Crash: How I Became a Reluctant Caregiver by Rachel Michelberg
Publisher: She Writes Press, (April 27, 2021)
Category: Memoir, Divorce, Parenting, Moral Conflict, Caring for Disabled, Caregiver
Available in Print and ebook, 224 pages
Rachel likes to think of herself as a nice Jewish girl, dedicated to doing what’s honorable, just as her parents raised her to do. But when her husband, David, survives a plane crash and is left with severe brain damage, she faces a choice: will she dedicate her life to caring for a man she no longer loves, or walk away?
Their marriage had been rocky at the time of the accident, and though she wants to do the right thing, Rachel doesn’t know how she is supposed to care for two kids in addition to a now irrational, incontinent, and seizure-prone grown man. And how will she manage to see her lover? But then again, what kind of selfish monster would refuse to care for her disabled husband, no matter how unhappy her marriage had been? Rachel wants to believe that she can dedicate her life to David’s needs, but knows in her heart it is impossible.
Crash tackles a pervasive dilemma in our culture: the moral conflicts individuals face when caregiving for a disabled or cognitively impaired family member.
Guest Review by Sage Nor
A heart wrenching look at the underappreciated caregivers in our lives.
Rachel Michelberg was a young mother of two when her husband, a pilot, was in a terrible accident. His plane crashed into a vineyard in California, and David Michelberg was left with severe brain damage as well as spinal damage. This kind of catastrophe would be enough to destroy almost anyone’s life, but Rachel had an added problem.
Before the crash, she and David’s marriage was already in trouble, and Rachel had begun seeing another man. Now, Rachel must care for a husband that she is not sure she feels anything for beyond duty. And, of course, caring for someone with such severe injuries is a full time job.
David is capable of speech and some memory, but he doesn’t remember his children and he is prone to fits of irrationality. Between caring for her children and health issues of her own, Rachel struggles to take care of a husband who has mentally regressed back to the state of a small child and take care of herself at the same time.
Michelberg’s writing was fantastic and she held nothing back from scrutiny. Reading this book felt like an intimate look at the life of someone suffering through a time that most of us hope we’ll never have to face and getting through it in a realistic way. Despite putting all of her flaws out for everyone in the world to see, Michelberg was so sympathetic and so easy to understand.
I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to deal with someone that you love going through something so terrible and irreversible. ‘Crash: How I Became a Reluctant Caregiver’ changed my mind and my opinions in a lot of ways, and it’s one memoir that I know I will be thinking about for a long time to come.
About the Author
Rachel Michelberg grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and still enjoys living there with her husband, Richard, and their two dogs, Nala and Beenie. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from San Jose State University and has performed leading roles in musicals and opera from Carmen to My Fair Lady as well as the part of the Mother Abbess (three times!) in The Sound of Music.
When Rachel isn’t working with one of her twenty voice and piano students, she loves gardening, hiking, and making her own bone broth. CRASH: How I Became a Reluctant Caregiver is her first book.
This giveaway is open to the U.S. only for the choice of print or eBook for each winner. It ends on May 18, 2021,midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.
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Advance Praise for Crash
“…an engaging exploration of duty, guilt, and self-preservation. Michelberg is a frank writer…. continually willing to unpack her guilt while also exploring options for her own emotional survival. A cleareyed consideration of difficult ethical and familial choices.”-Kirkus Reviews
“I couldn’t put this book down . . . Rachel Michelberg gives the reader the gift of unfiltered honesty, without excuses or complaints. She shows us how the clarity of a scrupulous heart can guide us through the worst of times. Crash is an important story told by a remarkable story teller.”-Joanne Silver Jones, author of Headstrong: Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury
“I read this book cover to cover and then finally remembered to breathe. Crash is a profoundly human story told with grace and raw honesty. Michelberg is courageous enough to put all of herself into the pages, and we are all the better for it. Crash will stay with you–in your mind, heart, and gut–for a long time after you finish it.”-Mark Lukach, author of My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward
“Crash is a skillfully written, riveting account of Michelberg’s struggle to sustain herself and her family after a tragic event radically alters their lives. As a mother, she is protective, resourceful and competent as she boldly guides her family forward. Vigilant and vulnerable, she exemplifies a woman who speaks her truth, however hard that is to bear. Crash will challenge your own sense of what is important in fighting for a family’s well-being.”-Anna Penenberg, Amazon best-selling author of Dancing in the Narrows: A Mother-Daughter Odyssey Through Chronic Illness