Mitch Albom's 'For One
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
- Everyone has experienced the pain of losing someone they love. What if you could spend one more day with them?
That’s the premise of the bestselling novel, For One More Day, by author Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie, Five People You Meet in Heaven). Harpo Films, under the banner “Oprah Winfrey Presents,” has made Albom’s story into a movie that airs this weekend on ABC.
The film stars Emmy Award-winning actor Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”) as Chick Benetto, a former baseball player who has become an alcoholic. He returns to his hometown one night with the intent of committing suicide. But just before he pulls the trigger, he is magically given one more day to spend with his departed mom, Posey Benetto, played by Academy Award-winning actress Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream).
Much of the story is told through flashbacks, with Imperioli’s real-life son Vadim in his film debut portraying a young Chick. As the older Chick spends the day with his mom and reflects on his childhood, he realizes the sacrifices that she made to keep her family together through tough times. He also realizes the changes he will need to make if he wants to save his family relationships.
Albom said he wrote the story in honor of his own mother after speaking with her on the phone one day as he was working on another book. The call was nothing out of the ordinary, he said, but it struck him that his mom was getting older and would not always be there.
“When I hung up I was hit with this wave of sadness,” Albom said. “It was like a voice inside me that said, ‘What’s it going to be like when you are not going to be able to do what you just did?’”
The thought of one day losing his mom hit him hard.
“I was so saddened and depressed by the idea of that, by something that hadn’t even happened yet, that I realized wow, this is a pretty strong emotion. If you can feel this strongly about it and it hasn’t happened, maybe you should be writing about that instead. And I started the book that day.”
For One More Day explores similar themes of the author’s previous novel, Five People You Meet in Heaven. Both stories beckon readers to live life in a way that will make a difference and to not take for granted the limited amount of time they have been given.
These are lessons he learned, Albom said, after the life changing experience that he wrote about in his first book, Tuesdays with Morrie.
After learning that a former college professor had a terminal disease, he visited with him once a week until he died. Watching his friend die made him realize that life does not go on forever, he said. Following that experience, he gave up being a workaholic to live a more balanced life and spend more time with his family.
He hopes For One More Day will encourage others to do the same.
“When the movie is finished, I hope that maybe they pick up a phone and call someone who is dear to them in their life that they’ve been putting off going to see, or saying I’ll get around to seeing them at the holidays or next summer. … Life isn’t going to wait around for you to finish your work.”
Apart from some mild language, the film is very family friendly. Though some may be put off by the idea of a character visiting with a “ghost,” the plot poignantly makes the author’s point.
“In real life people don’t come back and spend a day with you,” Albom said “so you should try to grab that day now.”
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