header logo
Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie Summary


Here you will find a Tuesdays with Morrie summary (Mitch Albom's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.

P.S.: As an Amazon Associate, we earn money from purchases made through links in this page. But the summaries are totally free!

Last Updated: Monday 1 Jan, 2024

Tuesdays with Morrie Summary Overview

Graduating from Brandeis University in 1979, the storyteller gifts his favorite mentor, Morrie Schwartz, a monogrammed briefcase, promising to maintain contact. This promise, however, is not fulfilled. Years later, Morrie is diagnosed with ALS, a crippling condition that leaves him increasingly immobile, yet mentally alert. Despite this, Morrie’s wife Charlotte continues her professorship at M.I.T, caring for Morrie when not at work. Sixteen years post-graduation, the narrator, dissatisfied with his life and reeling from the loss of his uncle, leaves his unsuccessful music career to become a journalist in Detroit. During a late-night channel surf, he unexpectedly comes across Morrie being interviewed on Nightline. This prompts him to reconnect with Morrie, leading to regular visits to his former professor's home in Massachusetts, despite his demanding job. The subsequent meetings, referred to as "The Meaning of Life" sessions, serve as a profound source of wisdom for the narrator. As Morrie's health deteriorates, the lessons take on a deeper significance. Memories of their past interactions are interwoven with these sessions, underlining the comforting father-son relationship they share. Morrie's influence leads the narrator to question his priorities, rethink his cultural values and strive for personal growth. Alongside this, he also attempts to mend his strained relationship with his brother Peter in Spain, who is battling pancreatic cancer. After Morrie's death, this prophecy is realized, signifying the lasting impact of Morrie's wisdom and the fulfillment of the narrator's promise to maintain their dialogue.

the curriculum

Mitch Albom, the author, shares about his regular Tuesday meetings with his former professor, Morrie. He views these sessions as an extension of his education with Morrie, each being a lesson on life's purpose. These lessons took place in Morrie's home, in his study, with the backdrop of a pink hibiscus plant losing its leaves, a recurring symbol in the book. Mitch recalls that there were no grades or textbooks for this unique course with Morrie. Instead of a graduation, a funeral took place, and Mitch's final project is the book he's writing. A memory takes Mitch back to his graduation day at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. On a warm afternoon in late spring 1979, he, along with hundreds of other students, sat on the campus lawn in blue robes. After getting his diploma, Mitch introduces Morrie, his most loved professor, to his parents. Mitch paints a picture of Morrie as a small, delicate old man with uneven teeth and a warm smile. Morrie praises Mitch to his parents, saying he's a "very special boy," which makes Mitch uncomfortable. Before saying goodbye, Mitch gifts Morrie a personalized tan briefcase, as a keepsake of their bond. Morrie's farewell involves a hug and a reminder to Mitch to stay in touch, a promise Mitch makes. As they part, Mitch sees Morrie wiping away tears.

the syllabus

In 1994, Morrie, a revered sociology professor, received his "death sentence." Previously, he had indulged in his love for dancing at an event called "Dance Free," where he would dance until he was drenched in sweat. However, with the onset of asthma in his sixties, his dancing days came to an end. Further health complications followed, including breathlessness after a chilly gust of wind by the Charles River and a fall down theater stairs. While most dismissed these as signs of aging, Morrie suspected something more sinister, as he was constantly exhausted and had dreams about death. Doctors initially found nothing concerning in his tests but eventually diagnosed him with a neurological disorder through a muscle biopsy. In August 1994, Morrie and his wife, Charlotte, learned that he had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gherig's disease. This incurable disease attacks the nervous system, leading to loss of muscle control. The news was devastating for Morrie. His condition soon deteriorated to the extent that he needed assistance for simple tasks like dressing and undressing, and he eventually had to give up teaching at Brandeis University. Mitch, the narrator, likens ALS to a lit candle, "melts your nerves and leaves your body a pile of wax." According to him, the soul remains conscious even as the body becomes lifeless. Morrie's doctors predicted that his body would fully deteriorate in two years, but Morrie believed it would happen sooner. He decided to make his impending death his final project. The disease progression robbed him of his ability to perform basic tasks independently, but Morrie gradually accepted this reality. After attending a colleague's funeral, he regretted that the dead don't get to hear the praise said at their funerals. Consequently, he organized a "living funeral" for himself, where a woman read a poem about a "tender sequoia" that brought him to tears.

