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[3 of 5] Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson - 3 by Mitch Albom (1997)

Author: Mitch Albom

“Part Three of Five.” Tuesday with Morris: an Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson, by Mitch Albom, Broadway Books, 1997.


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When Morrie was a teenager, his father took him to a fur factory where he worked. This was during the Depression. The idea was to get Morrie a job.

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He entered the factory, and immediately felt as if the walls had closed in around him. The room was dark and hot, the windows covered with filth, and the machines were packed tightly together, churning like train wheels. The fur hairs were flying, creating a thickened air, and the workers, sewing the pelts together, were bent over their needles as the boss marched up and down the rows, screaming for them to go faster. Morrie could barely breathe. He stood next to his father, frozen with fear, hoping the boss wouldn’t scream at him, too.

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During lunch break, his father took Morrie to the boss and pushed him in front of him, asking if there was any work for his son. But there was barely enough work for the adult laborers, and no one was giving it up.

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This, for Morrie, was a blessing. He hated the place. He made another vow that he kept to the end of his life: he would never do any work that exploited someone else, and he would never allow himself to make money off the sweat of others.

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Jan 29
Jordyn H (Jan 29 2021 1:30PM) : What this says about Morrie. more

When Morrie went with his father to try and get a job at the factory. He was majorly relieved to have been turned away. I think this tells us a lot about Morrie. He doesn’t believe in laboring away his life. He wants to help people. He wants to teach people and help them through life. To me, this means a lot more than laboring away in a factory for the rest of his life.

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Jan 29
Meredith V (Jan 29 2021 8:36AM) : Character more

“He would never allow himself to make money off of others,” this tells me that Morrie has great character because a lot of people in this world would take the money away from the people that genuinely deserve it.

“What will you do?” Eva would ask him.

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“I don’t know,” he would say. He ruled out law, because he didn’t like lawyers, and he ruled out medicine, because he couldn’t take the sight of blood.

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“What will you do?”

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It was only through default that the best professor I ever had became a teacher.

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“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

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Jan 29
Kennedy F (Jan 29 2021 11:24AM) : Morrie's Footprints more

I think that this statement is beautiful and really makes people think about how much teachers really do for people. The main character feels this way because Morrie has affected him in such a positive way. What Morrie has done, even though he is dying, will live on forever because of his lifetime educational footprints he left behind.

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Jan 29
Lauren T (Jan 29 2021 10:52PM) : A teacher's legacy more

Many students dread going to school, let alone be told what to do by someone. People don’t understand the impact teachers make upon their student’s lives. Students spend five days a week, 6-7 hours a day, with their teachers. We see our teachers (in a normal world) more than we see our family. We spend at the minimum of 12 years of our lives with teachers. Teachers are the people who provide us with not only an education but things that will help us become better people. These life lessons stick with us forever.

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Henry Adams

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The Fourth Tuesday We Talk About Death

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“Let’s begin with this idea,” Morrie said. “Everyone knows they’re going to die, but nobody believes it.” He was in a businesslike mood this Tuesday. The subject was death, the first item on my list. Before I arrived, Morrie had scribbled a few notes on small white pieces of paper so that he wouldn’t forget. His shaky handwriting was now indecipherable to everyone but him. It was almost Labor Day, and through the office window I could see the spinach-colored hedges of the backyard and hear the yells of children playing down the street, their last week of freedom before school began.

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Back in Detroit, the newspaper strikers were gearing up for a huge holiday demonstration, to show the solidarity of unions against management. On the plane ride

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in, I had read about a woman who had shot her husband and two daughters as they lay sleeping, claiming she was protecting them from “the bad people.” In California, the lawyers in the O. J. Simpson trial were becoming huge celebrities.

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Here in Morrie’s office, life went on one precious day at a time. Now we sat together, a few feet from the newest addition to the house: an oxygen machine. It was small and portable, about knee-high. On some nights, when he couldn’t get enough air to swallow, Morrie attached the long plastic tubing to his nose, clamping on his nostrils like a leech. I hated the idea of Morrie connected to a machine of any kind, and I tried not to look at it as Morrie spoke.

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“Everyone knows they’re going to die,” he said again, “but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”

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Grace C (Jan 29 2021 11:17PM) : acceptance more

Morrie expresses how we all believe we will never die, but that is not the truth. We think we are infinte. Morries expresses how we should “prepare to die” and try to live as if today was our last. We should try to better ourselves into the person we want to be remembered for.

So we kid ourselves about death, I said.

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“Yes. But there’s a better approach. To know you’re going to die, and to be prepared for it at any time. That’s better. That way you can actually be more involved in your life while you’re living.”

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How can you ever be prepared to die?

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“Do what the Buddhists do. Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?’”

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He turned his head to his shoulder as if the bird were there now.

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“Is today the day I die?” he said.

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Morrie borrowed freely from all religions. He was born Jewish, but became an agnostic when he was a teenager, partly because of all that had happened to him as a child. He enjoyed some of the philosophies of Buddhism and Christianity, and he still felt at home, culturally, in Judaism. He was a religious mutt, which made him even more open to the students he taught over the years. And the things he was saying in his final months on earth seemed to transcend all religious differences. Death has a way of doing that.

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“The truth is, Mitch,” he said, “once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

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I nodded.

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“I’m going to say it again,” he said. “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

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He smiled, and I realized what he was doing. He was making sure I absorbed this point, without embarrassing me by asking. It was part of what made him a good teacher.

