The Twelfth Tuesday We Talk About Forgiveness
Three months into the time Morrie's final lecture began, he still sat in his chair. His feet were curled and callused. Mitch sat with him and rubbed his feet with lotion, as he had seen his caretakers do. Morrie pointed to a sculpture on the shelf that had been done by one of his old friends, Norman. Norman eventually moved to Chicago and when Morrie's wife had an operation, Norman never got in touch with them. Charlotte was very hurt by this and they dropped the relationship. Morrie refused to accept reconciliation with his old friend, due to pride, over the years. Morrie said just recently that Norman died of cancer and Morrie never forgave him. Not doing so pained him and was one of his biggest regrets. He told Mitch it is crucial to make peace with yourself and everyone around you.
Morrie and Mitch have a discussion of Morrie's death, more specifically his burial. He wants to be buried beneath a tree on a hill. He asks Mitch to visit every once in awhile, to come and talk, and all the better if it's on a Tuesday. Mitch says it won't be the same because Morrie won't be able to talk back. Morrie says this time it will be Mitch's turn to talk, and he will listen for a change.
The Thirteenth Tuesday We Talk About the Perfect Day
Morrie had decided to be cremated and in a joke with the rabbi, told him not to "overcook him." The rabbi was stunned, but Morrie could joke as he saw his body as a shell now, not himself. It was useless to him now, so it was easy to let it go. He says death is as natural as birth. He goes on to say that he has found peace with his situation, and that after a multiple hour coughing spell, he was ready to go. He said this feeling of acceptance is the most incredible and peaceful feeling.
At this point, Morrie points to a hibiscus plant. This plant is a metaphor for life, he says. Everything that is born will die. The plant was once beautiful, but now its petals are shriveled, just like Morrie's skin. They fall into the soil and help other plants grow. Soon, Morrie's body will be part of the soil too. However, humans are different from plants and animals because if others can remember the love we gave, they never go away andlive on through memories.
During this discussion, Mitch asked Morrie what he would do if he had one perfectly healthy day left. Morrie mentions waking up and exercising, having sweet rolls for breakfast and then going swimming. He would have friends over for lunch, one or two at a time so they could have a meaningful discussion. Then he would go for a walk and eat duck for dinner. The day would end with dancing and a deep sleep. A simple average day, full of the people and things he loved. He found perfection in the average, which according to Morrie's point of view was the whole point of life.
After this talk, Morrie mention Mitch's brother again. Mitch had been trying to contact his brother, but to no avail. Morrie tells Mitch he needs to be at peace with his brother's decision. Mitch struggles with why his brother does not want to see him. He says that he cannot dwell on it, and that he must focus on the positive times and give people what they want. His brother will find his way back to Mitch, just as Mitch found his way back to Morrie. Maybe here is where Mitch realizes the pain he caused Morrie by waiting sixteen years to reconnect. Now he is feeling this pain with his brother. However, Morrie welcomed him immediately, not questioning where he had been. This is the lesson he was passing on to Mitch.
The Fourteenth Tuesday We Say Goodbye
The fourteenth Tuesday, Mitch had a feeling that it would be the last before he arrived. Charlotte had called to say that Morrie was not doing well. He cancelled all of his appointments, except his meeting with Mitch. He arrived at the house and gave Charlotte a hug. When Morrie was ready, the student entered the professor's classroom for the final time. This time, Morrie was in a bed. The two held hands. He told Mitch that their relationship had touched his heart. Mitch called Morrie Coach, his old nickname for him, and said he didn't know how to say goodbye. They held hands and told each other they loved each other. Finally, Mitch said he would be back next Tuesday and Morrie snorted in a laughing tone, like he knew there wouldn't be another Tuesday. He kissed his cheek and walked out of the room.
Morrie dies on a Saturday. He was blessed to have his family in the house, who sat by his bedside non-stop, sleeping in shifts around his bed. Morrie went into a coma two days after Mitch had left for the last time. The only time he was left alone was when the family slipped out to get a cup of coffee. When they returned, he was gone, almost as if on purpose, like he didn't want to haunt them with his final moment. He goes serenely, the way he had hoped. Morrie was buried in the spot he wanted, in front of a very small gathering, on a Tuesday.
Albom reflects on the person he was before being reunited with his old professor. He wants to go back to that person and tell him what to avoid and to look for what is important in life. He knows it cannot be done, but he knows it is not too late to change the rest of his life's course. He continued to try to reach his brother and was eventually successful. They had a long talk and Mitch told him he respected his distance, but wanted to be in his life as much as his brother wanted. For the first time, he told his brother he loved him. A few days later, he received a fax from his brother, with a few stories and jokes. The connection was made. Morrie was probably to thank for this.
Albom says the book, Tuesdays with Morrie, was Morrie's idea. This project, this "final thesis" as Morrie called it, brought them together. Morrie even came up with the title. Albom reminds his readers that they are lucky if they have a teacher in their lives that are even the tiniest bit like Morrie. He recommends trying to find your way back to them because one never knows how it could impact everyone’s lives.
Analysis of The Twelfth Tuesday - Conclusion
There is one final flashback in the final section of the book. This time, Morrie looks back on his one regret, losing touch with a friend after fighting with him. The friend had died before reconciling. Again, these flashbacks, the good and the bad, help the reader to understand both Morrie and Mitch. They are fully developed because the reader knows everything from childhood to, in Morrie's case, death.
As the two discuss Morrie's burial, on a hill under a tree, Morrie asks Mitch to visit him. Morrie's soul will not be there, but his body will. This is another case of anthropomorphism, as human characteristics are assigned to a lifeless, cremated body buried six feet under the ground. Morrie still wants Mitch to visit him so that their talks will continue every once in awhile, although it conflicts with what Morrie said earlier. Technically, Morrie will always be with Mitch, no matter where he is, because of the love between the two men.
The metaphor of the hibiscus plant wraps up toward the end of the book. As Morrie is dying, so is the plant. It has lost its beautiful, pink leaves and is shriveled up. Morrie has lost his mobility and independence and is days away from death at this point. Both started out vibrant and bright, both would die, and both brought joy and beauty to those around them up until they died.
Mitch asking Morrie about his perfect day and getting a response about a normal day ties in all of Morrie's lessons. Morrie did not want an extravagant day. He did not need to fly to Europe and dine on the best foods. Instead, his perfect day would be spent in his community, with his loved ones. This really proves Morrie's point (and a major theme in the book) that love is vital and all one needs to be happy.
After Morrie's death, Mitch finally decides to get in touch with his brother. He likely would not have done so without Morrie's lessons about love and family. Even in death, Morrie played a big part in the reincarnation of a relationship. This is ironic because Morrie never met Mitch's brother or knew the details of why they were apart, but he played the biggest part in getting them back in communication. Even in death, Morrie continued to change the life of Mitch and likely that of many others that read the book and learned the professor's final lessons.