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Holding on to Hurt

Holding on to Hurt
“I dread that every day I live, I’m one day further away from my life with Scottie”

Irene Hurt has always dreamed of having a large family with her adoring husband Bruce. That dream is shattered when her doctor performs a hysterectomy after the birth of her only son Scottie. Though heartbroken, Irene accepts the outcome and cherishes every moment with her son and her husband, until ... the day she gets the call every mother dreads. Scottie is injured in a mass school shooting and is rushed to the ICU, where he's put into a medically induced coma to wait out his fate.

Devastated, Bruce pulls away and even tries to convince Irene to remove Scottie's life support, to save his son from a life of lesser existence. But, Irene refuses to give up hope.

On her journey through grief, denial, anger and finally, acceptance, Irene discovers more about the events of that tragic day, the boy who shot her son and then took his own life, and the husband she thought she knew and could trust.

Will Scottie pull through and, once again, be the glue that keeps this family together? Or, will Irene accept that sometimes, the best thing a mother can do for her child is let go?

Set in the darkest hours of winter in Seattle, Holding on to Hurt tells the gripping story of one mother's fight to keep her son alive, no matter what she has to sacrifice.

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About the Book

This author’s writing has been compared to that of Jennifer Weiner!

♦   ♦   ♦

Best Book Bit:

I’m not prepared for the sight that meets me on the other side of the glass window. She told us he hurt his head and lost a lot of blood, but that he—considering the circumstances—doesn’t look that bad. But, it’s not her little boy lying in there. It’s not her little Scottie.

In the door, Bruce catches my arm and asks me if I’m okay to stand. I nod. I’m not, but I have to keep going. If I don’t go in now, I might not ever gather the strength to see my little boy like this. As I near the bed, my knees give away again.

“Oh God,” I whimper. It’s even worse than I imagined. His bed is surrounded by monitors, tubes, and machines that beep and blink. Scott’s body—usually energetic, strong, and in full sprint—looks limp, boneless, and lifeless. His skin is pale, his lips all dry and cracked, and two huge dark brushes take up most of the left side of his face. A thick tube runs from his mouth to a respirator. Leads and wires are taped to his chest, and an IV bag hangs above him, dripping.

Bruce wraps his arm tightly around me and kisses the top of my head.

“You can sit next to him on the bed. It’s okay,” Hannah says behind me. “Go on. He won’t break,” she adds, but I’m not so sure she’s right about that. He looks like he could break any second now. Hannah moves a chair next to his bed and offers me her hand. Slowly, I take it and let her help me sit.

“It’s me—mo-mo-mommy,” I whisper, my voice caught in a million tears. “Dad’s here, too,” I add when Bruce doesn’t say anything but just positions himself behind my chair—at a safe distance—his hands resting on my shoulders. “We’ve been so worried … I-I-I …” I look up at Hannah. “I don’t know what to say,” I whisper, my voice cracking at every word.

“It’s okay.” She takes my hand and places it on top of Scottie’s, which, for a moment makes me flinch. His hand feels so cold and lifeless—so unlike Scott’s warm and soft hand speckled with freckles and life. “It’s okay to touch him,” she whispers with a knowing smile. “Yes, his hands are very cold. That’s to be expected at this stage, but you should touch him and talk to him as much as you can. You too.” She turns and faces Bruce. I don’t hear what he says, or if he says anything back. All I can focus on is my hand touching Scott’s. It’s both scary and comforting that I’m finally holding his hand—that I’m by his side, where a mom should be.

I watch how the machine is making him breathe, in and out, in and out, and for a moment I try to follow the same breathing rhythm to calm down whatever it is—fear, rage, grief, helplessness—that’s making my heart beat so fast I fear I’ll pass out. I look at his peaceful face, his eyes closed and the tube attached to his mouth, and suddenly I want to shake him hard and yell at him to wake up, yell at him to give us something—a tiny nod, a flutter of an eye, a small movement of his hand enclosed in mine. Anything to show me that he’s still here with us, that he can hear us, feel us. That he hasn’t left us …yet. But I don’t. I can’t. All the strength I have left right now is used to hold on to his hand and never let go. Ever.

“Does he even know we’re here?” Bruce sits down on the edge of my chair and stares at my hand on top of Scottie’s. He clears his throat before he continues, “I mean, does he register any of this?” He makes a gesture toward all the tubes, leads, wires, and beeping machines that are keeping Scottie alive.

Hannah grabs a chair and drags it across the floor and sits next to me. “We can’t prove it, but I think he can. Some doctors don’t believe it, but I’ve been a nurse here for more than twenty years, and I’ve seen miracles and heard stories the doctors won’t believe. Doctors, especially men, are very … how shall I put it? Scientific.” She looks past me and smiles at Bruce. “Nurses … we’re more about the people, if you know what I mean. It’s kinda like in a marriage. The guy calls the plumber when the toilet is broken; the woman takes care of the friend with a broken heart when she comes knocking on the door. Guys only like things that can be fixed,” she adds, smiling at me.