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Did you think much about death before you got sick, I asked.

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“No.” Morrie smiled. “I was like everyone else. I once told a friend of mine, in a moment of exuberance, ‘I’m gonna be the healthiest old man you ever met!’” How old were you?

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“In my sixties.”

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So you were optimistic.

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“Why not? Like I said, no one really believes they’re going to die.”

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But everyone knows someone who has died, I said. Why is it so hard to think about dying?

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“Because,” Morrie continued, “most of us all walk around as if we’re sleepwalking. We really don’t experience the world fully, because we’re half-asleep, doing things we automatically think we have to do.”

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And facing death changes all that?

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“Oh, yes. You strip away all that stuff and you focus on the essentials. When you realize you are going to die, you see everything much differently.

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He sighed. “Learn how to die, and you learn how to live.”

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I noticed that he quivered now when he moved his hands. His glasses hung around his neck, and when he lifted them to his eyes, they slid around his temples, as if he were trying to put them on someone else in the dark. I reached over to help guide them onto his ears.

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“Thank you,” Morrie whispered. He smiled when my hand brushed up against his head. The slightest human contact was immediate joy.

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“Mitch. Can I tell you something?” Of course, I said.

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“You might not like it.” Why not?

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“Well, the truth is, if you really listen to that bird on your shoulder, if you accept that you can die at any timethen you might not be as ambitious as you are.”

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I forced a small grin.

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“The things you spend so much time on—all this work you do—might not seem as important. You might have to make room for some more spiritual things.”

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Spiritual things?

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“You hate that word, don’t you? ‘Spiritual.’ You think it’s touchy-feely stuff.” Well, I said.

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He tried to wink, a bad try, and I broke down and laughed.

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“Mitch,” he said, laughing along, “even I don’t know what ‘spiritual development’ really means. But I do know we’re deficient in some way. We are too involved in materialistic things, and they don’t satisfy us. The loving relationships we have, the universe around us, we take these things for granted.”

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He nodded toward the window with the sunshine streaming in. “You see that? You can go out there, outside, anytime. You can run up and down the block and go crazy. I can’t do that. I can’t go out. I can’t run. I can’t be out there without fear of getting sick. But you know what? I appreciate that window more than you do.” Appreciate it?

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“Yes. I look out that window every day. I notice the change in the trees, how strong the wind is blowing. It’s as if I can see time actually passing through that windowpane.

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Because I know my time is almost done, I am drawn to nature like I’m seeing it for the first time.”

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He stopped, and for a moment we both just looked out the window. I tried to see what he saw. I tried to see time and seasons, my life passing in slow motion. Morrie dropped his head slightly and curled it toward his shoulder.

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“Is it today, little bird?” he asked. “Is it today?”

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Letters from around the world kept coming to Morrie, thanks to the “Nightline” appearances. He would sit, when he was up to it, and dictate the responses to friends and family who gathered for their letter-writing sessions.

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One Sunday when his sons, Rob and Jon, were home, they all gathered in the living room. Morrie sat in his wheelchair, his skinny legs under a blanket. When he got cold, one of his helpers draped a nylon jacket over his shoulders.

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“What’s the first letter?” Morrie said.

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A colleague read a note from a woman named Nancy, who had lost her mother to ALS. She wrote to say how much she had suffered through the loss and how she knew that Morrie must be suffering, too.

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“All right,” Morrie said when the reading was complete. He shut his eyes. “Let’s start by saying, ‘Dear Nancy, you touched me very much with your story about your mother. And I understand what you went through. There is sadness and suffering on both parts. DRAWDEGrieving has been good for me, and I hope it has been good for you also.’”

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“You might want to change that last line,” Rob said.

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Morrie thought for a second, then said, “You’re right. How about ‘I hope you can find the healing power in grieving.’ Is that better?”

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Rob nodded.

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“Add ‘thank you, Morrie,’”Morrie said.

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Another letter was read from a woman named Jane, who was thanking him for his inspiration on the “Nightline” program. She referred to him as a prophet.

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“That’s a very high compliment,” said a colleague. “A prophet.”

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Morrie made a face. He obviously didn’t agree with the assessment. “Let’s thank her for her high praise. And tell her I’m glad my words meant something to her.

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“And don’t forget to sign ‘Thank you, Morrie.’”

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There was a letter from a man in England who had lost his mother and asked Morrie to help him contact her through the spiritual world. There was a letter from a couple who wanted to drive to Boston to meet him. There was a long letter from a former graduate student who wrote about her life after the university. It told of a murder—suicide and three stillborn births. It told of a mother who died from ALS. It expressed fear that she, the daughter, would also contract the disease. It went on and on. Two pages. Three pages. Four pages.

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Morrie sat through the long, grim tale. When it was finally finished, he said softly,

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“Well, what do we answer?”

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The group was quiet. Finally, Rob said, “How about, ‘Thanks for your long letter?’”

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Everyone laughed. Morrie looked at his son and beamed.

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The newspaper near his chair has a photo of a Boston baseball player who is smiling after pitching a shutout. Of all the diseases, I think to myself, Morrie gets one named after an athlete.

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You remember Lou Gehrig, I ask?

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“I remember him in the stadium, saying good-bye.” So you remember the famous line.

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“Which one?”

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Come on. Lou Gehrig. “Pride of the Yankees”? The speech that echoes over the loudspeakers?

