Never for a minute think that the loss of a parent at a young age is easy. There is always the question of why, and if I was better would that have changed anything. Hudson Catalina carries the loss of her mother, at the age of fourteen, deep in her heart. She fears the beast, breast cancer. For twenty-four years she has run away from the demon that has haunted her only to realize that she must face this fear head on.
I’ve learned a lot about survival, and my book Belly of the Whale brings much of what I learned to its pages. Sometimes what is written causes a visceral reaction. Sometimes it is easier to deny emotional truth with outrage. The response from readers of Belly of the Whale has overall been very positive, but a few have found the main character to be a person one might love to hate. Very often the truth is too difficult to face, the possibilities of the how’s and why’s are not greeted with an open heart. Better to deny, than to embrace.
My mother is a breast cancer survivor. Her survival has everything and nothing to do with breast cancer. Her most recent fight for her life came from an infarction of the superior mesenteric artery. Not cancer. She survived. Her doctors are still in awe of her determination, of her sheer will to stay glued to the planet. This embodies survival. This embraces hope.
I do not feel that I need to defend my story. There comes a time, even if it is one day, that we might feel the need to pull the covers up over our head; to let go of hope; to free fall. For those who are staunchly defensive of their position in never wavering from loss of hope, I applaud them. This is very brave and requires an amazing amount of will power. To never, even for a minute, think a negative thought is remarkable. Bravo.
For all those who have questioned and had moments of indecision, for all those who have stood on the precipice of hopelessness, Belly of the Whale will remind you what it is like to be reeled in, to reconfirm your faith and your spirit and to acknowledge the fact that we are human and that there are times when we are tested seemingly beyond our capabilities.