A skeptic gains a new outlook on life after her husband’s premature death from cancer.
“It is difficult to formulate words for what has happened,” Berlin writes in her thoughtful nonfiction debut. “You see, a revelation of this magnitude requires a whole new vocabulary on my part.” The revelation in question is one of many, all happening in the wake of the death of Berlin’s husband, Max, from cancer on December 23, 2003. Berlin, who was once agnostic, lost her husband and soon afterward began to experience strange phenomena, intimations of Max’s continued presence. On New Year’s Day 2004, she imagined she heard his voice repeating the kinds of joshing things he used to say when he was alive. “I don’t pretend to completely understand what happened on January 1st,” she says, “but one thing I do know is, it happened.” At one point, she prays to God to hear his voice again, and the next day, while hunting for batteries for the TV remote, she stumbles across a tape recorder with a recording of Max’s voice still in it. Dozens of similar coincidences—light bulbs burning out, books falling off shelves, appliances suddenly turning on, etc.—convince Berlin that the man she describes as her best friend is still with her. Here, she studies the psychological phenomena of cognitive dissonance and the theoretical possibilities of parallel dimensions, investigations interspersed with touching memories of her life with Max. Readers who’ve lost a loved one will immediately sympathize with much of what Berlin relates. Skeptical readers might view her book less as an account of supernatural survival and more as a journal of grief grasping for something real. Nevertheless, her tale of an interrupted love story still resonates.
Fans of the movie Ghost will enjoy this tale of love surviving death.