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“Remind me,” Morrie says. “Do the speech.”

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Through the open window I hear the sound of a garbage truck. Although it is hot, Morrie is wearing long sleeves, with a blanket over his legs, his skin pale. The disease owns him.

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I raise my voice and do the Gehrig imitation, where the words bounce off the stadium walls: “Too-dayyy … I feeel like … the luckiest maaaan … on the face of the earth …”

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Morrie closes his eyes and nods slowly.

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“Yeah. Well. I didn’t say that.”

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The Fifth Tuesday We Talk About Family

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Jan 29
Paul H (Jan 29 2021 1:46PM) : Signpost(s): Word of the Wiser. more

Words of the Wiser are easy to identify in TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE as they seem to come from someone…wiser. We might look to these as THEMES.

One example comes out of this chapter as Morrie quotes the American poet, W. H. Auden who writes, “Love each other or perish.”

We get a sort of “you understood” here that I am supposed to love other people or prepare to perish with those other people. Or perish myself in the absence of the ability to express or give love.

This might be a social theme as Auden is not talking to me specifically but to a collective readership of his poems/poetry.

“Love each other or perish” could be the beginnings of a theme for the book coming out of this chapter.

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It was the first week in September, back-toschool week, and after thirty-five consecutive autumns, my old professor did not have a class waiting for him on a college campus. Boston was teeming with students, double-parked on side streets, unloading trunks. And here was Morrie in his study. It seemed wrong, like those football players who finally retire and have to face that first Sunday at home, watching on TV, thinking, I could still do that. I have learned from dealing with those players that it is best to leave them alone when their old seasons come around. Don’t say anything. But then, I didn’t need to remind Morrie of his dwindling time.

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Jan 29
Riley W (Jan 29 2021 2:20PM) : remembering more

When Mitch says this Morrie is still remembering what it was like to be a teacher and how much he took joy in it and how much he misses it

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For our taped conversations, we had switched from handheld microphones—because it was too difficult now for Morrie to hold anything that long—to the lavaliere kind popular with TV newspeople. You can clip these onto a collar or lapel. Of course, since Morrie only wore soft cotton shirts that hung loosely on his ever-shrinking frame, the microphone sagged and flopped, and I had to reach over and adjust it frequently. Morrie seemed to enjoy this because it brought me close to him, in hugging range, and his need for physical affection was stronger than ever. When I leaned in, I heard his wheezing breath and his weak coughing, and he smacked his lips softly before he swallowed.

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Jan 29
Jordyn H (Jan 29 2021 1:38PM) : Morrie's longing for physical affection. more

Morrie is dying. We all know this. We all know he doesn’t have that much time left. Every human needs physical affection. Human touch. Love. Whether it’s a pat on the back for a job well done, or a long hug that you never want to escape. Morrie longs for this touch even more now because he knows he won’t be able to experience it for much longer. While Morrie has family and so many friends to love and care for him, he still knows it won’t be for much longer. That’s the problem.

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“Well, my friend,” he said, “what are we talking about today?” How about family?

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Jan 29
Braxton S (Jan 29 2021 3:14PM) : Family more

Talking about his family and reminisce about the past could be good way for Morrie to come to terms with his upcoming death.

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Jan 29
Gavin L (Jan 29 2021 8:37AM) : Family more

I feel like if Morrie talks about his family with Mitch, it will help him feel better, even though he knows he won’t be with them very much more.

“Family.” He mulled it over for a moment. “Well, you see mine, all around me.”

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Jan 29
Addyson D (Jan 29 2021 8:09PM) : Family more

I think this sentence can be used to subliminally suggest that Mitch sees Morrie as family. Morrie is within vicinity enough to be “around” him, and Mitch has made it quite clear that until recently his priorities had not been clear. This could also lead you to assume that he did not prioritize family as he should. Morrie could be his closet form.

He nodded to photos on his bookshelves, of Morrie as a child with his grandmother; Morrie as a young man with his brother, David; Morrie with his wife, Charlotte; Morrie with his two sons, Rob, a journalist in Tokyo, and ion, a computer expert in Boston.

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“I think, in light of what we’ve been talking about all these weeks, family becomes even more important,” he said.

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Jan 29
Tavian S (Jan 29 2021 11:21AM) : Importance of Family more

I think it is interesting how Morrie says," I think, in light of what we’ve been talking about all these weeks, family becomes even more important," I thought this was interesting because I just wonder what he had on his priority list above family that he would say they became EVEN MORE important

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Jan 29
Grace C (Jan 29 2021 11:30PM) : what we take for granted more

Reading abut the ways in which more views the world makes me realize how much we all take for granted. When we are in good health we fail to see the beauty of everything around us. We take for granted are good health, our love, our family, our stability, and the Beautiful world that lives around us. It’s sad that we take all of these things for granted the majority of our life. Imagine how much happier we would all be if we realize just how important these things were now.

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Feb 1
Sydney S (Feb 01 2021 12:24PM) : Agree more

I agree completely. When things are good, we forget about the little things and importance of family and the people around us. We take the best things around us for granted and assume we will have them forever. When something bad happens, you realize how good you really had it before and this can lead to a lot of regret.

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“The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family. It’s become quite clear to me as I’ve been sick. If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all. Love is so supremely important. As our great poet Auden said, ‘Love each other or perish.’”

