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"A book that painfully twists the reader's feelings, then guides them to find serenity again. A life lesson to be used when you have to face the loss of a loved one, or you want to give support to others who are going through this devastating experience. A conversation with her daughter in which the mother asks "why" and the daughter answers with the silence of her absence."

Talcualdigital, Caracas

"One of the most difficult tasks of every human being is to recover from the loss of a loved one. Gisela embraces life again after the death of her daughter. Her only strength is the intimacy of the human experience... her need to go on living."

Primicia, Caracas

"The bookcover painting, 'Ascending' was created in honor of a beautiful young woman who left this world in search of a better place. I know she has found it. I prayed very hard before attempting to paint her and I really feel as though I had much divine help as I went along. It wasn''t until I finished that I discovered the symbolism that had been painted into it without my even realizing. The cross in the foreground is a very evident one and one not so evident is an upside down Shepard with his staff who looks as if he were in prayer for the ascending soul above him.

Emmalou Doyle,
Watercolor artist,


"Gisela Castillo de Luján's compelling book 'Buscando A Mi Estrella Mailí', have deeply moved me. As a grieving-father myself, I can picture that horrendous Monday, February 3rd, 1997, when Gisela's heart was rooted out with the tragic death of her daughter Mariana.

'The death of a parent', a twelve year old once told me, 'is like losing your past. The death of a spouse is like losing your present. But when you lose a child you lose your future.' Thus, Gisela takes us through the path of a grief that most people do not understand unless they, themselves, have lost a child. She wisely explains the feelings of guilt, rage, and resentment. The anger against God, life, the universe and Mariana herself for being so irresponsible.

'Buscando A Mi Estrella Mailí' takes us through all the stages of grief and becomes a soothing balsam when we finally understand through the clear, beautiful and poetic pages of the book that we have been experiencing is not unique, that we are not losing our minds and that there is hope…that we can face the biggest challenge of our lives - the lost of a child - and learn how to live again.

Gisela tells us that Mariana is:

'A snow flake softly falling on the grass.
A fleeting star on a clear autumn night.
An electrical storm in the summer.
The smell of freshly baked bread on a Sunday morning.
The sweetness of a kiss…
The sadness of a farewell.
Mariana is: tenderness, music, light and laughter.'

'Buscando A Mi Estrella Mailí'is a must reading for grieving Spanish speaking parents. I only wish that I could translate it to all languages of the world…the universe, so those parents everywhere could find solace, if such a thing exists."

José R. Santaballa
TCF Burke / Springfield / Fairfax Chapter



Press Releases

A Child's Death: Creating Life Out of Tragedy

Perhaps one of the most overwhelming events in a parent's life is when a child commits suicide or a fatal accident happens. Isolation and a literal flood of emotion compound the loss. Questions clamor, why did this happen, and what to do afterwards? Gisela Luján author of Searching for My Estrella Mailí, beautifully articulates her journey of recovery, and demonstrates how she chose life. Written originally in Spanish, we see from the translation that grief is a universal language.

From Searching for my Estrella Mailí, ".in the midst of my pain, I can still choose how I'm going to survive this devastating experience. I can choose to do nothing, will myself to die, let the pain and deep sadness slowly consume me. I can choose to fight and take each day as it comes, trying to use all the resources I have.and I can try to find a meaning for my life.I decided to walk the path of the daily fight. I decided to walk together with pain and desperation."

With more than two decades as a counselor and educator; Luján's experience informs her search for recovery, and fills the book with profound and compassionate wisdom. "When it comes to a death of a child it's important that parents use all the resources they may have that will allow them not only to survive, but also to embrace life again. For some, this resource may be religion, for others, it may be their jobs, volunteer work or any other activity they feel is worth getting up for in the morning. There are no universal recipes." Gisela provides an extensive list of books and organizations to assist parents on their road to recovery.

For review copies or any other information contact Selby Ink 1-888-551-6192

Searching for My Estrella Maili, by Gisela Luján
Foreword by Jeffrey Cedeño
Published by Astar Publishing
ISBN: 0-9706664-1-1
Westminster, CO
Ph: 303-429-4628
Available through

Spanish Version

Copyright 2001, Gisela Lujan/Astar Publishing.
All Rights Reserved

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