Chapter 11 Summary
In “The Audiovisual, Part Two,” Ted Koppel from the television program Nightline returns to talk to Morrie. The first episode had gone so well that the producers decided to do a second program. This time, the process is different. Koppel and Morrie are warmer and do not need to check each other out before the interview. They begin talking to each other about their childhoods before moving on to more dire topics.
Koppel comments that Morrie is looking much the same as he did during their first meeting. However, Morrie explains that he is getting worse however much he might look and sound the same. In their previous interview, Morrie explained that he dreaded having to need someone to “wipe [his] ass” because it would make him dependent. However, he has since made his peace with this and now dreads losing control of his hands and his voice. He suggests that losing the ability to swallow would be minor in comparison because he could still be fed through a tube, but it is by using his hands and his voice—his tools to communicate—that he gives to people. When Koppel asks what Morrie will do after this happens, Morrie, ever the optimist, suggests that he will have people ask him yes-or-no questions. Morrie also shares that his friend of 35 years, Maurie Stein (who collected his aphorisms and passed them on to the Boston Globe), is now going deaf. When Koppel asks how they will eventually communicate—with one person deaf and the other mute—Morrie says they will hold hands because a friendship of such depth expresses love without words. Morrie admits that there are times when he feels despair, but his relationships make him feel happy.
Since their first interview, Morrie has received a great deal of mail. One of the letters came from a teacher in Pennsylvania who has nine students who have all lost parents. Morrie reads from his response, in which he shares his experience of losing his mother at a young age, but he breaks down in tears. When asked whether he still feels so much pain after nearly seventy years without her, Morrie says that he does: although Morrie’s response to his illness is brave and of value, death is not a trivial part of life.