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Jan 29
Jayden R (Jan 29 2021 11:56AM) : Without foundation more

When a child is left without the foundation of a family while growing up, the child feels as if they have to force their way into love. I believe this is the point Morrie is trying to make. Without the loving embrace of family at a young age, kids grow up either touch starved, or hating physical contact. It is even a study therapists and psychologists look into. The signs of love hungry child are clear as day, and I feel as though Morrie knew this.

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Jan 29
Paul H (Jan 29 2021 1:50PM) : Signpost: Words of the Wiser: Potential Domestic Theme more

Domestic is one of our thematic categories and includes subjects and topics that might include home, family, children.

These subjects do come out in this chapter, but watch this one that comes from Morrie himself. Words of the Wiser:

The fact is, there is no foundation, so secure ground upon which people may stand today if it isn’t the family."

So, the ties to domesticity are clear here, but how might this become a POLITICAL theme? A SOCIAL theme? A comment to the GENDER? A comment on RELIGION. All of these have vested interested in family issues and here Morrie suggests that this is foundational.

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Jan 29
Aron G (Jan 29 2021 1:52PM) : love more

Morrie, being as old and wise as he is, says something very accurate in a conversations he has with Mitch saying " If you don’t have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don’t have much at all." It’s accurate because many of us human beings grow up without a farther figure or mother figure and become heartless sculptures roaming the earth, and there are some of them that grow up to be millionaires and have all this money and popularity surrounding them, yet they feel empty and unwanted because what they don’t realize is that money can not buy happiness or love.

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Sydney S (Feb 01 2021 12:26PM) : Response to Aron more

I feel like people try to distract themselves with materialistic things and popularity. At the end of the day, without some type of family love, life is a lot harder and you really don’t have much like Morrie said.

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“Love each other or perish.” I wrote it down. Auden said that?

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Jan 29
Kali M (Jan 29 2021 1:45PM) : "Love each other or perish" more

“Love each other or perish”. This quote represents a lot of meaning behind it. In our lives we are only given one family, we cannot replace our blood line family. All families have issues and problems but at the end of the day we must love our family. If we don’t who may we have to love? As it is quoted “Love each other or perish.” Sometimes it does more damage to leave words unspoken or diminish a family relationship, it parishes. Typically it is best to love each other.

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“Love each other or perish,” Morrie said. “It’s good, no? And it’s so true. Without love, we are birds with broken wings.

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Jan 29
K B
(Jan 29 2021 1:44PM) : Love keeps us afloat more

Even though Morrie wasn’t the original source of this quote, it holds a great message. Love is one of, if not the most important thing in human society. Without it we are meaningless.

“Say I was divorced, or living alone, or had no children. This disease—what I’m going through—would be so much harder. I’m not sure I could do it. Sure, people would come visit, friends, associates, but it’s not the same as having someone who will not leave. It’s not the same as having someone whom you know has an eye on you, is watching you the whole time.

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Jan 29
Connor W (Jan 29 2021 8:40AM) : Better together more

Morrie basically says that he could not survive without his family. He is stronger because of his family.

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Jan 29
Aron G (Jan 29 2021 1:58PM) : agreed more

And most people are stronger because of their family. It’s the morphine we need and want

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Jan 29
Colleen O (Jan 29 2021 1:48PM) : Blood family vs family more

Family doesn’t necessarily mean the one your born into. It could also be a close group of friends or a group who’s cared for you. That bonded group of people that sticks around, and checks on you is family. It could be blood family, since most people have a strong relationship with their family. Yet, some people have a negative relationship with their family, which leads to creating one from your closest friends. Not just friends who visit, but those who actually stay to help you, and check in on you every step of whatever path or issue you deal with.

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“This is part of what a family is about, not just love, but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out for them. It’s what I missed so much when my mother died—what I call your ‘spiritual security’—knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame.”

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Feb 5
Anna H (Feb 05 2021 3:05PM) : Family more

I think that since Morie is growing older he is relizing how much he will miss spending time with his family. Family is so important, they are they people that keep you afloat in life. They love you unconditionally no matter what. I think Morie is coming to the understanding that he does not have much longer with them so he is trying to make the most of his time.

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Jan 29
Kali M (Jan 29 2021 1:54PM) : Importance of Family. more

This quote represents the true meaning behind family. Although it is about love, it is much more than just love, “but letting others know there’s someone who is watching out for them.” I feel that sometimes there is a misconception with this. For example there is so much security in the feeling of perhaps having a bad day at school or work, but going home and having the support from home. Family is so much more important than love. Family is support and care, which in human nature, this is what we want and desire.

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Jan 29
Devonny W (Jan 29 2021 1:56PM) : Family when you need them most. more

I think Morrie getting closer to death makes him realize the importance of his family. He is clearly lonely, but seeing his children saddens him because he knows he will be leaving them soon. In a way it seems like Morrie is living through Mitch

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Jan 29
Reese G (Jan 29 2021 1:51PM) : Family more

Morrie is lecturing Mitch about the love your family is able to give you. The love and security from your family is never going to be found in money or fame. Your family should be far more cherished than the materialistic things.

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Jan 29
Avery E (Jan 29 2021 1:38PM) : "Nothing else will give you that." more

Family is something so many people take for granted. Morrie has continuously recognized how different his mindset would be if he did not have a family. Like “A bird with broken wings.” More people need to recognize the importance of having people that will never leave your side. They’re there for a reason.

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He shot me a look.

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“Not work,” he added.

