Chick has an extremely hard life in For One More Day. His father abandons him when he's only 11, his mother dies, and he becomes an alcoholic. His career fails, his marriage fails, and he ultimately decides to commit suicide. This is when he wakes up and gets to spend one more day with his deceased mother.
One of the major themes in the book is the redemptive power of love. Many of Chick's problems stem from feeling alone and unloved. Once his father abandoned him, he was unable to see the sacrifices and choices his mother made to take care of him. Instead, he isolated himself. He wasn't able to connect to his wife or daughter.
Witnessing everything his mother did out of love changes Chick when he wakes up and is brought back to life. He recognizes that he isn't alone. He sees that love is the one thing that can cross any barrier and fix any problem. He doesn't have to be a big-time baseball player to have a family who loves him; his father's weakness doesn't define him.
He is redeemed through his deeper understanding and acceptance of the love he has in his life. This is what makes him able to fix the relationships with his family during the time he has left.
The main character, Chick, experiences a great number of hardships and difficulties throughout this book. He had a very close relationship to his mother, who has now passed away, which leaves him distraught and heartbroken. In addition to that, his father is borderline abusive, pushing Chick to excellence in sports but caring little for the boy's emotional health. Because of this, Chick considers suicide and is very distressed.
The major theme is Chick learning to accept the things in his life and forgiving his father. This acceptance and forgiveness helps him overcome his grief and also helps to reconcile him somewhat to his father. He struggles with acceptance and grief, but through the events of the novel, he learns to work through his feelings both toward his mother's death and his father's lack of compassion.
Love and acceptance are two of the deepest themes in this book. Chick is constantly teetering on anger, depression, or hatred because of the events in his—particularly his father's absence and his mother's eventual death. However, the love that he has for his mother helps him to find closure eventually and also enables him to forgive and accept his father. He also learns to love and accept himself in spite of the anger, bitterness, and guilt he feels—and he eventually decides against taking his own life.
Chick suffers through many troubles and obstacles, not the least of which is losing his mother. Chick also feels resentful and guilty because his father, who is very distant and not truly present in his life, demands so much of him—wanting him to become a major baseball star and be successful. He puts great pressure on him and shows him no love in the meantime, which tears him down greatly.
The main theme of For One More Day is forgiveness, of others and of one's self. The main character, Chick Benetto, is so tormented by guilt and self-loathing at the beginning of the story that he tries to end his life. From the time he was a child his loyalties have been divided between his absent father and the mother who has been a constant in his life, and the choices he has made have left him essentially hating himself. Through the unexplainable experience of spending just one more day with his dead mother, Chick learns to forgive, and is able to find reconciliation and make restitution during the years he has left.
A second central theme in the book is the love of a mother for her children. It is only after her death that Chick truly understands and appreciates the hardships his mother endured, and the strength and courage she showed time after time as she struggled to take care of her children's needs and to protect them from the harsh realities of life.
The most difficult hardships that Chick has to endure in his lifetime stem from the behavior of his father and his father's demands for the loyalty of his son. In choosing his father, Chick must deny his mother, and he finds himself lying to her and treating her with disrespect time and time again. Chick's father's dream for him is to be a successful major league baseball player, and when things do not work out this way, Chick must deal not only with his own disappointment but also with his father's pressure to continue in the quest, even though Chick knows it is not to be.
Chick's reslting frustrations and self-hatred manifest themselves in adulthood in erratic behavior fueled by alcoholism. Chick's instability eventually causes his marriage to break up and leads to his daughter being ashamed of him and not wanting him around, even at her own wedding. Chick's ill-advised responses to the challenges in his life create a self-perpetuating cycle of rejection of and by the ones he loves most.