He tried again to speak, and this time heard a small grunt from his chest. The Blue Man turned.
"Your voice will come. We all go through the same thing. You cannot talk when you first arrive."
He smiled. "It helps you listen."
"There are five people you meet in heaven," the Blue Man suddenly said. "Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on earth."
Eddie looked confused.
"People think of heaven as a paradise garden, a place where they can float on clouds and laze in rivers and mountains. But scenery without solace is meaningless.
"This is the greatest gift God can give you: to understand what happened in your life. To have it explained. It is the peace you have been searching for."
Eddie coughed, trying to bring up his voice. He was tired of being silent.
"I am your first person, Edward. When I died, my life was illuminated by five others, and then I came here to wait for you, to stand in your line, to tell you my story, which becomes part of yours. There will be others for you, too. Some you knew, maybe some you didn't. But they all crossed your path before they died. And they altered it forever."
Eddie pushed a sound up from his chest, as hard as he could.
"What " he finally croaked.
His voice seemed to be breaking through a shell, like a baby chick.
"What killed "
The Blue Man waited patiently.
"What killed you?"
The Blue Man looked a bit surprised. He smiled at Eddie. "You did," he said.
From The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. Copyright 2003 Mitch Albom. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher, Hyperion.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
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