Local author Sarah Kishpaugh’s latest piece is in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries.” The author recently spoke with My Edmonds News about the effect of traumatic brain injury (TBI) on her family after her then-husband fell in 2007.
“I’d like for people to know that TBI is a permanent disability, even if the survivor is ‘lucky’ enough to appear unaffected. Often the residual impairments take years to unpack. Knowing the family is undergoing long-term transition opens the door for family, friends and community to broach the situation with patience and compassion. Never expect family to have all the answers. TBI is grey matter like you’ve never known. To support a family, one must learn to become comfortable with ambiguity.
“(I wrote for ‘Chicken Soup’ because) the editor of Brainline, org., Victoria McDonough, passed on the opportunity. She told me Carolyn Roy-Bornstein, who wrote the memoir, ‘Crash: A Mother, a Son, and the Journey from Grief to Gratitude,’ about her son’s TBI, was set to edit the collection.
“Writing your story is a cathartic journey. Sometimes gratifying, mostly frustrating. The whole time I’ve been writing about TBI I wish I didn’t have to. I wish it were fiction. But it’s not, and that’s true for many stories, many writers. So the moral is: Tell the story you have to tell! I can only hope my small contribution serves to help heal or comfort a family with similar experiences. No fairy tale is mine, but that’s life. My life. And I must love it.”
Sarah Kishpaugh earned her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2014. She works as a creative writing teacher and freelance editor and writer. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Salon.com and BrainLine.org. She is looking for a publisher for her first book, a memoir. To find out more, see her website.
Regarding TBI, almost 3 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury every year. The 101 stories in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries’ cover the entire journey — from injury and diagnosis through treatment, rehab and getting back to everyday living. Some of the royalties from the book will go to support the work of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which funds innovative programs to help injured veterans, many healing from the silent wounds from war, thrive long after they return home. To learn more about the book, see here.