illustration of author Mitch Albom sitting next to Morrie Schwartz, who is lying in a bed

Tuesdays With Morrie

by Mitch Albom

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Morris (Morrie) Schwartz died on November 4, a Saturday morning. His family had all managed to return to see and be with him during his last days. His son Rob had to travel from Tokyo, but he did, which is a testament to the closeness of Morrie’s family. When all of the family members briefly left his room—for a coffee and for the first time in days—Morrie stopped breathing and passed on. Albom suggests that Morrie died this way intentionally so that no one would have to witness his final moments in the way he had been forced to deliver his mother’s death-notice telegram as a child. Although Morrie had feared he would die horribly, he was fortunate enough to pass serenely.

At the start of Tuesdays With Morrie, Albom explains that the “graduation” of Morrie’s last course was his funeral. As Morrie’s ashes were covered with dirt, in the hill within which Morrie had wanted to be buried, Albom found himself recalling Morrie’s instruction to visit his grave—“You talk, I’ll listen.” As Albom tries to do this, he finds that his relationship with Morrie does endure. Albom notes that perhaps one reason their connection endures is because the “graduation” was held on a Tuesday.

As Albom concludes his memoir, he explains that he has overcome some of the personal conflicts that drove him to seek out Morrie. The conflicts are not material or related to the Detroit Free Press writers’ strike. Albom has largely overcome the difficulties he has with emotions that prevent him from engaging in his life and in his relationships. It seems that with his graduation complete, he has managed to learn “life’s greatest lesson,” which is about the importance of love and relationships. Albom explains how he reaches out to his brother, who is battling cancer in Spain. Albom expresses his desire to be closer to his brother so he can “hold him in my life as much as he could let me.” His brother responds by fax with a note that is written with humor and anecdotes.

The final paragraphs in Tuesdays With Morrie explain that the memoir was actually Morrie’s idea. The advance on the text allowed Morrie to pay his extensive medical bills. However, the book also allows Morrie’s teachings on the meaning of life to continue after his death. The novel closes with a reference to the ongoing impact of Morrie’s wisdom represented in Tuesdays With Morrie. In Albom’s words, “the teaching goes on.”

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