The Five People You Meet In Heaven
Author: Mitch Albom; Publication Date: 2003, United States.
Due to internet and school, I had a long, dreadful break from reading. But, as every bibliophile, I kept buying books with the hope that I will read the someday. One of them was “The Five People You Meet In Heaven“, by Mitch Albom. My very first approach to this book was, surprise surprise, through tumblr. I was just scrolling through the site when I came across a picture of a quote. Turned out, that picture was the very first page of The Five People You Meet In Heaven.
“All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.” I was completely fascinated. It had me thinking about it over and over again. I found it so true! The second time I came across it was also a picture with a quote. This time, the quote said: “In order to move on, you must understand why you felt the way you did and why you no longer need to feel it.” Being very bad at letting go and moving on, that quote spoke to me on a very personal level, and, still to this day, I apply it to situations I need to grow out of.
After several more quotes on tumblr, I finally decided to actually buy the book! That didn’t happen until several months later, of course. Long story short, I managed to finish my first book in a very long time, and I’m glad it was The Five People You Meet In Heaven. Although not religious, I am a very spiritual person, so the book suited me very well!
As the prologue says, “this is a story about a man named Eddie” and how he learned five important lessons from the five people he met in heaven. Eddie is a war veteran that took over his father’s job at the Ruby Pier, fixing rides. He believes his life was uneventful and insignificant: never had an important job, never had children, has nothing to leave behind. Eddie will soon find he is mistaking.
The first person he meets in heaven, the Blue Man is someone he never actually met, but whose life was ended as Eddie avoided a car accident when he was very young. Eddie never knew that story, and that was his first lesson: everything is connected. “Death doesn’t just take someone, it misses someone else, and in the small distance between being taken and being missed, lives are changed.”. The Blue Man died in order for another life to be spared: Eddie’s, even though none of them knew, because everything happens for a reason.
The second person Eddie meets in heaven is an old memory: the Captain of his crew during war time. The Captain died voluntary, running in a mine field so his team would survive. Sacrifice. That was Eddie’s second lesson! Because “sacrifice is a part of life. It’s supposed to be. It’s not something to regret. It’s something to aspire to.” He sacrificed life to pass it to someone else, which is why a sacrifice is not a loss.
Ruby, the woman whose name was bright and big on the pier’s entrance, was meant to deliver Eddie’s third lesson. This time, she wasn’t the one the veteran had to learn about, but his abusive, careless father. As a boy and as a grown up, Eddie had been physically and mentally abused by his father and Ruby’s purpose was to teach the son to grant forgiveness, as she showed him how every story has more than one side.
To Eddie’s delight, his fourth person to meet was his beloved wife, who died of tumor many years before. Margueritte pointed out how much her husband loved her when they were together, and how he completely closed his heart, after she passed away. A bitter, old Eddie needed to learn the power of love, that “lost love is still love. It takes a different form, that’s all.” Lost love, especially, is the strongest type of love, as it can reach through enormous distances.
Eddie’s final person was the toughest to meet. Although he had never met her in his life, he felt Tala his whole life. Tala, the little girl whose house he set on fire as he escaped the war. Tala, who’s been haunting his dreams for the rest of his life. The young girl was not angry, or resentful, or vengeful. She, instead, showed Eddie how his life made up for her death: all those insignificant years, Eddie kept thousands of children safe by making sure the rides were safe. And so his life did have a purpose!
The Five People You Meet In Heaven was a lovely, easy read that I warmly recommend as it nourishes both the mind and soul.