the student

Mitch initially had a close relationship with Morrie but lost contact after graduation. He also grew distant from his old friends and strayed from his previous values and aspirations, which included becoming a renowned pianist. This dream was shattered after several unsuccessful attempts and the death of his beloved uncle, who was his mentor in music and life. His uncle's slow and painful demise due to pancreatic cancer, deeply impacted Mitch, leaving him feeling powerless. Upon his uncle's deathbed request to care for his children, Mitch dismisses the topic. His uncle's death comes soon after, leaving a lasting impact on Mitch's perspective on life. He gains a newfound appreciation for time and believes it should be spent striving for financial success. To avoid the monotonous corporate lifestyle his uncle led, Mitch earns a journalism degree and takes up various freelance jobs, constantly relocating from one city to another. He lands a column for the Detroit Free Press, which brings him wealth and recognition, but he lacks personal fulfillment and leisure time. During this period, Mitch meets Janine, his future wife. They wed after seven years of dating and he assures her that they will start a family. However, he devotes all his time to his work, disregarding Janine and their plans for a family. He discards all mail from his former college, Brandeis University, hence remaining unaware of Morrie's illness until he stumbles upon it while watching television.

the audiovisual

In 1995, Morrie finds himself interviewed by Ted Koppel from ABC-TV's "Nightline," brought about by his feature story in the Boston Globe. A friend of Morrie's had sent the reporter some of Morrie's written philosophies about accepting death, leading to this special visit. Although his ailment has left him wheelchair-bound, Morrie's spirit remains undeterred. The hype around Koppel's presence leaves Morrie unphased. He insists on some personal interaction before beginning the interview, asking Koppel to share something of personal importance. Koppel talks about his children and mentions a quote by Marcus Aurelius. In return, Morrie shares his limited experience of Koppel's show and playfully points out Koppel's narcissistic tendencies, resulting in a shared laugh. Throughout the interview, Morrie remains true to himself, refusing to don makeup or formal attire. He shares with Koppel his desire to face death with dignity, live his remaining days on his terms, and his fear of becoming completely dependent on others. One poignant fear he shares is his worry about the day he will no longer be able to manage his own bathroom needs. This heart-rending interview is seen by Mitch, his former student, leading to their reunion. Mitch recalls his memories from 1976, his first class with Morrie. With the class size being minimal, Mitch debates whether to stay. When Morrie asks him about his preferred name, Mitch is taken aback, never having been asked this by a teacher before. Morrie decides on "Mitch," hoping that they would soon become friends.

the orientation

Mitch arrives at Morrie's house and sees him in a wheelchair, waving eagerly. However, Mitch is on a call with his producer and delays his greeting, a decision he later regrets. When they finally embrace, Mitch is taken aback by Morrie's intense affection and feels like he's no longer the commendable student Morrie once knew. Inside, Morrie's aide, Connie, takes care of their needs. After taking his medication, Morrie poses a profound question for Mitch, asking if he wants to know what it’s like to be dying, thus marking the start of their first lesson. Mitch reminisces about his early college days, recalling how he tried to appear older by wearing an old sweatshirt and carrying an unlit cigarette, despite not smoking. He was drawn to Morrie's gentleness and decided to take another class with him. Morrie was known for his leniency in grading, once giving high grades to students at risk of being drafted for the Vietnam War. Morrie soon became Mitch's "Coach," and the two developed a special bond. They often dined together, and despite Morrie's sloppy eating habits, Mitch wished he could hug him and hand him a napkin.

the classroom

After his "Nightline" feature, Morrie becomes quite known, leading to various visit requests. This causes Mitch to reflect on his past college mates he's lost contact with. He recognizes that he swapped his youthful dreams for financial achievement, yet this doesn't fulfill him. He observes Morrie's struggle to consume his meal and listens as Morrie discusses the unhappiness of his visitors, attributing it to society's influence. Morrie shares his gratitude for experiencing love in his final days, which he considers superior to an unhappy life. Morrie's acceptance of his slow, agonizing demise and absence of self-pity leaves Mitch stunned. The memory of Morrie's future suffocating death due to ALS lingers with Mitch. Morrie advises Mitch to embrace the reality of death, hinting at his life expectancy of under five months. Morrie illustrates his declining health by showing Mitch a breathing exercise his doctor assigned. Mitch manages to count to seventy during exhaling, while Morrie can only make it to eighteen before gasping for air. Morrie's capacity was twenty-three on his first doctor's visit. As the visit concludes, Morrie requests Mitch to assure him of future visits, similar to the promise Mitch made to him sixteen years prior at graduation. Mitch gives his word, trying to dismiss the memory of breaking a similar vow in the past. In a recollection of his university years, Mitch reminisces about Morrie's passion for literature. During one interaction, Mitch shares his confusion about societal expectations versus personal desires. Morrie responds by introducing his concept of the "tension of opposites", signifying life's continuous pull in opposite directions, much like a wrestling match. However, Morrie affirms, love always prevails.

