Tuesday, October 10, 2006

For One More Day

Has anyone read this book by Mitch Albom? I was checking out his book tour schedule here, hoping I could snatch up an autographed copy, but I don't think I can wait that long. This book sounds absolutely wonderful.

Here's what it's about...

For One More Day is the story of a mother and a son, and a relationship that covers a lifetime and beyond. It explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one?

As a child, Charley “Chick” Benetto was told by his father, “You can be a mama’s boy or a daddy’s boy, but you can’t be both.” So he chooses his father, only to see the man disappear when Charley is on the verge of adolescence.

Decades later, Charley is a broken man. His life has been crumbled by alcohol and regret. He loses his job. He leaves his family. He hits bottom after discovering his only daughter has shut him out of her wedding. And he decides to take his own life.

He makes a midnight ride to his small hometown, with plans to do himself in. But upon failing even to do that, he staggers back to his old house, only to make an astonishing discovery. His mother -- who died eight years earlier -- is still living there, and welcomes him home as if nothing ever happened.

Can you just imagine the implications?

I am sitting here crying about that one more day I could have had with someone - my mother.

Mitch tells us there is a ghost story within every family. There is always going to be someone who dies, and someone who you wish you had one more day with.

If I had one more day with my mother, I'd tell her that mushrooms definitely make a good spaghetti sauce, even if you have to pick them out of the sauce before you eat it. My mother made a humdinger of a spaghetti sauce, and it wasn't until about 30 years after she died, did I discover that awful truth.

If I had one more day with my mother, I'd ask her to tell me stories of my childhood that I would never recollect.

If I had one more day with my mother, I would tell her how awful I felt as a child when my aunt took us away from her to live with my grandmother 3,000 miles away. I would have told her I wanted to wake her up, but my aunt wouldn't let me. I would tell her how agonizing it was for me to be away from her, and that I never stopped hoping she would come to get me.

If I had one more day with my mother, I would tell her that I really felt it was a raw deal for her to die one month after I was married. She never got to see her granddaughter or grandson born, and they never got the privilege of knowing one of the kindest women you'd ever want to meet.

If I had one more day with my mother, I would have asked her what really happened between my father and her. Even though I knew she had to get married because I was soon on the way, I would have wanted to ask her what it felt like to find out you are pregnant at only seventeen years old. Was she upset? Did she ever wish it never happened? And why, to this day, even though my father knows of my existence, why he never wants to see me, the child he never laid eyes on?

If I had one more day with my mother, I'd ask her why it is I have this inner craving to go back to my home in California--the same one I was abruptly taken from. What is it that is calling me to return? I'd ask her if it has anything to do with her spirit inside of me, urging me to take this trip, and maybe is it to find out things I need to find out?

And, finally, as if I could ever run out of things to ask her, if I had one more day with her, I'd tell her to tell me she loved me once again, and to take her fingers and brush my hair behind my ear like she used to do to me as a child, and to let me know that these years I have spent growing up without her, having babies without her, trying to keep my life afloat without her, was what I should be doing and that I am on the right track.

Even though I can't have one more day with her to ask her these questions, maybe I can find it within myself to come to the conclusions. But, it wouldn't be the same. I could only guess, and guessing only makes you more confused.

I ask you, if you had one more day to be with someone who isn't here anymore, what would you say?

14 comments:

  1. Oh Doroty, I sat here reading this post with tears running down my face. So many of the things you would ask of your mom were you able to spend one more day with her duplicate the ones I would ask my Mom. I spent 20 years with my mom before she passed, but still have questions. Thanks for this lovely post!

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  2. Wow, Dorothy! The paragraph about asking your mother about your father is the one I'd love to include in my book. Very powerful, Dorothy! Sending big hugs to you.

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  3. Marti, I hope one day all of our life's experiences, whether good or bad, will all make sense. Our life is always full of whys, and sometimes, those whys cannot ever be answered. We can only hope that we can go through the paces with enough knowledge that we did pick up when they were still alive to continue to carry us down the right path. So if we don't know that mushrooms were the exact ingredient that made the spaghetti sauce complete, we have enough knowledge to know how to figure it out on our own. Therefore, I would like to think that it was the spirit of our departed one that finally found a way to communicate, and thus, continued helping us down our life's path. Just knowing this makes me smile. I think it all comes together at the end. Don't you think?

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  4. Kathy, I would be honored. Scarf it up, girlfriend. I need to send that other to you, don't I? I'll be emailing you. ;o)

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  5. Well, it would of course be with my Annie. I would ask if she is over the pain she had to live here with due to her disease. If she can use her hands normally again and do some of those things she liked so to do but couldn't anymore.

    I would ask if there are unfinished things here she would like me to finish for her. I'd let her know that I am doing okay, not as good as I was when she was with me, but slowly learning to survive in a world without her daily physical presence.

    I would apologize for not listening more closly when she would indicate that she wasn't going to spend the rest of my life with me. Perhaps if I had recognized that I could have done more for her than I did over the 38 years I was priviledged to have with her in my life.

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  6. Your comment on my blog gave me a smile. It's nice to know there are those who understand.

    A talk with someone who's no longer here? Hmmm...perhaps either my grandmother or granddad on my mom's side. I didn't get to know either one very well, but they both made big impressions on my life despite it all.

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  7. Awww...Dick, bless your heart. I kind of knew you would say Annie. Man, listen to me...she's still watching over you, you old coot, and don't you ever forget it. ;o)

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  8. Faith, I kind of thought you might like my comment. I know what you're going through...you might have been in it longer than I have, but this is the most frustrating business. You're bright...you're smart...and I know you'll succeed at anything you do.

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  9. Of course, I would choose my husband Jeff, but I would also wish to spend another day with my Dad. I was somewhat unconciously prepared for Jeff's death, and we tied up our loose ends as best we could without knowing for sure, but Dad's death was a surprise.

    I would be sorely tempted to ask my husband how DARE he neglect his health and leave me two little girls who need their daddy so badly. But if its only one day, that wouldn't do any good. So I'd tell him how kind and clever and beautiful our kids are, and how much we love and miss him.

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  10. Just finished the book; it was another good one.

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  11. Awww...Miss C...I had no idea your husband passed away...I'm so sorry sweetie.

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  12. Steel!!!! So happy to see you man...gotta mosey over to your blog! I saw the book in B&N and came this close to picking it up, but was mad because the magazine that my article was supposed to be in wasn't there, so I just sulked and went out but I sure wish I had bought it.

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  13. If I had one more day with my dad, I'd ask him to sing. He was a lousy singer, but I'd give anything to hear him sing "skyball paint" in eight different keys and two different rhythms all at the same time.

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  14. wow that was deep and i can relate coz if i had one more day with my mom i would shower her in rose petals and wipe her tears as she has done mine. hold her tight and tell her we are all okay but miss her. i feel as if i have a whole that cant be filled and just thinking about this has me in tears.

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