Trigger Warning: There is some discussion of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and depression in this article. The views expressed here are my own.
Recently, I watched some videos on YouTube about the DeBarge family. Several of the family members had some success as the musical group DeBarge in the 1980s. I have seen other documentaries and read articles about the history of this family, but this telling of the DeBarges’ story sat with me different. The YouTuber I watched is a good storyteller, but even if she had been terrible, the Debarge story is sensational enough to have had the same effect. In short, the children suffered unthinkable abuse at the hands of their father. Most of them grew up to become addicts, marry abusive partners, and even abuse each other.
Like many people, I used to hold the belief that you could only blame so much of your present on your past. To a certain extent, I still believe that is true. But, with all that I have learned about human behavior, psychology, and the human body so far, I now know better.
This came to me in a dream/memory. One of my now fondest memories of my mother was from a late night when I asked her to detangle my hair after I had washed it. Usually, she would say no because I have very thick hair and her back and hands weren’t what they used to be. It would quickly become painful for her. I think I was about 28 years old at the time and this took place about a year and a half before my mom went into hospice. I was so grateful that she agreed to comb my hair. I fell asleep in the chair while she stood and gently detangled my coily hair, greased my scalp, and plaited my hair. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget her. You only get one mom.I was in a deep slumber when these words woke me up and I had to write them down. I went back to sleep as soon as I had finished writing but couldn’t remember what I had written until I read it again later. I’m just glad it made sense. I miss you, Ruby.
It has been taking me longer to get through this book than I thought it would. It isn’t because the book is written in such a way that it is difficult to read. The book doesn’t have that many pages either. I’m still going through the stages of grief associated with my mother and both of her brothers passing within a year and a half of each other. My mother passed away January 2020 and it is still very fresh for me.
However, I have been pushing through, even if I’m only reading a page or two a day and I have made it to page 104. The main character Eddie has passed away tragically and unexpectedly and now that he is on the other side of life, he is encountering different people on his way to heaven. According to the book’s title, there will be five people. At this point in the story, Eddie has just finished his meeting with the second person.
There were a couple of things that stood out to me during this interaction. I’m going to try to explain them without spoiling the story.
The second person Eddie meets takes him back to the time he spent in combat. He, along with some other men, were taken prisoner. They eventually escaped but it was due, in part, to a unique talent/skill that Eddie has. As I was reading this scenario, it reiterated for me that I have talents that may come in handy in the most unusual places. On top of that, I happened to be reading this on a Saturday and though I am not a devout practitioner or follower, I have found Deepak Chopra’s 7 Laws of Spiritual Success to be useful and I have a copy of that list taped to my bedroom wall. The 7th law is the Law of Dharma which Chopra describes as “Seeking your higher self and discovering your unique talents.”
I’m not sure if the author of this novel intended it to be a spiritual experience as much as he intended for it to simply be a novel that people enjoy, but with where I am in my life at this moment, this story has been both. It would probably be less spiritual if I weren’t constantly thinking about my mother, but there are still some great nuggets of wisdom to be found in the pages I have read so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens on the next pages.