Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Five People You Meet In Heaven--Mitch Albom

My interest in reading “The five people you meet in heaven” by Mitch Albom was sparked during a conversation with a friend. He only mentioned it briefly, but being a sucker for ‘feel good’ fiction, I decided to put it on my “To read” list.
Fortunately, I was able to borrow it from a very kind dear and therefore, did not have to wait for a loan from the public library.
It is actually a very short story that is written simply, yet beautifully crafted. There really isn’t anything wonderfully inspirational about its contents, but there is one element that is worthy of special mention that I shall touch on today.

Eddie is an ordinary blue collared worker and thought he lived his whole life doing something insignificant (fixing joy rides in an amusement park). He died one day while saving a little girl from a freak accident which occurred at one of the park’s attraction called “Freddy’s Free Fall”. After he died, he met five people consecutively in heaven. Each person has been waiting for him in heaven, and, as Albom reveals, each life (and death) was woven into Eddie's own in ways he never suspected. Each soul has a story to tell, a secret to reveal, and a lesson to share. Through them Eddie understands the meaning of his own life even as his arrival brings closure to theirs.

The part I like most:
(The fourth person Eddie meets—his beloved wife, Marguerite)
I shall now quote the portions in this section of the story that I find most enchanting and pure.

People say they “find” love, as if it were an object hidden by a rock. But love takes many forms, and it is never the same for any man and woman. What people find then is a certain love. And Eddie found a certain love with Marguerite, a grateful love, a deep but quiet love, one that he knew, above all else, was irreplaceable. Once she had gone, he had let the days go stale. He put his heart to sleep.


Love, like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes, under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots, keeping itself alive.

Finally, after many talks, Marguerite walked Eddie through another door. They were back inside the small, round room. She sat on the stool and placed her fingers together. She turned to the mirror, and Eddie noticed her reflection. Hers, not his.

“The bride waits here,” she said, running her hands along her hair, taking in her image but seeming to drift away. “This is the moment you think about what you are doing. Who you are choosing. Who you will love. If it is right, Eddie, this can be such a wonderful moment.”
She turned to him.

“You had to live without love for many years, didn’t you?”

Eddie said nothing.

“You felt that it was snatched away, that I left you too soon.”

He lowered himself slowly. Her lavender dress was spread before him.

“You did leave too soon,” he said.

“You were angry with me.”


Her eyes flashed.

“OK. Yes.”

“There was a reason to it all,” she said.

“What reason?” he said. “How could there be a reason? You died. You were forty-seven. You were the best person any of us knew, and you died and you lost everything. And I lost everything. I lost the woman I ever loved.”

She took his hands. “No, you didn’t. I was right here. And you loved me anyway.”

“Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that’s all. You can’t see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partner. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it.”

“Life has to end,” she said. “Love doesn’t.”

Eddie thought about the years after he buried his wife. It was like looking over a fence. He was aware of another kind of life out there, even as he knew he would never be a part of it.
“I never wanted anyone else,” he said quietly.

“I know,” she said.

“I was still in love with you.”

“I know.” She nodded. “I felt it.”

“Here?” he asked.

“Even here,” she said, smiling. “That’s how strong lost love can be.”

Touching, is it? This is especially for all of you who have lost your loved ones…I am sure we will hold fast to the beautiful memories they have left us with, and continue loving them all our lives.

Note: The literature quoted above is from the book “The five people you meet in heaven” by Mitch Albom and is done solely for the purpose of review.


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