Title: Bluff by Lenore Skomal
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Lenore Skomal Press
“To the medical world, I was a host body, surviving only to bring a new life into the world. And while I wanted to die more than anything in the world, I never wanted this. No, I never wanted to cease to exist. This was the worst death of all.”
Jude Black lives in that in-between, twilight place teetering on death but clinging to life in order to bring her baby into this world. Only she knows the circumstances surrounding her mysterious fall off the bluff that landed her in the hospital being kept alive by medical intervention. Only she knows who the father of her baby is. In this poignantly crafted literary novel, the mystery unfolds and the suspense builds as the consequences of Jude’s decisions threaten to reveal everyone’s deceptions, even her own. Bluff offers a sensitive look at essential questions such as the value of human life, the consciousness of those in a coma and the morality of terminating life support. At the core is the story of a tragically misunderstood woman who finds peace, acceptance, understanding and even love on her deathbed.
I was born a weakling. An infection set in after my mother’s water broke and somehow that translated into pneumonia, which settled into my hours-old lungs. It was touch-and-go for several days. As the story goes, my mother Gay found religion, went into hiding in the hospital chapel and prayed like a mad woman. She sought the help of St. Jude.Â She made a deal with the saint. If I lived, and oh she prayed and prayed I would, she would name me after this mighty and powerful patron saint, the court of spiritual last resort for those with hopeless causes.
Yes, Gay kept her word and named me after the saint who saved my life. I never thought of asking her what she would have named me if I had died. I think a birth name can predestine you for life. I am Jude, the hopeless cause.
It was as if something died in Jude in order to make room for the new life to live. Like she was punishing herself, imprisoning herself in her own personal purgatory and keeping Frances out. Instead of the new life infusing her with a reason for living, it seemed to have become a death sentence. Jude rarely spoke of the pregnancy, took no joy in reporting the results of the doctor’s visits when she actually went to them, and rebuffed Frances’ attempt to create any happiness around the impending birth. It was as if it were happening to someone else, not Jude.
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