Eddie feels remorseful that the Blue Man died from his own foolish childhood mistake, and pleads with the Blue Man not to punish him. The Blue Man explains to Eddie that the purpose of meeting him in Heaven is not to punish him, but to teach him something.
Eddie’s idea of the afterlife is drawn from his human experiences, showing the focus humans have on vengeance rather than redemption and forgiveness. Eddie’s childlike fear of punishment also shows that he is reliving the phases of his life.
The Blue Man transports Eddie to the memory of his funeral. Eddie realizes he was there as a child—and it becomes clear that this was Eddie’s eighth birthday (as mentioned in the previous chapter). Eddie marvels that back then, he couldn’t have known he had caused the Blue Man’s death. Eddie tells the Blue Man he shouldn’t have had to die because of Eddie’s recklessness. The Blue Man disagrees, however, saying that “all lives intersect,” and that death takes one person instead of another all the time. He explains that people are “drawn to funerals and babies” because humans intuitively understand that birth and death are integrally related. This cycle of life connects everyone, the Blue Man says, such that “strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.”
Though he died alone in an alley, the Blue Man sees his death as an event that connected him to other human lives, including Eddie’s. The Blue Man’s explanation of the pull humans feel to “babies and funerals” connects back to what Eddie’s mother said at the Blue Man’s funeral—“sometimes you have to do things when sad things happen.” Cosmically, there is a connection between the births and deaths of all humans, and sometimes that invisible connection may be literal, as in the case of the Blue Man sacrificing his life so Eddie could live.
The Blue Man embraces Eddie, and Eddie suddenly feels all of the emotions the Blue Man felt during his time on earth, the “loneliness, the shame, the nervousness, the heart attack.” As the Blue Man prepares to leave Eddie, Eddie asks him if he was successful in saving “Amy or Annie” from the cart before he died. When the Blue Man doesn’t answer, Eddie feels great despair, assuming that means he didn’t save her. He laments that both his death and life were therefore wasted. The Blue Man responds that, “The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone.” Then the Blue Man’s skin changes back to normal color, and Eddie is pulled into the sky.
It is significant that it is the Blue Man who teaches Eddie that nobody is alone, as he himself spent most of his life isolated from society. Eddie thinks his life and death were wasted because they were ordinary, but the Blue Man’s life shows that the unexpected connections between humans, as well as the shared experiences of emotion, are what give life meaning. Those same connections and experiences allow the Blue Man to treat Eddie like family, and to forgive him.