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Jan 29
Daniel M (Jan 29 2021 1:39PM) : The callback to work. more

Morrie consistently calls back to how hard and often Mitch is working, calling to how there are more important things than success at work and making money. I find it interesting how Morrie touches on Mitch’s extensive work as he is forgetting family and friends, until it seems too late, when he turns to Morrie in his final stages.

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Raising a family was one of those issues on my little list—things you want to get right before it’s too late. I told Morrie about my generation’s dilemma with having children, how we often saw them as tying us down, making us into these “parent” things that we did not want to be. I admitted to some of these emotions myself.

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Yet when I looked at Morrie, I wondered if I were in his shoes, about to die, and I had no family, no children, would the emptiness be unbearable? He had raised his two sons to be loving and caring, and like Morrie, they were not shy with their affection. Had he so desired, they would have stopped what they were doing to be with their father every minute of his final months. But that was not what he wanted.

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Jan 29
Joseph L (Jan 29 2021 9:00AM) : Family is important more

In this paragraph Mitch wonders if he was in Morries shoes would he feel an unbearable amount of emptiness because he has no kids or wife. This is why I think family is very important not only for a feeling of company but for lots of mental and emotional health as well.

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Jan 29
Kennedy F (Jan 29 2021 12:21PM) : I agree more

I agree with Joe I think that family is very important in life, and we don’t realize it until it’s almost too late. I also that that people often worry about whether they will die alone, too.

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“Do not stop your lives,” he told them. “Otherwise, this disease will have ruined three of us instead of one.” In this way, even as he was dying, he showed respect for his children’s worlds. Little wonder that when they sat with him, there was a waterfall of affection, lots of kisses and jokes and crouching by the side of the bed, holding hands.

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Jan 29
K B
(Jan 29 2021 1:45PM) : Respect for his kids more

Morrie’s respect for his children and wanting for them to keep their lives moving whilst he is barred to his house shows just how much he loves them.

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Jan 29
Branden N (Jan 29 2021 3:00PM) : Live Life to the Fullest more

No matter what is going on in your life, it could always be worse. Morrie is going through pain that most of us couldn’t imagine, but his kids being there is helping him so much. He is repaying them by reassuring them that they can still live their lives while helping him.

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“Whenever people ask me about having children or not having children, I never tell them what to do,” Morrie said now, looking at a photo of his oldest son. “I simply say, ‘There is no experience like having children.’ That’s all. There is no substitute for it. You cannot do it with a friend. You cannot do it with a lover. If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn how to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children.”

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Jan 29
Colin K (Jan 29 2021 8:36AM) : Line 99 more

I like how Morrie keeps it simple when talking about having children. Having children must be such a unique feeling that I’m sure every parent cherishes forever and won’t forget.

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Jan 29
Avery E (Jan 29 2021 1:28PM) : Nothing like having kids more

I enjoyed reading this paragraph specifically because it’s so neutral when talking about something that many people would describe as the best experience of their life. Having kids is not for everyone, and it especially isn’t an easy decision for a lot of people. Morrie replies by saying “There’s nothing like it.” I find this to be very authentic because having kids is certainly an experience that you cannot get any other way. We can see Morrie get emotional here as we continue reading, understandably.

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So you would do it again? I asked.

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I glanced at the photo. Rob was kissing Morrie on the forehead, and Morrie was laughing with his eyes closed.

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“Would I do it again?” he said to me, looking surprised. “Mitch, I would not have missed that experience for anything. Even though … “

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Jan 29
Matteo D (Jan 29 2021 1:40PM) : Morrie And His Children more

Morrie is asked about having children again, to which he responds by showing extreme passion about parenting. However, for one of the first times Morrie shows pity, however not for himself. He is upset because he doesn’t not want to burden his children with the grief from his death.

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He swallowed and put the picture in his lap.

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“Even though there is a painful price to pay,” he said. Because you’ll be leaving them. “Because I’ll be leaving them soon.”

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Jan 29
Belle G (Jan 29 2021 8:35AM) : Morrie talking about having children more

Even though in this section Morrie is talking about life, love, and family, he still ties it to death because it is inevitable in life.

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Jan 29
R S
(Jan 29 2021 1:46PM) : The Pain No One Mentions more

When someone starts a family, the painful thought of them leaving rarely comes up. You don’t have a baby and think, “I am going to love and nurture this child till the end of time, and one day, one of use will leave and the other will be struck with overwhelming emotions.” It is just not what happens, and yet, in the back of our minds, unspoken, the knowledge is there. The memories and joy are worth the pain, so silent the thought stays.

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He pulled his lips together, closed his eyes, and I watched the first teardrop fall down the side of his cheek.

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Jan 29
Kinsey H (Jan 29 2021 8:34AM) : The Importance of Family more

In this section of the book, Mitch and Morrie talk about their family. Mitch is asking Morrie all these questions about his family and his life in the past living with them, then Morrie turns the questions onto Mitch who gives us flashbacks of his childhood with his family. We hear about his brother and how far apart they have drifted which shows the importance of family. I thought this was a really important line in the book because Morrie begins to cry thinking about his children and how he will be leaving them soon.

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“And now,” he whispered, “you talk.”

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Jan 29
Lucas D (Jan 29 2021 8:31AM) : Morrie knew... more

Morrie always knew what would hit Mitch, in terms of an emotional space. Every time Morrie attempts to dig deeper into Mitch’s life, it is because he feels that Mitch could use some help, or simply just time dedicated to pondering a certain subject. I find Morrie’s ability to spot these weaknesses or areas of focus extremely symbolic and interesting.