taking attendance

After reconnecting with Morrie, Mitch takes a trip to London for work to report on the Wimbledon tournament. Usually, he indulges in local tabloids, but this time, he's consumed by thoughts of Morrie nearing the end of his life. Mitch reflects on the countless hours he has wasted on trivial activities and yearns to spend his time like Morrie, engaged in pursuits that bring value to his life. Mitch recalls Morrie's advice on rejecting societal norms that don't foster personal growth. Morrie himself has a unique lifestyle, filled with group discussions, friendships, reading, and dancing. He even initiated a project called Greenhouse to serve the underprivileged with mental health services. This comparison makes Mitch realize that unlike Morrie, he has spent the prime years of his life chasing after wealth. After being caught in a frenzy of reporters pursuing tennis star Andre Agassi and his girlfriend, Brooke Shields, Mitch is reminded of Morrie's words about people wasting their lives chasing the wrong things. Mitch has been fixated on amassing wealth, but now, he understands the need to seek love and belonging, which will bring purpose to his life. Upon returning to Detroit, Mitch is hit with news of his newspaper union going on strike, which means his Wimbledon article won't be published and he won't get paid for his hard work in London. Suddenly, he finds himself without employment and purpose. Feeling lost, he contacts Morrie to arrange a meeting the next Tuesday. Mitch then reminisces about his sophomore year in college where he took two classes under Morrie. Their relationship extended beyond the classroom as they met regularly to discuss Mitch's issues and concerns. Morrie would always try to impart valuable life lessons to Mitch, emphasizing that money isn't everything and pushing him to strive for being "fully human." Morrie provided the fatherly guidance Mitch missed from his own dad, who wanted him to become a lawyer—a profession Morrie despises. Morrie rather encourages Mitch to follow his passion for music and continue playing the piano.

the first tuesday

Mitch recalls Morrie's fondness for food, bringing along an assortment of snacks for their first Tuesday meeting. They used to meet on Tuesdays during Mitch's college days, primarily to talk about Mitch's thesis, an idea he credits to Morrie. Their discussions flow seamlessly, much like their old college days. Morrie's caregiver, Connie, assists him when he needs to use the bathroom. Morrie confesses his fear of being completely dependent on others for his personal hygiene, a reality he had previously shared with Ted Koppel during an interview. Morrie seems resigned to this impending inevitability, even expressing a desire to relive the helplessness of infancy. Morrie also shares with Mitch how his impending mortality makes him feel a kinship with all those who are suffering, including strangers he reads about in newspapers, like the civilian casualties in Bosnia. He admits to crying frequently, even for those he has never met. Mitch contrasts himself with Morrie, admitting that he never cries, although Morrie has been nudging him to express his emotions more freely since their college days. Morrie emphasizes the importance of giving and receiving love, quoting Levine: "Love is the only rational act." Mitch is deeply moved by Morrie's wisdom and even kisses him goodbye, a departure from his usual restraint. As they part, Morrie invites Mitch to return the following Tuesday. Mitch's mind drifts back to a sociology class he attended at Brandeis, led by Morrie. Morrie conducts an experiment where he remains silent for fifteen minutes, creating an uncomfortably quiet atmosphere. He breaks the silence by initiating a discussion on the impact of silence on human interactions. Mitch remains silent, uncomfortable with disclosing his feelings. Morrie notices Mitch's discomfort and draws a parallel between Mitch and his younger self, who was also hesitant to express his emotions.

the second tuesday

During his second visit to Morrie, Mitch decides to forego purchasing a mobile phone so as to keep his time with his former professor undisturbed. He's currently jobless due to the ongoing strike at his Detroit-based newspaper office, which has escalated to violence and the hiring of replacement staff. Mitch brings Morrie more food, finding him now confined to his study with a bell nearby for summoning help. Mitch queries if Morrie ever feels self-pity. Morrie admits he does, particularly in the mornings, grieving for the loss of his physical independence. He gives himself permission to cry, but then focuses on the good - the time he has to bid farewell to his loved ones. Morrie is adamant about limiting self-pity, aiming to savor the life he has left. Mitch struggles to grasp Morrie's perspective of luck amidst suffering. While Morrie is assisted in the bathroom by his aide Connie, Mitch reads a Boston newspaper, filled with grim stories of violence. When Morrie returns, Mitch assists him back into his recliner. As Mitch holds Morrie, he is deeply stirred by the palpable sense of mortality in Morrie's frailty. He realizes their remaining time is limited. Mitch remembers a unique class from his junior year in college with Morrie in 1978, dubbed the "Group Process" or "touchy-feely class", which revolved around student interactions. The class often involves emotionally charged activities leading to tears. During a trust fall exercise, a student falls fearlessly, their eyes closed. Morrie interprets this as a metaphor for trust - sometimes, trust requires a leap of faith, guided intuitively rather than logically.

