shaffer, M.D.