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For One More Day

April 17, 2007

A couple of years ago, I gave a friend Mitch Albom’s Fab Five as a birthday gift. I remember being hooked on Albom even before his Tuesdays With Morrie became a global phenomenon. I would put him in the middle of Coelho and Fulghum – not too “emo” as my cousins would tease, Albom is just right.

The day I received For One More Day from a very good friend, I also received a SMS message from a priest – an anecdote about a little girl who was supposed to be saying her prayers. Her parents were alarmed that she was just reciting the alphabet. Upon inquiry, the little girl answered that she is, in fact, praying and since God would know what she needs without her even asking for it, she was certain that God could discern what her heart desires . Yes, God probably understood her plea somewhere between A, B and M.

Based just on the preface, it was the one book that needed to find its way to me. The office of a preface is to introduce the contents of a book and to convince the reader that what is written after is worth their time. Towards the end of For One More Day’s preface, Albom urges us to:

…ask yourself this: Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.

It got me determined not to close the book until I finished it. We all will be a little wiser at the end of it.

A “wish granted”

King, my cousin, and I sometimes joke that we are “love children” – conceived out of wedlock but our parents got married just in time before we were born. In my early teens, I have wondered if my parents would’ve married even if my mother wasn’t pregnant with me. There is this one line in the book that would have quelled that doubt and watered down the rebel in all of us – “..now you know how badly someone wanted you…[children] forget that sometimes. They think of themselves as a burden instead of a wish granted.”

Rotten

What usually happens when we have a bad day? No, we don’t belt out “You Had A Bad Day” and happily shrug it off. We take it out – on the people who had nothing to do with our bad day. I am guilty of that. After putting in sixteen hours of work and lecture, most of us would no longer have any energy to make time for family and friends. Indeed, as Albom declares,“[when] you’re rotten about yourself, you become rotten to everyone else, even those you love.”

Back-up

“That’s the thing when your parents die, you feel like instead of going into every fight with backup, you are going into every fight alone.” I wonder how children survive. In all honesty, I do not think I am strong enough to go into the fights that everyday living throws at us without my parents. I will forever marvel at how people who have lost a parent – or worse, have lost both – find their bearings.

Mothers and illusions

Chick Benetto, the main character, deduced that “[mothers] support certain illusions about their children, and one of my illusions was that I liked who I was, because she did. When she passed away, so did that idea.” I agree. We all are beautiful because our mothers said so. No matter how much we mess up our lives, we pick ourselves up again because our mothers said we can do it. What we see in our mothers’ eyes is the illusion that we live.

“Perdonare”

“Perdonare.” Forgive, an old lady in the novel urges. Forgive God, forgive the world, and most of all, forgive yourself.

An author onced enthused that Albom is a “fearless explorer of the wistful and the magical” and a “devout believer in the power of love.” Please include For One More Day in your summer readings. I attest that it will “make you smile. It will make you wistful. It will make you blink back tears of nostalgia. But most of all, it will make you believe in the eternal power of a mother’s love.

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