Janna Leyde and I connected through Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie world, a much linked-to favorite of Farrell’s and mine. Janna is a New York City writer and yoga instructor who has written an incredibly personal memoir of life following her father’s traumatic brain injury. We are moved by Janna’s bravery and willingness to share her story, and honored to have a post from her today on how she came to write He Never Liked Cake. Janna has recently launched a Pubslush crowd-funding campaign to publish her memoir. Learn about how it all works, and read more from Janna, here.
I was fourteen when I read the first of many books I’ve read on brain injury. It happened on one particular evening when my father was supposed to take my friends and me waterskiing when he got home from work. Instead, I found myself sitting in a hospital waiting room, reading a book because one of the nurses had given it to me, reading it because there was nothing else to do, reading it because I couldn’t find my mother and no one could tell me what was going on.
As the days, weeks, months and years following my dad’s car accident unfolded, life as I knew it started to unhinge. Well-intentioned as it was, the pamphlet-like book—When a Parent Has a Brain Injury: Sons and Daughters Speak Out—was not much help. But it was the only guide I had for this kind of thing.
By eleventh grade, the book had gathered dust in a bottom desk drawer; by college, it was lost. In 2006 it resurfaced in a package labeled ‘brain injury paperwork’ that my mother had sent to my apartment in New York City. That book was still the only resource for children (both young and adult) of people with brain injuries, and I’d since grown out of wanting to be a vet, a psychologist, a meteorologist, a National Geographic photographer and into a writer. It was time to write this book—from my perspective.
He Never Liked Cake is a memoir, the story of my life with my father’s traumatic brain injury—the raw truth, a wonderfully honest story about what my family and I have endured in the wake of his accident. It is the study of my father’s challenges and an ode to my mother’s unconditional love. It is the story of finding my path to acceptance and love.
I wrote it for any child that has any inkling of what living with a brain injury is like, for those children to know they are not alone. I wrote it for the families who fight for the new normal, and for survivors who fail to see how life is different.
I wrote it for everyone, because He Never Liked Cake is simply a story about how to embrace life when it doesn’t work out the way we had it planned.
Help publish He Never Liked Cake through the Pubslush campaign, and keep up with Janna on Twitter @jannacabana