Ask the Authors: Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, joins Dr. Phil to discuss his new book, For One More Day.

 

"This is an amazing book that you have written," Dr. Phil tells Mitch. "Where did this come from?"

Mitch explains that after his book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven came out, many people approached him saying they would give everything to have one more day with a loved one. "I noticed they were often talking about their parents," he says. "I thought, well, that's kind of an interesting story. What if you actually got one day back here on Earth with somebody you lost?" It made him think about the time he spends with his mother.

"How does this play into your relationship with your mother?" Dr. Phil asks.

 

"I had a very good relationship with my mother, but as this happens with this guy in the book, I probably never really appreciated her as much as I should have as I was growing up," he says. The main character in his book keeps a list of times when his mother stood up for him, and times when he did not

stand up for his mother. "If you added up those two lists at the end of your life, it would be so imbalanced that you could never make it up," he says. "I wanted to write a book while she was alive that would show her how much I appreciated what she had done."

"I always tell people you have to ask yourself, if you lost someone you loved " your mother, your father, your husband, your wife " if you lost them before the end of this sentence, would there be things left unsaid, things left undone?" Dr. Phil says. "I thought that this was just a compelling example of exactly why we have to stop and ask ourselves those questions."

Mitch describes the plot of the book: When the main character is a little boy, his father tells him that he can choose to be a mama's boy or a daddy'As boy, but he can't be both. He chooses to be a daddy's boy and comes to worship his father. When he's 11 years old, his dad

walks out on the family, and he's left with his mother to raise him. He never appreciates his mother, because he's always pining for the love he lost, his father. Years later, his life has come undone. He's an alcoholic, and he's lost his job and his family. One night, he goes back to his small hometown to kill himself, and he walks into his old house expecting it to be abandoned. He hears his mother's voice calling him, even though she's been dead for years. "This begins this one last day back together that he gets to try to make up for all the days that he didn't appreciate her," Mitch says.

"Is this a trick? Because why did I feel like I was walking into the house?" Dr. Phil asks, jokingly. "That's the whole point, right? Every one of us can walk in those shoes."

"The best stories are stories that can entertain people, but also where they can say, ‘What if that were me?'" Mitch says. 

Carrie, a Dr. Phil viewer, read For One More Day after her mother passed away. It had a huge impact on her life.

 

"My mom passed away just two months ago. I never realized how much I would miss her until she was actually gone," Carrie says, on the verge of tears. "When I read For One More Day, I cried and cried. I wish I had one more day to tell her how much I love her. I regret not spending more time with her while I had the chance.

"The line in the book that speaks the most to me is the word mom. You don't know how significant it is until you have no one to say it to again," she says. "Now I show my children more love and affection. I now want my children to know how much I appreciate them for making me a mom."

 

After the video finishes, Dr. Phil addresses Carrie. "Very, very well

said," he says. "Is that hard to watch?"

"Yeah. I miss my mom," she says, voice quavering.

 

"If you had read this book before you lost your mom, would it have changed what you did?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I wish I would have, because I knew she was dying," Carrie says. "If I would have read it, I would have known to take all the time I wanted and tell her everything I wanted to, show her that I appreciate everything she did for me."

Dr. Phil addresses Mitch. "You've got to feel good about writing that book when you realize the impact that it has on people's lives," he says.



"The irony of all those people who I told you about who came up and said, ‘Boy, what I wouldn't give for one more day back,' the truth is that many of those people had plenty of days. Days weren't the problem. It was just they didn't take them," he explains.

 

Carrie's mother wrote her a letter on her birthday 10 years ago that she carries with her every day. "In that letter, she says that she is so proud of you, wishes she could have done even more to help you get started in your life, says that she is immensely proud of you and has every confidence that you will handle the things in life that are put before you. So she didn't leave things unfinished. She wrote it down, and she gave it to you," Dr. Phil reminds Carrie. "You said your mother wouldn't want you to feel bad about this."

"No, she wouldn't," Carrie agrees.

 

Dr. Phil offers Carrie advice for getting closure. "Your mother lived a lot of years, and she died one day, and if you focus on the day she died " the event of her death " to the exclusion of celebrating all of the years that she lived, all of the things that she did, what an unfairness that is to her," he says. "You owe her better than that."

"Yeah, I do," Carrie acknowledges.

"Why don't you focus and celebrate on all the days that she lived, rather than just the day that she died," Dr. Phil suggests.

"OK," Carrie whispers, emotionally.