Chapter 24 Summary
Morrie has begun talking to his Rabbi and family about how to deal with his remains. Morrie has determined that he would like to be cremated, though he jokes that he does not want to be overcooked. The Rabbi is shocked, but Albom interprets this joke as evidence that Morrie had come to identify primarily with his spirit and perceive that his body is just a container. Morrie and Albom go on to discuss how people are scared to look at corpses, almost to the point that you would think they were contagious. As evidence, Morrie points out that in hospitals, after people die, the bodies are quickly covered in a sheet, wheeled away, and sent down a chute. Morrie explains that death should be viewed as a natural part of life.
Morrie shares an experience from the previous night in which he had nearly coughed to death. Rather than feeling horror, he felt at peace once he realized that he felt that he could cross a bridge to another reality. Morrie explains that all people want to reach a point where they feel that they are at peace with death. Morrie argues that if people can make peace with the fact that they will die, then they can move on to the realization that all of the love they created in life will remain after they die. He concludes that “death ends a life, not a relationship.”
A recent drug has been developed to alleviate, if not cure, ALS, but it will not be in place soon enough to save Morrie. However, it prompts Albom to ask what Morrie would do if he had twenty-four hours of perfect health, or a “perfect day.” After a moment’s thought, Morrie determines that he would do his exercises, eat well, swim, and spend time exchanging sentiments with his friends. At first it strikes Albom as a painfully average day, but he afterward realizes that this is exactly the point Morrie is trying to make. In these simple pursuits, true happiness can be found. The obsession with wealth and success are not part of Morrie’s vision for happiness.
Their last discussion of the day refers to Albom’s brother, who is battling pancreatic cancer. Albom and his brother are not as close as Albom would like. Morrie explains that Albom needs to respect his brother’s space and that relationships need to be negotiated. However, he encourages Albom to find a way to reach his brother.
The final anecdote briefly presents a story about a wave that is afraid to crash into the ocean—only to realize that it is already a part of the ocean.