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Me?

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“Your family. I know about your parents. I met them, years ago, at graduation. You have a sister, too, right?” Yes, I said.

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“Older, yes?” Older.

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“And one brother, right?” I nodded. “Younger?”

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Younger.

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“Like me,” Morrie said. “I have a younger brother.” Like you, I said.

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“He also came to your graduation, didn’t he?”

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I blinked, and in my mind I saw us all there, sixteen years earlier, the hot sun, the blue robes, squinting as we put our arms around each other and posed for Instamatic photos, someone saying, “One, two, threeee … “

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“What is it?” Morrie said, noticing my sudden quiet. “What’s on your mind?”

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Nothing, I said, changing the subject.

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Jan 29
Addyson D (Jan 29 2021 8:12PM) : Furthering previous statements more

When Morrie begins to mention family, specifically Mitch’s younger brother, Mitch gets quiet. He changes the subject, which may suggest that the subject of family makes him uncomfortable. This furthers what I had inferred in Paragraph 86, sentence 3.

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The truth is, I do indeed have a brother, a blondhaired, hazel-eyed, two-years-younger brother, who looks so unlike me or my dark-haired sister that we used to tease him by claiming strangers had left him as a baby on our doorstep. “And one day,” we’d say, “they’re coming back to get you.” He cried when we said this, but we said it just the same.

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Jan 29
Rosie G (Jan 29 2021 8:38AM) : Similar family views more

In a similar way, my siblings used to mock each other about our different looks and personalities that varied greatly. However, even from a difference of outward appearance, family should be there for you, especially in crucial life-changing moments, such as Morrie’s children being there for him

He grew up the way many youngest children grow up, pampered, adored, and inwardly tortured. He dreamed of being an actor or a singer; he reenacted TV shows at the dinner table, playing every part, his bright smile practically jumping through his lips. I was the good student, he was the bad; I was obedient, he broke the rules; I stayed away from drugs and alcohol, he tried everything you could ingest. He moved to Europe not long after high school, preferring the more casual lifestyle he found there. Yet he remained the family favorite. When he visited home, in his wild and funny presence, I often felt stiff and conservative.

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Jan 29
R S
(Jan 29 2021 1:51PM) : Jealousy more

Jealousy can be a hateful emotion if it is let free, turning one against another. Maybe this jealousy is what caused Mitch such over whelming guilt later in life when his brother got sick. The private jealousy that he couldn’t control, but now, how can you be jealous and angry of a sick person?

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As different as we were, I reasoned that our fates would shoot in opposite directions once we hit adulthood. I was right in all ways but one. From the day my uncle died, I believed that I would suffer a similar death, an untimely disease that would take me out. So I worked at a feverish pace, and I braced myself for cancer. I could feel its breath. I knew it was coming. I waited for it the way a condemned man waits for the executioner.

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And I was right. It came.

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But it missed me.

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It struck my brother.

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The same type of cancer as my uncle. The pancreas. A rare form. And so the youngest of our family, with the blond hair and the hazel eyes, had the chemotherapy and the radiation. His hair fell out, his face went gaunt as a skeleton. It’s supposed to be me, I thought. But my brother was not me, and he was not my uncle. He was a fighter, and had been since his youngest days, when we wrestled in the basement and he actually bit through my shoe until I screamed in pain and let him go.

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Jan 29
Emily W (Jan 29 2021 8:38AM) : Guilt more

It’s odd that his brother and uncle got the same type of rare cancer. I also find it odd that Mitch always felt the cancer coming and thought it should be him. It seems like he feels guilty that his brother got the cancer and not him.

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Jan 29
Avery E (Jan 29 2021 1:44PM) : Reply to Emily W., more

I noticed this as well. It’s interesting, makes me wonder if its hereditary is some way. I have also heard pancreatic cancer is one of the absolute worse cancers to get. It is very aggressive, generally very deadly.

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Jacy S (Feb 01 2021 8:25AM) : Cancer more

You can really see that Mitch felt a lot of guilt when his family found out his brother had pancreatic cancer. Especially when he had convinced himself for years that it would be himself. How could you not feel guilt? Well, to me that answer would be that we can’t know what is to come. As people, there is no way he could have know he was going to have cancer or any deadly disease.

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And so he fought back. He battled the disease in Spain, where he lived, with the aid of an experimental drug that was not—and still is not—available in the United States. He flew all over Europe for treatments. After five years of treatment, the drug appeared to chase the cancer into remission.

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That was the good news. The bad news was, my brother did not want me around—not me, nor anyone in the family. Much as we tried to call and visit, he held us at bay, insisting this fight was something he needed to do by himself. Months would pass without a word from him. Messages on his answering machine would go without reply. I was ripped with guilt for what I felt I should be doing for him and fueled with anger for his denying us the right to do it.

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Jan 29
Isabel O (Jan 29 2021 1:44PM) : Being alone more

Although Morrie needed his family by his side while he was dying, Mitch’s brother did not feel the same way. Mitch’s brother did not want to be with nor speak to his family during his battle with cancer. Even though this may seem odd to many people, I can see where he is coming from. Sometimes being alone during hard times can help to figure out your feelings. Although family is always good to have by your side, some alone time can also benefit.

