Who Are My Five People?

Try-It With-Me Tuesday, an interactive weekly time and place to foster connections that challenge and encourage the process to become a well-rounded person.

I believe in life after death. In the last year I researched many of our ancestors’ lives and the close connection to our family history confirms my belief even more. What I believe happens to us after death is dramatically different from the fictional story by Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Yet, I appreciated a fresh look at this topic that we rarely discuss for fear of offending one another with our personal beliefs.

Following Eddie through his death is like wandering beside him through his search for understanding. His death is not the cliffhanger but the impetus for his journey. The story is his process of coming to terms with his life, his relationships, his choices.

In addition to moving Eddie forward through the steps of heaven, Mr. Albom uses flashbacks to his birthdays in life to inform the reader of Eddie’s history. These flashbacks, like most flashbacks as a literary tool, are difficult to comprehend and fit together in a reader’s mind. However, they establish the circumstances better than a chronological story would and keep the immediacy focused on Eddie’s life after death rather than those moments themselves.

Eddie meets five people who have also died and they assist him in his journey to learn about his life. Each person crossed Eddie’s path—some he knew, others he didn’t—and changed his life. Now in heaven, these five people meet with him and “illuminate” his life as the first person explains to him.

One of the main concepts of this book is that in life we do not know the impact of our lives, for good or for bad, on other people. In heaven Eddie has the chance, with the aid of these five people, to learn about his relationships with his family, seek the peace he desires, look past himself to forgiveness, and discover redemption.

The story does not identify God or His purposes in heaven or in our lives. Rather, the author focuses on the five individuals to bring Eddie through a process. This prompts a curious question for me. If I were in Eddie’s story, “Who would my five people be?”‘

I believe it might be some of those people in my life who have played an important, but less verbal role—like my mother or my oldest daughter. It would certainly include several strangers and an acquaintance or two.

So, I ask you, which five people would you meet?

By having Eddie meet five people in heaven the story is more universal for all faiths. Still, I lead my life with faith in God, assured that he is there and lives even though I cannot see him and do not have tangible evidence of him. Faith makes possible the restoration of relationships through forgiveness and redemption here in this life.

So, I would maybe change my question from which five people would I meet once I died, to whom should I meet now?

Did you read this book with me or have you read it before? What did you think? Leave a comment below or go to my contact page and send me a link to a post you have written about it and I will publish it.

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2 Comments

  1. Ryan
    Jul 29, 2008

    I haven’t read the book, unfortunately, but your description does remind me of C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, which I found extremely fascinating. It also tries to describe life after death, and especially the process of recognizing who we are, what are lives were about, what mistakes we made, and why it would be important to change. Basically, it’s about a persons journey from Hell to Heaven, and the angels that try to convince him he wants to stay.

  2. Alison
    Jul 30, 2008

    I don’t think we can identify our “five people.” That’s kind-of the point of the book. It’s not the people who you know you affected but the people who were changed by your unknowing acts.

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