I nod. She sure is right about that, I think as I watch Bruce shrug his shoulder. Bruce is not a quitter—far from it—but he sure doesn’t like things that cannot easily be fixed or improved upon. I often suspect that’s why he’s never tried to make amends with John, his dad, who he’s not been close to in over twenty years. And I guess that’s why we never really fight, or why he’s such a softy when it comes to Scottie. Bruce can’t deal with things that potentially can break and can’t be fixed, which is why he didn’t want kids to begin with.

“What if something happens to it? What if it gets run over, drowns, gets bit by a mad dog, or even kidnapped?” he said when we finally had The Talk.

It was a Sunday morning in February, right before my birthday, and when he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I simply blurted out that all I wanted was a baby. I assured him that nothing would happen to it and that we would take care of it, take care of all of them. I told him I wanted at least four—one for each season—and if we got a few strong boys to begin with, we could use them as bodyguards for their baby sisters, I joked. He said he would think about. The next day, he went out and bought half a mile of white picket fence and a new gun and then told me he was ready. Nine months later, give or take, Scottie was born. The first few months, Bruce treated Scottie like he was made of glass. He would almost break into a sweat if he heard the tiniest little cry coming from Scottie’s crib, and he would panic if Scottie had a slight fever or cough. He watched him like a hawk, and no one—aside from me and Red—was allowed to babysit. When we found out we probably couldn’t have any more, Bruce was even more devastated than me.

“Maybe we could adopt,” he said one night after tucking a then four-year-old Scottie in.

“Why?” I asked him. “You know I’d love to have another child, but we both know that might not happen so … can’t you just be happy with who we are as a family?”

“But I am, that’s the whole thing. I’ve never been happier. It’s just … what if something happened to him? How could we go on living? He’s all we’ve got.”

I told him that there are no guarantees in life and we just had to enjoy every moment we were allowed with our son. We did.

His words echo in my mind as I look at Scottie’s limp body spread out before me. Bruce was right. How can we go on living if Scottie never wakes up again? I throw myself at Bruce and start crying uncontrollably into his shoulder.

“Oh, Bruce, please tell me he’s going to be all right,” I beg. “Please!”

 “He will,” Bruce assures me with his best soothing voice. “I can fix this,” he promises. But we both know it’s not true.



Ribbon Reviews for this title:
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)


I read the description above and it isn’t the normal book I would read, and the reviews did suggest a hankie was needed. I never watch weepy films and wouldn’t normally read a weepy book either. But I started to read this and was drawn into the story.

We’ve all seen news items about mass shootings and they touched the author’s heart, as they do with many people. Ms Roth was compelled to write about it and imagining what it must be like to be caught up in a situation like that.

Heartrending for sure. The story gives the reader a chance to experience it through the eyes of one family and its painful read.  The book title is very clever and not what you think either. I shall let you find that out when you read it.

Told in the first person by Irene, she lives every mother’s nightmare. We watch the fragmenting of her family and the strong emotions it causes. I’m not going to give away any of the story in this review, but it is suffice to say there are some surprises, some twists and some turns along the way.  I found it fascinating to read about the family who pull together in times of crisis and how the dynamics of what they were and experienced in the past all play a big part in coming together.

Charlotte Roth could very well let loose with an over-emotive and perhaps repetitive story but no, she writes extremely well and deals with sensitive issues. It will certainly make you sit back and think.

So, if you are looking for something different from boy meets girl, aliens landing, werewolves, and vampire’s biting, or even the paranormal, then read this book. You won’t be sorry.

Submitted by Karen J. Mossman

Holding On To Hurt is about Bruce and Irene Hurt. Their son Scottie is shot on his bus by another student. It centers around the aftermath of the shooting and the family trying to hold it together.

This book had me in so many tears. Charlotte Roth is an excellent writer who lets you feel the emotions of the characters. Her title is so fitting. They are all hurt by the tragedy and since their last name is Hurt, they are also trying to hold on to each other, The Hurts. You get to see how it affects not just the family, but the community and other students, as well.

Irene Hurt is such a strong character. Never leaving her sons side. I would be the same way. She never gives up hope. Even though, everyone else is too scared to hold on to any hope.

I recommend this author and this book.
This was one of the most compelling dramas I've ever read! The emotion was so thick I could almost hear the pounding of Irene's heart and feel her tears dripping as she cried on my shoulder.

It's a story of a mother's unconditional love for her son and the unending bond they share, even in near-death.

Each character has his or her own sub story to tell in this book, and I love that. It helped me connect to each one and feel his or her pain as well, which created compassion in my heart for these people, and helped me understand why they reacted the way they did to certain events.

No gaps are left open, no parts of the story unexplained. It all comes together so beautifully in the end, but man, what a ride to get there!

If you do not cry while reading this book, I suggest you get check for a pulse. :) I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys true-life love stories. It's not a romance per se, but it's a story about the greatest love of all - the love of family.
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