Monday, January 01, 2007

The Five People You Meet in Heaven – Mitch Albom

This is a beautifully written book! It makes for a lovely NEW Year present!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

This is the story of Eddie, who on his 83rd birthday “dies” in an accident and moves to the spiritual plane. Here, he is met by five people who “died” before him – some are those who he never “knew” in his lifetime. These meetings unfold the mysteries surrounding Eddie’s life, how he got to be the way he was when he was “alive”! These five people he meets guide him to basically understand how each of our lives is connected to the other without us even realizing it. “We move through places everyday that would never have been if not for those who came before us. Our work places, where we spend so much time – we often think they began with our arrival. That’s not true.”

They explain to him the events in his life. He comes to terms with the extreme anger that he still felt about the single event in his youth which changed the course of his life. “Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.” He also understands what it means to sacrifice and how not to think of it in terms of what one “loses”. He understands that no life is a waste, and the only time we waste, is the time we spend thinking we are alone.

His wife who died before him is also one of the five people he meets. The meeting with his wife is a very moving and special one. His wife is the only woman he loved in a way that she remained in his memories in all the 30 years he lived after her “death”. His love for her is explained to him – a quiet, giving love that is deeply felt by both for the other. He is then explained the reason for her early death: to give expression to a love that is beyond the physical, his wife testifies that she has always felt his deep, quiet, grateful love even after her “death”. This is a very joyous reunion for Eddie and he does not want her to leave again; they tell each other every little thing that they missed sharing with the other until it is time for her to go once more...

The book ends on the note – “Each affects the other and the other affects the next and world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.” This awareness inspires to watch what we utter and do – lest we do not cause harm to the other.

This book was a riveting read, very moving too and left me with a very comfortable feeling – the feeling of coming “home”, the comfort of a healing experience. With its simple articulation, the beautiful narrative touches the deepest chords in our consciousness – the part of us that wonders at times about the mysteries of our being and what we are here for.

(The book has been made into a film by the same name directed by Lloyd Kramer and produced by Howard Ellis with teleplay written by the author himself. Mitch Albom is the author of the International bestseller and award-winning book, “Tuesdays with Morrie”).