the third tuesday

On a subsequent Tuesday, Mitch arrives with more food and a tape recorder. He worries the device might disturb Morrie, but Morrie is content and eager for Mitch to record his story. Mitch realizes the tape recorder is a medium to preserve Morrie's teachings posthumously. He inquires if Morrie has any regrets. Morrie teaches him how society discourages pondering death and regrets until one's final days. Instead, people should regularly evaluate their lives to identify what's present and what's lacking. This requires guidance, and Mitch acknowledges Morrie as his guide. Mitch aspires to be a diligent student. While flying back to Detroit, he compiles a list of unresolved queries about life and relationships to discuss with Morrie. He brings the list to his next visit. The day is unbearably hot and the airport's air conditioning is broken, leading to visible frustration among the passengers. During Mitch's senior year, Morrie proposed he write an honors thesis. After deliberation, they settle on a topic about America's idolization of sports. By spring, Mitch finishes the thesis and Morrie praises him. Morrie broaches the idea of graduate school, igniting Mitch's "tension of opposites," as he contemplates leaving school but fears the unknown.

the audiovisual part 2

Morrie is interviewed by Ted Koppel once again. Koppel notes that Morrie seems "looks fine," but Morrie points out that only he is truly aware of his daily physical regression, noticeable in his slurred speech. Morrie attributes his positivity to his relationships. He talks about Maurie Stein, a close friend who passed along Morrie's wisdom to a journalist from the Boston Globe. Both having ties to Brandeis University during the early 60's, they share a deep bond. Maurie is now hearing impaired and Morrie's ability to speak is fading. When asked by Koppel how they'll converse, Morrie explains that they will simply hold hands - after 35 years of friendship, words are no longer necessary for them to connect. Following his initial appearance on "Nightline," Morrie has been sent letters from numerous viewers nationwide. One, from a teacher, touches him deeply. She teaches a small class of children, each of whom has experienced the premature loss of a parent. This resonates with Morrie, reminding him of his own mother's death when he was a child. The memory moves him to tears, prompting him to openly cry on camera. He admits to Koppel that the sorrow he felt at his mother's death still lingers, even after seven decades.

the professor

Recounting his early years in Manhattan's Lower East Side, Morrie recollects the painful memory of being the first to read about his mother's demise on a telegram, as his Russian immigrant father couldn't read English. He was also the one to break the news to his family. As they traveled to the funeral, his grieving aunt asked him about his future without his mother's care, leaving him in tears. He'd hoped, as a child, that ignoring his ailing mother's condition might improve it. Morrie's father, Charlie, had moved to the US fleeing the Russian Army. The family was extremely poor with Charlie rarely finding work. After their mother's passing, Morrie and his brother, David, lived and worked in a rural Connecticut hotel. One rainy night, they played outdoors, and by morning, David was paralyzed from polio. Morrie wrongly blamed the rain and himself for David's affliction. He prayed fervently at the synagogue for his brother and his late mother. Charlie was distant and cold towards his sons. However, Eva, his second wife, showered them with love and care. Despite their severe poverty, she emphasized on education – a value Morrie carried forward. Charlie instructed Morrie to not mention his biological mother to David, who was led to believe Eva was his real mother. This lie weighed heavy on Morrie, who held onto the telegram of his mother's death as the only tangible proof of her existence. As a teenager, Morrie was taken by his father to the fur factory in hopes of securing him a job. However, Morrie was relieved when he wasn't hired due to the limited opportunity for the adults. Disgusted by the oppressive atmosphere of the factory, he pledged never to exploit others through his work, ruling out law as a career. He also couldn't pursue medicine due to his aversion to blood, which led him to choose teaching as his profession.

