Chapter 9 Summary
In “The Second Tuesday: We Talk About Feeling Sorry for Yourself,” Morrie explains how he deals with the daily reminder that he is dying. The ALS is accelerating, and Albom reminds himself that he only has a little time left with his mentor. Now Morrie no longer sits in the dining room. Instead, he spends most of his time in a recliner in his study. When he needs to use the washroom, he rings a bell to summon one of his four nurses. Albom lifts his professor from the wheelchair into the recliner and notices that Morrie is no longer able to even hold onto the person helping him. Albom wonders how Morrie can deal with such difficulties. The professor explains that the morning is his time of mourning. He feels for parts of his body that are no longer under his control and allows himself to feel sorry. He explains that he lets himself cry if he needs to, but otherwise he goes on with his day. He feels lucky to be able to have so much time to die and to say goodbye to his loved ones.
Albom considers his own life. His newspaper union in Detroit is still on strike and the conflict between the workers and the owners is turning ugly. In Boston, newspapers are reporting stories about girls who murder seniors and then throw parties with the corpse on display. Everywhere he looks, Albom finds misery and people who feel sorry for themselves. He wonders what the world would be like if people only allowed themselves to feel self-pity for a set amount of time each day. However, when he is with Morrie, he finds life refreshing, as though he is shedding all the negativity of the outside world while sitting with his dying professor. Albom is flying several hundred miles each week to sit with his professor, but he feels that it is worth it.
Albom reflects on his time in college with Morrie. In this chapter he explains the dynamics of a class called “Group Process.” The class is meant to study how people interact with each other, but the young Mitch Albom finds it mostly “touchy-feely.” His professor encourages him to be more open-minded and goes on to lead an experiment meant to illustrate how trust is formed. The students are asked to fall backward into the arms of their partner. The first girl closes her eyes before she falls, and Morrie points out that being able to trust people means feeling that you can count on them even when you are in the dark.