There was a long letter from a former graduate student who wrote about her life after the university. The chapter then talks about Morrie receiving and answering various letters from people who saw him in his shows. He was a religious mutt, which made him even more open to the students he taught over the years. Like I said, no one really believes they're going to die. When you realize you are going to die, you see everything much differently. This is happening in the past, several years before Mitch reconnects with Morrie.
Lives that have not found meaning. Morrie and Mitch talk about their culture. The voice on the tape will become a personified version of Morrie long after he is gone. I look out that window every day. Notice that Mitch wants to perform his familial duty and help his brother, like Morrie would've wanted, well before Morrie and Mitch have their conversation about family. He finds the first job available, a sports writer, and writes about famous athletes.
The bird itself is symbolic of Morrie's consciousness that his death is fast approaching, and his readiness to accept it when it does arrive. He forgot about all his college friends, and only occasionally thinks about Morrie. He then recalls a memory of him and his brother sledding when they were children. There was a long letter from a former graduate student who wrote about her life after the university. The fact that Peter gets cancer completely offends Mitch's sense of justice and how the world works. He tried to wink, a bad try, and I broke down and laughed. One Sunday when his sons, Rob and Jon, were home, they all gathered in the living room.
Pain and suffering in life is inevitable. The slightest human contact was immediate joy. Am I doing all I need to do? Mitch notes that in the last week, Morrie acquired a portable oxygen machine to use when he has trouble getting enough air to swallow. Morrie dropped his head slightly and curled it toward his shoulder. Media broadcasts, doctor appointments, terrorist threat warnings, cemeteries, and our own bodies remind us of our mortality. Simpson trial were becoming huge celebrities.
Did you think much about death before you got sick, I asked. The subject was death, the first item on my list. Albom flashes back to when he and his brother sled down a hill and nearly get hit by a car. Morrie and Mitch talk about the fear of aging. Mitch mentions Morrie's sons, who are, like Morrie, extremely loving and affectionate, but whom Morrie instructed to not stop their lives to take care of him, showing respect for their autonomous lives. We laugh in the face of death and get away with it. He ran across the desert, looking almost like a road runner.
However, that is not the case. Morrie responds with a Buddhist philosophy that every day, one must ask the bird on his shoulder if that day is the day he will die. There, he can look outside of his window, and though he cannot go outside, he admires the beauty of the seasons and the plant and animal life outdoors. He thanks her graciously, though he does not agree that he is of such revered status. Did you think much about death before you got sick, I asked.
Morrie is in a businesslike mood today, and suggests that they consider the idea that everyone knows they're going to die, but nobody believes it. When he tells Mitch that one must know how to die before one can know how to live, he means that one must accept the possibility of one's own death before he can truly appreciate what he has on earth, as the sobering awareness that one day, it will all be out of reach, prompts the urge to appreciate and value what one can have only for a limited period of time, and to use every moment of that time doing something that one will not regret when the bird sings its last note. They miss the everyday events because they are just going through the motions. If we know, in the end, that we can ultimately have that peace with dying then we can finally do the really hard thing — make peace with the living. Notice too that when confronted, Mitch doesn't become defensive. Morrie is unsure of how to answer her. So, on his next visit, Mitch brings the usual: bags of food for Morrie and him to eat, plus a tape recorder.
As he walked into the house, he noticed that the disease had progressed, that Morrie could not lift his arms past his chest. It was small and portable, about knee-high. He had recently had one so terrible that he almost felt as if he was going to die. Despite Albom's modest intentions, however, the book exploded onto the scene. Do I know how to compromise? Example: Hot as the sun. Albom describes how he loves the way Morrie greets him upon his entrance.