the fourth tuesday

Morrie shares with Mitch that everyone knows they will die someday, but no one truly believes it. Morrie's condition has worsened; he now relies on an oxygen machine to breathe. This grim reality sparks a conversation about mortality and how one can prepare for death. Morrie shares a Buddhist philosophy; he suggests asking oneself daily if today is the day one will die. Morrie admits that he never thought much about death before his disease and had even promised a friend he would be the healthiest old man they knew. The conversation moves to the difficulty of facing death and its imminent reality. Morrie points out that acknowledging death brings into focus what truly matters in life. He contends that with acceptance of death, ambition may diminish, replaced by a focus on meaningful experiences and connections. Morrie encourages Mitch to pursue "spiritual development," despite not fully understanding the term, voicing the view that people are overly invested in material possessions and self-importance. Morrie finds joy in simple things, like the view from his window, even though he can't enjoy it outdoors. Morrie still receives letters from viewers of his "Nightline" interview. With the help of his sons, Rob and Jon, he responds to these letters, including one from a woman named Nancy, who lost her mother to ALS and sympathizes with Morrie's suffering. Morrie sends a warm response, hoping she finds healing in her grief. Another letter labels Morrie a prophet, a notion he politely dismisses. A third letter, from a man in England, asks for assistance in contacting his dead mother. Another lengthy letter from a former student who has experienced traumatic life events leaves Morrie unsure of how to respond. Regardless, Morrie is glad to share these moments with his sons. Mitch finds irony in Morrie's disease being named after an athlete, Lou Gehrig. Morrie humorously encourages Mitch to mimic Gehrig's famous farewell speech, in which Gehrig calls himself the "luckiest man in the world," a sentiment Morrie doesn't quite share.

the fifth tuesday

As September commences, Morrie, for the first time in over three decades, will not be teaching. His physical decline is noticeable as his clothes hang loose due to his rapid weight loss. His weakening state increases his desire for closeness and affection. Morrie emphasizes to Mitch the importance of family, stating it as one's rock and the greatest source of love. He quotes his favourite poet Auden, saying, "Love or perish", which Mitch takes note of. Morrie insists that friends, despite their importance, can never substitute family. Contemplating on Morrie's sentiments, Mitch questions if he would feel a deep void if he were in Morrie's position with no children. Morrie clarifies he's not one to impose his views on others but shares that parenthood is an unparalleled experience. Despite the joy of raising children, the thought of their life without him causes him pain. Morrie inquires about Mitch's family. Mitch shares that he has an older sister and a younger brother. His brother, who had distanced himself from the family after moving to Europe, is battling pancreatic cancer alone, refusing any aid. Reflecting on their childhood, Mitch was the obedient one, while his brother was the rebel. Yet, his brother remained the family's favourite. His brother's charm made Mitch feel overly cautious. The death of their uncle from disease had Mitch convinced he would suffer the same fate. However, it was his brother who contracted cancer. His brother's persistence to fight his battle alone, as evident from the Spanish message on his home answering machine in Spain, serves as a sobering reminder of their strained relationship. A childhood memory of a close encounter with a car while sledding with his brother floods back to Mitch. After the initial shock, they felt invincible and ready to take more risks.

the sixth tuesday

Mitch's usual welcome at Morrie's home by Connie is replaced by Charlotte, Morrie's spouse, who contrary to his expectations is at home despite her work at M.I.T. She lets Mitch know that Morrie's health is declining and he can no longer eat the food Mitch brings, only managing soft foods and liquids. Morrie hadn't shared this with Mitch to spare his feelings. Charlotte's weariness is noticeable, seeing as she often stays up all night to tend to Morrie who can't sleep. Morrie's deteriorating health now demands round-the-clock attention from home health care workers, evident from numerous medicine bottles across the kitchen. Morrie's coughing has intensified, making it hard for him to breathe while conversing with Mitch. He shares with Mitch his approach of 'detaching himself from the experience', drawing from Buddhist teachings that everything transient should not be clung to. He clarifies to Mitch that detachment isn't about dismissing an experience but fully immersing in it, allowing for letting go. He shares this is especially important in terrifying moments like when he struggles to breathe, forcing him to accept his potential imminent death. Morrie's explanation of detachment is interrupted by a severe coughing fit, which Mitch helps him recover from. He expresses his wish to die peacefully and comments that detachment grants him calmness during such distressing episodes. Despite Mitch's plea for him not to die just yet, Morrie agrees but asserts there's still much to be done. In a lighter moment, Morrie shares his wish to be reborn as a gazelle for their grace and speed, a choice that Mitch initially finds odd but later understands observing Morrie's frail body.

