Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tab's Fiction Pick: For One More Day by Mitch Albom

"This is a story about a family and, as there is a ghost involved, you might call it a ghost story. But every family is a ghost story. The dead sit at our tables long after they have gone."Mitch Albom.

It's an interesting premise isn't it? Are families full of members that no longer walk the earth? Do people who are no here still touch our lives? I think, in one way or another, those that have gone before us do touch the ground we now walk on. Even if we are not conscious of it. Even if we wish it wasn't so. We are apart of the thread of humanity. Apart of those who went before us and apart of those who are still to come. I wouldn't say that people in my past define me, but I would say that it would be possible to find their fingerprints in my life, even in some small way. Even if it was just because I chose not to be like them, or make their same mistakes.
But what if someone's passing wasn't the end? 
Mitch Albom plays the ultimate what if game in his novel For One More Day.
What if... you had one more day with the person you loved? 
What if there was another chance to say the things that weren't said? Hmmm....
I lost my grandfather last November. I think I said everything I wanted to say. I think he knew I loved him. And as his eldest granddaughter, I knew he was fiercely proud of me. I knew he loved me. I knew he thought I was beautiful. He said so. Often. And in the absence of my father's words, he made all the difference. I certainly knew he loved me. 
If I had one more day with him, I would ask him if he heard us talking the night he died. I would ask what it meant to him that we were there. And I would ask him what he was trying to say in those last deliberate mumbles.
But I have no regrets. 
I am keenly aware that his story came before mine. I think he lived a good life. Not perfect. But who is? I don't think I understood all there was to understand about him. I didn't understand all the stories he told. But I know his favourites were those he told about my grandmother. That I can understand. She is a remarkable woman. 

When I read Mitch's book, I cried. Not many books have that affect on me, but this one did. They weren't sad tears, just thoughtful ones. I was remembering my grandfather. And I was thinking of all the other people who are very much alive, the ones who sit at my dinner table and the ones who I call friends. I think of those I wish I knew better. I think of the things I want to ask them, but don't. For one reason or another. I think of those who ask me questions and the impact they have had, both the people and the questions, in my life. 

I don't want to have any regrets. But I am sure I will probably have some in this life. I just hope it won't be something I didn't say when I had the chance to say it. We don't get one more day with those we love. There are no more days to get to know someone once they are gone. I know this; days have numbers. We don't see them clicking over. But they are. Everyday. I hope I remember that in all my relationships. Days are very precious. People-more so. Ask. Tell. Show. Speak. Live life with those who make it worth the living. I want to show up. And dare to be present. No regrets. No "What ifs..." Because once they are gone, and they will go, there is never one more day.

William, Bill, Popo...RIP
You know I loved you.
And so did many others...

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