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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How does Morrie in Tuesdays With Morrie accept death?

Quick answer:

Morrie accepts death as an inevitable part of the human experience. He refuses to be embarrassed by the process of dying, choosing to live his final days with dignity and composure. He believes that learning how to die is a great lesson in learning how to live.

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Morrie accepts death as being inevitable, yet he determines to focus on living as he goes through the dying process. In an interview with Ted Koppel, Morrie explains that when he first received the fatal diagnosis, he wasn't sure how he would approach death. He decided against withdrawing from the world and resolved to "live—or at least try to live—the way [he wanted], with dignity, with courage, with humor, with composure." He clarifies that he isn't superhuman and has days when he awakens in a sea of self-pity. However, when the tears subside, he recommits himself to living.

On the fourth Tuesday with Mitch, Morrie explains that most people realize that they will die eventually, but no one really believes it. He insists that if people truly believed that life would one day end, they would make different choices. In his own acceptance of death, Morrie believes that he better understands how to live life:

Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.

Before he got sick, Morrie confesses that he was much like everyone else—too busy with the countless details of living to give much thought to dying. Yet by being forced to confront death, Morrie has been gifted with a new perspective and is better able to judge what is truly important in life. For example, he notices the slight changes in color in the trees outside his window. He notices how much the wind is blowing. He feels as though he can see "time actually passing through [his] windowpane."

Finally, Morrie sees death as a uniting force of mankind. Regardless of race, religion, or other differences, everyone has the same beginning and end. Morrie believes that if people could accept that we are all very much alike in the things that matter, such as death, we would care about each other more. In accepting his own death, Morrie advises Mitch to "invest in the human family."

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