the professor part 2

After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Morrie worked as a researcher in a mental hospital near Washington D.C. in the 1950's. One of the patients, a woman, would lay face-down on the floor for hours. Morrie, moved by her situation, would sit beside her despite the hospital rules. He helped her to regain some normalcy in her life by giving her the attention she craved. Morrie developed a rapport with many patients, including a particularly difficult woman who respected only him. When she escaped, Morrie was asked to help bring her back. She felt betrayed by him, seeing him as siding with her "jailers". Morrie observed that many patients came from wealthy backgrounds, but their money hadn't brought them happiness. Morrie later taught at Brandeis University, where he was involved with student radicals during the 1960's cultural revolution. When he learned that male students failing to meet a certain GPA would be drafted, he and the other faculty members decided to give all of them A's. Morrie also actively participated in protests in Washington D.C. A notable incident occurred when black students at Brandeis took over a university hall, renaming it "Malcolm X University". Tensions escalated as the university administration feared the students might be making bombs. The stand-off ended when Morrie, a former student, negotiated the protesters’ demands with the university president, leading to a resolution. Meanwhile, Mitch explores various cultural perspectives on death. He is particularly struck by a North American Arctic tribe's belief in a miniature self that lives on after death, either immediately reincarnating or waiting in the sky for the moon to return it to earth.

the seventh tuesday

Morrie revealed to Ted Koppel in an earlier interview that he dreaded the day someone else would need to take care of his most personal needs due to his illness. Unfortunately, that day has arrived, and his caretaker, Connie, must now assist him, symbolizing a complete capitulation to his sickness. Morrie's dependence on others for his basic needs has grown, but he assures Mitch he's attempting to find joy in this second childhood. He reiterates the importance of dismissing societal norms if unhelpful, and highlights the need to feel loved and cared for, akin to a baby. Morrie's dual lifestyle, where he gives as an adult and receives like a child, leaves an impression on Mitch. Travelling to Morrie's home, Mitch is struck by the youthful vibrancy displayed on every billboard, causing him to feel "past his prime" despite not yet being forty. His desperate attempts to retain his youth - regular workouts, healthy eating, and daily checks of his receding hairline - seem futile. Morrie reassures him that youthful happiness is deceptive; young people experience real sorrows, often lacking the wisdom of age to handle them. Morrie has embraced aging, seeing it as a part of life. Yearning for youth in one's old age, he informs Mitch, suggests an unfulfilled life and fighting age is a lost cause. When Mitch questions how Morrie refrains from jealousy towards his youth, Morrie admits it's "impossible" not to feel envious. However, he believes the purpose of aging is accepting one's current age; as Morrie has already experienced his thirties, it's now Mitch's turn. Since Morrie has lived through all stages of life, he feels connected to each, making any envy towards Mitch's age redundant.

the eight tuesday

Mitch shares a quote he found in a newspaper by the wealthy Ted Turner: "I don't want my tombstone to read, 'I never owned a network.'" They both find it amusing. Mitch's attention is captured by a pink hibiscus plant resting on Morrie's window sill. Morrie echoes his previous advice about not placing worth on material possessions, implying that this path only leads to dissatisfaction and emptiness. Morrie is having a particularly good day, courtesy of a visit from a local a capella group the previous night, who performed just for him. Music has always moved Morrie, but his illness has made him even more emotionally susceptible to the beauty of music. Morrie values experiences like these, not the accumulation of wealth or possessions, contrary to societal expectations. He believes that society has fooled us into thinking that money can substitute love, a notion we continue to pursue, but it only leaves us feeling unfulfilled and longing. Morrie, after knowing about his illness, stopped buying new things and showed no interest in materialistic possessions. Despite this, Mitch observes that Morrie's house is full of immense wealth, not because of its material contents, but due to the abundance of love it holds. Morrie encourages Mitch to contribute more than just money, to give of himself. He suggests Mitch could serve his community, perhaps by volunteering at a senior center nearby. Mitch starts to understand that all his years striving for financial success did not lead to happiness, unlike his newfound understanding of the real worth of love and selflessness.

the ninth tuesday

As labor disputes persist at Mitch's past job, the highly-publicized O.J. Simpson murder trial nears its conclusion. Mitch shares his growing concern for his younger brother, who now lives in Spain. Despite leaving numerous messages, the only response he receives is a brief assurance that everything is fine, but no mention of his brother's cancer. Morrie's health continues to decline significantly. He is now reliant on a catheter and has minimal control over his head movement. Although he still feels pain in his limbs, he's unable to move them. He spends his days confined to his study chair, sharing his new mantra, "When you're in bed, you're dead." The "Nightline" team wants to conduct a third interview with Morrie, but they wish to delay until his health further deteriorates, a notion that unsettles Mitch.