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Jan 29
Grant M (Jan 29 2021 8:31AM) : Family more

It was interesting that his brother did not want any of his family around to help him through this tough, while Morrie said family was the only reason he has gotten through his past years with the disease.

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So once again, I dove into work. I worked because I could control it. I worked because work was sensible and responsive. And each time I would call my brother’s apartment in

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Jan 29
Flora C (Jan 29 2021 8:36AM) : Control [Edited] more

I feel as if this paragraph gives us a glimpse of why Mitch may work so much. Afraid of not being in control and afraid of change, but work allows him to be in control.

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Spain and get the answering machine—him speaking in Spanish, another sign of how far apart we had drifted—I would hang up and work some more.

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Perhaps this is one reason I was drawn to Morrie. He let me be where my brother would not.

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Jan 29
Emme R (Jan 29 2021 8:35AM) : Filling the Void more

I feel that people, especially in regards to family, will often try to seek attention and companionship in certain figures that embody those that they’ve lost. For example, Morrie is a companion, a family figure that the author talks to and connects with like one would with a brother. The author’s brother is not around, so the void must be filled somehow.

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Jan 29
Brianna B (Jan 29 2021 8:58AM) : The Relationship Between Morrie and Mitch more

This is interesting to me because it states perhaps the reason Morrie and Mitch are great friends is because of the void in Mitch’s life where his relationship with brother was. In a sense, Morrie was the brother Mitch never had.

Looking back, perhaps Morrie knew this all along.

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Jan 29
Grace C (Jan 29 2021 11:41PM) : Morrie's intentions more

I think Morrie asked Mitch about his relationship with his family because he wanted him to see the importance the way that he does. He wanted Mitch to know not to push people away when they were dying and to accept all the love that people want to give before you go. I also think Morrie wanted to let Mitch be there because his brother didn’t want him there.

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It is a winter in my childhood, on a snow packed hill in our suburban neighborhood. My brother and I are on the sled, him on top, me on the bottom. I feel his chin on my shoulder and his feet on the backs of my knees.

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The sled rumbles on icy patches beneath us. We pick up speed as we descend the hill.

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“CAR!” someone yells.

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We see it coming, down the street to our left. We scream and try to steer away, but the runners do not move. The driver slams his horn and hits his brakes, and we do what all kids do: we jump off. In our hooded parkas, we roll like logs down the cold, wet snow, thinking the next thing to touch us will be the hard rubber of a car tire. We are yelling

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“AHHHHHH” and we are tingling with fear, turning over and over, the world upside down, right side up, upside down.

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And then, nothing. We stop rolling and catch our breath and wipe the dripping snow from our faces. The driver turns down the street, wagging his finger. We are safe. Our sled has thudded quietly into a snowbank, and ourfriends are slapping us now, saying “Cool” and “You could have died.”

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I grin at my brother, and we are united by childish pride. That wasn’t so hard, we think, and we are ready to take on death again.

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Jan 29
Jackie S (Jan 29 2021 1:46PM) : Kids and Death more

Children have a sense of immortality. There’s no fear, no embarrassment, only pure unbridled joy. I’m not sure if children don’t fear dying because they don’t understand or if there are just more important things to do. This memory seems to be happy and sad for Mitch because he doesn’t speak to his brother anymore. This memory is included because it reminds Mitch of the good times with his brother, when cancer and jobs didn’t matter. Mitch piled up a lot of worry over things he shouldn’t have, maybe he would be happier if he didn’t.

The Sixth Tuesday We Talk About Emotions

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I walked past the mountain laurels and the Japanese maple, up the bluestone steps of

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Morrie’s house. The white rain gutter hung like a lid over the doorway. I rang the bell and was greeted not by Connie but by Morrie’s wife, Charlotte, a beautiful gray-haired woman who spoke in a lilting voice. She was not often at home when I came by—she continued working at MIT, as Morrie wished—and I was surprised this morning to see her.

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“Morrie’s having a bit of a hard time today,” she said. She stared over my shoulder for a moment, then moved toward the kitchen.

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I’m sorry, I said.

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“No, no, he’ll be happy to see you,” she said quickly. “Sure …”

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She stopped in the middle of the sentence, turning her head slightly, listening for something. Then she continued. “I’m sure … he’ll feel better when he knows you’re here.”

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I lifted up the bags from the market—my normal food supply, I said jokingly—and she seemed to smile and fret at the same time.

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“There’s already so much food. He hasn’t eaten any from last time.”

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This took me by surprise. He hasn’t eaten any, I asked?

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She opened the refrigerator and I saw familiar containers of chicken salad, vermicelli, vegetables, stuffed squash, all things I had brought for Morrie. She opened the freezer and there was even more.

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“Morrie can’t eat most of this food. It’s too hard for him to swallow. He has to eat soft things and liquid drinks now.”

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But he never said anything, I said.

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Jan 29
Jordyn H (Jan 29 2021 2:05PM) : Why Morrie never said anything about the food. more

I feel like Morrie didn’t say anything about the food Mitch was bringing because he wanted Mitch to feel like he was helping Morrie in some way other than just talking to him. Even though Morrie knows that coming to visit him every Tuesday was enough.

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Jan 29
Daniel M (Jan 29 2021 2:06PM) : Morrie's Silence more

I found it intriguing that Morre, who has been speaking of accepting death and his current condition, is hiding how bad it is getting from Mitch. Mitch can tell physically what is going on, but isn’t there enough to notice the details, yet Morrie doesn’t tell him these details despite how worried Mitch is for Morrie.

