“Tuesdays with Morrie” author Mitch Albom isn’t a fan of texting. “We text, we Facebook, we post. We do everything we can to avoid a conversation,” Albom tells Metro.
But after losing a loved one, Albom insists that even a society that prefers communicating digitally, it’s a real-life conversation we long for the most.
“There are so many people when they lose someone that wish they could have one more conversation," he says. The characters in Albom’s latest book, “The First Phone Call From Heaven,” are given exactly that chance.
The book is about a small town that starts receiving phone calls from heaven. Once the media gets hold of the story, people from all over the world flock to the town, hoping their own cell phones will start ringing. Mostly, the book follows one man who was just released from prison after serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. While in prison, his wife died, leaving him to raise his young son alone. When the boy starts asking when mommy is going to call, he can’t bear for his son to have false hope, so he sets out to prove the whole thing is a hoax.
The idea for the book came after Albom lost the ability to have a conversation with his mother. “She suffered a stroke and lost the ability to speak,” he says. “It’s been more than three years since I’ve heard her voice. It occurred to me how precious the human voice is and so much of what we associate to a person’s personality has to do with their voice. Many people often won’t erase voicemails from lost loved ones.”
When asked if he could orchestrate any real life phone calls between heaven and earth, Albom’s answer didn’t involve presidents, saints or other public figures. Like the backdrop of his books, he’d focus on ordinary people. “I would try to get every broken heart on earth comforted by one of those calls,” he says.
Promoting the book has prompted Albom readers to tell them their own stories about real-life phone calls from heaven. “One guy told me he got a phone call from his mother. She had died in a car crash, but no one knew yet. She called and told him, ‘I’m all right. I’ll always be with you. Don’t worry.’ Then she said she would see his grandmother soon, and a week later, his grandmother died.”
For his own part, Albom believes miracles come in all sizes, small and large, and is no stranger to experiencing them himself. “Oh, I have them all the time. There are so many good things that have happened to me that it can’t just be coincidence. I often say there must be a divine intervention at work here.”
"The First Phone Call From Heaven" is out now.
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