The book Tuesdays with Morrie has been written by American author Mitch Albom, and was first published in 1997. This novel is a memoir of Mitch Albom, based on the life reflections of a dying man – Prof Morrie Schwartz, a sociology professor. The book was listed by New York Times as a Non-Fiction Bestseller in the year 2000. This book is based on the true story of Morrie, who was the favourite teacher of Mitch. In 1994 Morrie was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also called as Lou Gehrig’s disease which is an illness of the neurological system, which has no cure and leaves human body disabled and unable to move, starting from the legs and slowly moving upwards until it paralyses the whole body. Doctors believed that Morrie could survive to a maximum of two years. Morrie instead of wailing over his ailing health decided to make his death his final project – a human textbook.
Morrie was Mitch’s favourite teacher and mentor who taught social psychology at Brandies University and Mitch Albom starts this story in 1979, when he was a student. For Mitch, Morrie was an admiration, a friend and a father figure. At Mitch’s graduation he introduces Morrie to his parents and promises that he will stay in touch with him. Mitch settled in Detroit (a city in US state of Michigan). He had always wanted to be a musician but he couldn’t make it. Being an unsuccessful musician, he studied journalism and became a successful sports journalist. He lost contact with all people including Prof Morrie. He had bought property and married a woman during these years.
In 1995, after sixteen years of his graduation, Mitch came to know about the health of Morrie through an interview of him with Ted Koppel on ABC’s Nightline. He decided to reconnect with him in his final days.
Mitch travels to Morrie’s house. After 16 years they meet again. He freezes while Morrie hugs him and says “You have come back at last”. Morrie is now an old man, completely paralysed, dependent and week. It is where their last classes begun and it is about the meaning of life.
Mitch begins visiting Morrie every Tuesday. They decided these talks should be held in a class, although Mitch is the only student.
On the first Tuesday, they talked about the world. Morrie tells Mitch that he feels the pain and sufferings of the world. It is his own sufferings that make him close to people who suffer. For Morrie the most important thing in life is to learn how to give love and to let it come in.
On the second Tuesday, he talked about feeling sorry for himself. He feels human beings should put a limit to self-pity.
On the third Tuesday, they talked about regrets. According to Morrie, human beings are lost in egotistic things due to which they don’t get into the habit of standing back and looking at their lives. We miss something very important and that is the “real we”, he says. Morrie had lost his mother when he was eight years old. He lived a poor life with his father and brother. His father has died of heart attack. He had worked at different places which had moulded his personality in that form.
On the fourth Tuesday, he talked about death. “Everyone knows they are going to die, but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.” “Once we know how to die, we learn how to live.” If human beings accept death, they might have some room for spiritual things.
On the fifth Tuesday, he talked about family, importance of a family, how it gives spiritual security to a person. He says, “Love each other or perish”.
On the sixth and seventh Tuesday, he talked about emotions and aging. We should show emotions that we are supposed to show. He says aging is not decay, it is growth. One who is happy with this process is actually satisfied and lives a meaningful life.
They talked about money on the eighth Tuesday. Material things can’t be a substitute for love, gentleness, tenderness or for a sense of comradeship. We should do things that come straight from our heart. We should devote ourselves to loving others, our community, creating something that gives us meaning and happiness in life.
They talked about how love goes on and marriage on the ninth and tenth Tuesdays. Morrie feels that for a successful marriage a couple needs to respect each other, learn to compromise, talk with each other.
On the last three Tuesdays, they talked about culture, forgiveness and the perfect day.
On the 14th Tuesday and their last class, they said goodbye. Morrie was not doing well. His final days had arrived. He had been imprisoned in his chair, put on oxygen, unable to move any of his body parts, and coughing continuously. He was in bed and Morrie used to say, “When you are in bed, you are dead”. He made Mitch cry.
On Saturday morning Morrie died. These Tuesdays changed Mitch’s life. After Morrie’s death he reconnected with his brother he had lost touch with. This book thus depicts the pure and warm relationship between a teacher and student. Morrie shares many valuable insights throughout the whole book, like, “Accept the past as past, without denying it or discarding it”, and accept what you are able to do and what you are not able to do. This book certainly makes one melancholic but teaches us life’s greatest lessons including how to live life to its fullest.