the tenth tuesday

Morrie's health has deteriorated significantly, he is now on a liquid diet and relies on an oxygen tank due to his disease spreading to his lungs. He often suffers from severe coughing spells, posing a constant risk to his life. Mitch introduces his wife, Janine, to Morrie. Although they had never met before, Janine had previously conversed with Morrie over the phone as if they were long-time friends. After their conversation, Janine decides to accompany Mitch to Boston to meet Morrie. Despite his frailty, Morrie's spirits are lifted by Janine's presence. He shares a humorous tale about his days teaching at a university in Detroit, where he once attempted to watch a surgery but was overcome by nausea at the sight of blood, leading to a comical encounter with a nurse. Janine, a professional singer, sings for Morrie, moving him to tears. Following her performance, Morrie discusses his views on love and relationships with Mitch and Janine. After being married for 44 years, Morrie believes marriage reveals the true nature of individuals and tests their compatibility. He stresses the importance of shared values and views marriage as a vital life experience. However, he remains careful about sharing personal experiences that might infringe on his wife Charlotte's privacy. Mitch later queries Morrie about the biblical Book of Job, which tells the story of a virtuous man subjected to suffering as a test of faith. Morrie humorously responds that in this case, he believes God "overdid it."

the eleventh tuesday

Morrie's illness is now affecting his lungs, which could soon lead to his death due to suffocation. His physical therapist shows Mitch a technique involving pounding and massaging to expel toxins from Morrie's lungs. Light-heartedly, Mitch suggests the treatment is payback for his college B grade under Morrie. Mitch's embarrassment about aiding Morrie has dwindled, instead he's keen to learn and assist as much as he can. Similarly, Morrie feels less shame about his physical impairments, including needing help for bathroom visits. They often hold hands now. Morrie laments society's discomfort with natural physical needs. In response to Mitch's suggestion about relocating to a less self-centred culture, Morrie expresses that every culture comes with its issues, so he's created his own. Morrie emphasizes that the primary problem with most societies is their underutilization of potential. He encourages that we should "invest in people," as we require others in every stage of our lives. Later, Mitch and Connie view the O.J. Simpson murder trial verdict on TV, with a not guilty outcome leaving Connie horrified. Mitch observes the racial divide in reactions to the verdict - black people celebrating, whites grieving. Mitch recollects a 1979 basketball game at Brandeis University. Amidst chants of "We're number one!" from the performing team, Morrie interrupts, questioning "What's wrong with being number two?" This silences the students.

the audiovisual part 3

Ted Koppel and the "Nightline" crew show up at Morrie's residence in West Newton, MA for their last interview, which has an air of finality to it. Morrie is uncertain about his ability to participate due to his increasing difficulty in breathing and speaking. Koppel, who now considers Morrie a friend, is sympathetic. Despite his deteriorating condition, Morrie still manages to partake in the interview, wearing the same clothes from the previous day since he now changes his outfit every other day. This last conversation is held in Morrie's study, as his disease has left him chair-bound. During their conversation, Morrie reveals that he is slowly detaching from the external world. He shares his admiration for ALS sufferers like renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who speaks using a computer synthesizer due to a breathing hole in his throat. But Morrie doesn't want to live like that. He prefers to pass away peacefully, sharing his latest pearl of wisdom, "Don't let go too soon, but don't hang on too long." He reiterates the importance of love and compassion and assures Koppel that his illness might be ravaging his body, but it won't crush his spirit. This leaves Koppel nearly in tears. In the final part of the interview, Morrie confesses that he's been "bargaining with Him up there," revealing to Mitch for the first time that he converses with God.

the twelfth tuesday

Mitch eases Morrie's sore feet, and they chat about the uselessness of revenge and the value of forgiveness. Morrie confesses his remorse for his previous pride and vanity, leading Mitch to question if Morrie feels the need to make amends before his death. Morrie then points to a bronze statue of himself in his study, made by Norman, a former friend. Their friendship had waned after Norman moved and failed to contact Morrie when Charlotte, Morrie's wife, needed surgery. Despite Norman's attempts to mend their friendship, Morrie persisted in his resentment. After Norman recently died of cancer, Morrie now regrets not forgiving him, and he weeps while reminiscing about his old friend. Morrie underscores the necessity of self-forgiveness, as well as forgiving others. He considers himself "lucky" for having the opportunity to forgive while he's still alive. Mitch observes the resilience of the hibiscus plant in the window, and Morrie confides his wish that if he had another son, he'd want it to be someone like Mitch. Mitch worries that accepting Morrie's sentiment could betray his own father. However, seeing Morrie's tears, he understands there's no betrayal in such an affectionate moment, but rather his fear is rooted in the impending farewell. Morrie has chosen a peaceful hill under a tree by a pond as his final resting place. He asks Mitch to continue their Tuesday meetings there, sharing his troubles, as he believes they are "Tuesday people." Mitch voices his concerns about Morrie's inability to respond, but Morrie assures him that he will continue to listen, even after death.

