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By Thalia

As an international star of music and television, Thalia is beloved the world over. In "Growing Stronger," she shares the moving story of her struggle against personal tragedy. Here's an excerpt.

PRELUDE

Growing Stronger emerged from a need to relate my life experiences as well as my constant struggle to prevail each day, and as a reminder to myself of the importance of never giving up. There are moments that are decisive and transcendental, which have in some way impacted me deeply, a path that I had to chart, no matter how or where I was. The important thing was the desire and decision to do so—to conquer it, to walk it, to experience it, take it in, and most of all, to live it fully.

As I wrote this book, I also lived through two critical and transformative events: my second pregnancy, the announcement of a new life that I will soon hold in my arms, inviting joy to knock on my door once again; and the death of my beloved mother, the single most important person in my life, whose total devotion, support, direction, excellent counsel and unconditional love armed me with the tools to face this moment of joy that came with the arrival of our family’s newest member, but also the total devastation of her sudden loss.

I started the book during a time when I felt that I had found myself, existing on a plane of optimal and harmonious balance regarding my thoughts and feelings alike, having made peace with my past—and I finished the book with a sense of fullness and liberation that I, in turn, wanted to share with you.

But God had other plans, and because the book was already in production, I decided to include and share the latest of my great tests—the irreparable loss of my mother, who is the most cherished person in my life.

One week prior to her death, my mother—such the enthusiast about everything—held this finalized manuscript, which she not only read twice, but also edited, adding her comments where necessary and making revisions that we instantly addressed in the book.

Since I was a little girl, I have witnessed the strength and courage that energized my mother, who left every sorrow and pain in the past, who would work unyieldingly to obtain her goals, who was the great warrior from whom I learned all the values that are today fundamental pillars of my every day.

She raised me to have a steady character; she held my hand, and with her I discovered an infinite world of possibilities and dreams that could become a reality. Her essence came through in all of my stories, in my daily life, in my dreams and desires. My mother shared all of it, always full of life and passion, as only she could be, one with freedom, shining like the sun and eating up the blessings and opportunities of life by hungry mouthfuls.

My mother, Yolanda, was a little girl who never grew up, and sometimes we would laugh, and I would say things like, “Okay, so now it looks like I am your mother and you are my daughter,” to which she would reply, “Well, yes. Handle it and pamper me.” I wish this could really be true with the birth of my baby: that somehow her spirit could be born again in this new creature who will fill my house with love, that I could have her in my arms and cuddle her with so much love close to my heart. But I know that she was called by God to follow the path that He has for her.

My mother’s impetuous personality and her limitless way of being touched so many of the people who knew her. She filled some of them with love, with optimism, with faith and smiles. To others she imparted wise advice during their difficult times, helping them along; and she transformed others into great impresarios, talented businessmen, professionals with the capacity to develop in any field; likewise with her closest people, such as her family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues, from her banker to the gardener and cook. All of them always felt a lot of love for her and felt loved by her, a gift that very few people have.

This book is a celebration of love and joy, an homage that through the course of my life experiences, most of it accompanied by her, I want to share with you, my readers.

In Growing Stronger, I expose my most painful moments and open my heart, thoughts and person, so that my experiences can inspire alleviation, consolation and decisiveness.

Like everyone else, there are things that motivate me, as well as things that detract and paralyze me. With this book, which is filled with a sentiment of fortitude and potential, I want to inspire people to live their lives fully, for us to always see a light along the way, and in this way be able to embrace, forgive, restore and love.

Through my remembrances, past and present, I discovered the power that I carry within, much of which I inherited directly from my mother.

I realized that every experience, every hardship, problem, painful ordeal, difficult or intense, has allowed me to know myself better each time. I hope with all my heart that through my experiences and story you will be able to find that sense of motivation that, as it did for me, will inspire you to discover the marvelous person that you are, even in the midst of storminess and pain. This book reflects the trajectory of my life, which I hope will help you along your path and in your search. If this book helps you at all with your own life, that will be the greatest gift for me.

Thank you, Mother, because you taught me to be stronger every day.

Thalia

Reprinted from "Growing Stronger" by Thalia © 2011 by Thalia. Used with permission of the publisher, Celebra/New American Library, a division of Penguin Group.