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Charlotte smiled. “He doesn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

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It wouldn’t have hurt my feelings. I just wanted to help in some way. I mean, I just wanted to bring him something …

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“You are bringing him something. He looks forward to your visits. He talks about having to do this project with you, how he has to concentrate and put the time aside. I think it’s giving him a good sense of purpose …”

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Jan 29
Tavian S (Jan 29 2021 11:43AM) : Morrie and Mitch more

I think this paragraph is important because it shows that even with all that is happening with Morrie and the events in his life, he is still happy to sit down with Mitch and spend their time together while also enjoying it. I think this is something that maybe some people today need to learn. Selflessness and consideration

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Jan 29
Avery E (Jan 29 2021 2:07PM) : Reassurance more

Sometimes someone’s presence is all someone can ask for. Especially those who are reaching the end. She reassured him by saying “You ARE bringing him something. He looks forward to your visits.” The thought is what counts, that’s enough.

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Jan 29
mia p (Jan 29 2021 11:50AM) : purpose more

Morrie has purpose when family is around. Family has a very big impact on your life rather you know it or not. It’s important to surrond yourself with ones that you love and care for.

Again, she gave that faraway look, the tuning-in-something-from-somewhere-else. I knew Morrie’s nights were becoming difficult, that he didn’t sleep through them, and that meant Charlotte often did not sleep through them either. Sometimes Morrie would lie awake coughing for hours—it would take that long to get the phlegm from his throat.

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Jan 29
Paul H (Jan 29 2021 11:51AM) : Charlotte Schwartz more

Morrie’s wife takes a very minor roll in the “reporting” of the book, but her role in real life would have to be imagined to have been more than supportive. She would take the lead in Morrie’s care often giving up her time with her beloved so that he could give more time to those who wanted to interact with him. As an older adult,I see this as a partner’s commitment to the continuance of their loved one’s life. I wanted to take a moment to center Charlotte for her bravery and her selflessness in this situation. We only see Charlotte a time or two in the reading.

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There were health care workers now staying through the night and all those visitors during the day, former students, fellow professors, meditation teachers, tramping in and out of the house. On some days, Morrie had a half a dozen visitors, and they were often there when Charlotte returned from work. She handled it with patience, even though all these outsiders were soaking up her precious minutes with Morrie.

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Jan 29
Riley W (Jan 29 2021 2:14PM) : sadness more

I think that all these visitors are taking a toll on Charlotte she seems to be having a hard time trying to help Morrie and his visitors while she still goes to work i’m sure she would just like to keep Morrie to herself be with him in his final days

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Jan 29
Jackie S (Jan 29 2021 2:07PM) : Sympathy for Charlotte more

It is clear in these lines that Charlotte misses being alone with her husband. Morrie is dying, but is constantly surrounded by people. She doesn’t say anything though because she loves him and thinks it gives him purpose. Morrie is such a tender person and I doubt he would push people away even if he wanted too. Soon he won’t be able to speak so Charlotte sacrifices her own time so he can share with others. If Morrie didn’t have a sense of purpose I think he would be lost. The best way he knows how to deal with dying is to share his ideas with others.

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Jan 29
Braxton S (Jan 29 2021 2:27PM) : Selfless more

I believe Charlotte is being selfless by allowing other visitors to come visit Morrie,taking away her time to stick by him, and say goodbye. She understandably is heartbroken that her husband is dying and that she wants to stay by his side until he passes, but there are others who were close friends, family, and other close people who want to meet with Morrie in private too.

“… a sense of purpose,” she continued. “Yes. That’s good, you know.”

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Jan 29
Ethan N (Jan 29 2021 11:47AM) : Purpose more

I agree with Charlotte here, as without a feeling of purpose, what are we living for. Finding a purpose is something that people often struggle with. Purpose can be defined as many things, from a job, to your family, to your religion, purpose is what drives a person to keep going, just like Morrie’s purpose is to help Mitch.

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“I hope so,” I said.

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I helped put the new food inside the refrigerator. The kitchen counter had all kinds of notes, messages, information, medical instructions. The table held more pill bottles than ever—Selestone for his asthma, Ativan to help him sleep, naproxen for infections— along with a powdered milk mix and laxatives. From down the hall, we heard the sound of a door open.

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“Maybe he’s available now … let me go check.”

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Charlotte glanced again at my food and I felt suddenly ashamed. All these reminders of things Morrie would never enjoy.

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The small horrors of his illness were growing, and when I finally sat down with Morrie, he was coughing more than usual, a dry, dusty cough that shook his chest and made his head jerk forward. After one violent surge, he stopped, closed his eyes, and took a breath. I sat quietly because I thought he was recovering from his exertion.

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“Is the tape on?” he said suddenly, his eyes still closed.

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Jan 29
K B
(Jan 29 2021 2:05PM) : Morrie's ready to go more

Morrie’s go-get-it attitude is evident here, as even before he opens his eyes, he’s ready to talk with Mitch.

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Jan 29
Austin D (Jan 29 2021 2:07PM) : Determination more

Morrie shows determination to continue on and talk about life’s hardships even though his body has been slowly dying throughout the whole duration of Mitch’s visits.

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Yes, yes, I quickly said, pressing down the play and record buttons.

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“What I’m doing now,” he continued, his eyes still closed, “is detaching myself from the experience.”

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