the thirteenth tuesday

Morrie discloses his wish to be cremated and communicates his funeral arrangements with his wife, Charlotte, and Al Axelrad, a rabbi and old friend. He now depends on an oxygen tube for breathing, a sight Mitch finds distressing as it signifies extreme vulnerability. He even feels an impulse to remove it. Morrie recounts a severe coughing attack he had experienced, noting that he found tranquility in those terrifying moments by accepting his imminent death. He underlines the importance of reconciling with the fact of mortality while alive. Morrie requests to see the hibiscus plant on his study window sill. Mitch lifts it for his professor to see, eliciting a smile from Morrie. Morrie reiterates that death is a natural process and reminds Mitch that one’s existence doesn't completely cease with death as their memory lingers among the living. He emphasizes that the love one creates during their life extends beyond their demise. Morrie, while always pragmatic about his condition, concedes there's no chance of reverting to his former self, as his disease has fundamentally changed him. When asked what he would do with one day of full health, Morrie says he would simply enjoy a regular day with friends and an evening stroll. Morrie’s humble wish initially surprises Mitch, but he soon realizes his professor's point: an ordinary day can be perfect. Morrie sensitively brings up the topic of Peter, Mitch's younger brother. Mitch recalls his brother's younger, carefree days, contrasting starkly with his current, fragile state from chemotherapy. Despite Mitch's attempts, Peter consistently declines his support and refuses to discuss his cancer. Morrie, however, reassures Mitch that their brotherly bond will mend over time. Lastly, Morrie shares an anecdote about a wave that feared its inevitable crash onto the shore. Another wave advises it not to fear as all waves are part of the larger ocean.

the fourteenth tuesday

The day before Mitch's final visit, Charlotte warned him that Morrie was nearing his end. Once there, he found Morrie asleep. Mitch worried momentarily about forgetting tapes for his recorder. Despite knowing Morrie couldn't consume it, he had brought food, as was their custom. He felt compelled to apologize to Charlotte for this, admitting it was ritualistic. While waiting for Morrie to awake, Mitch perused the newspaper, once again struck by tales of violence and hatred. Entering Morrie's room, he noticed a hospice nurse on 24-hour duty. He remembered Morrie's saying, "When you're in bed, you're dead." Morrie, barely capable of speech, still managed to express to Mitch that he considered him a friend and a good soul, and that he loved him. Holding Morrie's hand throughout their last exchange, Mitch was there to comfort him as he cried, soothing him by stroking his head. Mitch promised to return the following Tuesday, understanding Morrie's fatigue. He departed without using the tape recorder, giving Morrie a final farewell kiss. At last, he allowed himself to shed tears.


Morrie passed away on a Saturday morning, on November 4th, after being in a coma for two days. His family members had taken turns keeping him company, but Morrie chose to breathe his last when they were all in the kitchen, grabbing a cup of coffee. Mitch is confident that Morrie chose to die this way to protect his family from the emotional pain, reminiscent of the grief he endured after his parents' tragic demise. Despite many wanting to be present, Morrie's funeral was an intimate affair. At the funeral, following Morrie's advice, Mitch converses with his departed friend at his gravesite, finding the experience unexpectedly comforting.


Mitch ponders on his transformation post his last conversations with Morrie. He longs to make his past self understand the value of these lessons, finding solace in Morrie's guidance about constant evolution. Soon after Morrie's passing, Mitch connects with his estranged brother, Peter, in Europe. During their extensive chat, Mitch respects Peter's need for space, yet expresses his desire to stay connected. He conveys his fear of losing Peter and his love for him. A few days later, he gets a friendly fax from Peter, hinting at a possible revival of their bond. The book is largely Morrie's brainchild, even the title was suggested by him. He and Mitch saw this as their "final thesis." Digging through Morrie's old academic resources, he discovers a concluding paper penned by Morrie. Addressing his audience directly, Mitch urges them to reflect on the significant role their past mentors have played and the enduring influence on their lives.

Enjoying this summary?
Buy the book! (it's better)

People who recommended Tuesdays with Morrie

Lists that recommended Tuesdays with Morrie