Desert Renewal: Finding Our Way Back After My Husband's Brain Injury |
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Desert Renewal: Finding Our Way Back After My Husband’s Brain Injury

Desert Renewal: Finding Our Way Back After My Husband’s Brain Injury

“The Atlanta Journal Constitution” just published my essay that I wrote a few years after Kevin’s car accident in November 2004. I’d originally sold it to AARP in 2008 — I couldn’t write about what we were going through before then, because it was too painful and fresh. We finally settled with the insurance companies that year, then AARP stopped running experiential travel essays and kept it in inventory for a year, releasing the rights to me in 2009. It won Travel Classics West for Best Article. With my husband Kevin Garrett’s blessing — he’s doing well now though still has some short-term memory issues and pain — I pitched it to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution a few weeks ago, and the editors moved things around to run it.

We were fortunate that we found a phenomenal neuro-psychologist, who was ahead of his time and told us that the brain — although the slowest organ to heal — also had a greater capacity to heal than most scientists and doctors at the time believed. Dr. Stephen Johnson had multiple sclerosis and was in a wheelchair, yet he was the most positive, kind doctor. He gave us a lot of hope and great advice.

Sure enough, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of progress over the past eight years. Most people who meet Kevin now have no idea he ever went through an accident, and his photography career is thriving. (You can see his beautiful work at In the past few years, he has started writing again, and his same sense of humor and slightly skewed way of looking at the world shines through in his work. We used to write guidebooks together, and I’m so thrilled be able to read his funny, intriguing writing again.

We decided to share our story, because so many families — military, athletes and car accident victims — are dealing with head injuries. When we were going through it eight years ago, I could find very little encouraging written. It’s been a long journey, but we are closer and more in love than ever. I’m one of those few people who has been blessed to fall in love with her husband twice. Here’s a link to the story:

If you know anyone who has suffered a brain injury, please share our story with that person and his or her loved ones. Anyone who has been through this situation needs all the encouragement available.

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