Morrie's wife, Charlotte, opens the door. Funny, because we haven't seen her and he hasn't mentioned that his wife is still alive; apparently Morrie insists that she keep her job, so she isn't usually around.
She tells Mitch that Morrie's having a rough day. She takes a look at the groceries that he's brought, and adds that Morrie hasn't eaten since last week. He's having trouble eating at all, but didn't want to make Mitch feel badly about bringing food.
Class begins. Morrie explains that as his illness gets worse, he's learning to detach himself from the whole thing.
Mitch is confused. This doesn't go along with what Morrie is always saying about experiencing life.
On the contrary, Morrie says—you can only fully experience something when you let yourself be sucked up into it. By doing this you can remove yourself from the experience, you know, like the Buddhists do.
Um… Mitch is still confused.
Morrie explains that people avoid emotions because of fear. But all this means is that instead of emotions overwhelming them, fear overwhelms them. Oops.
In Morrie's opinion, then, it's better to let the emotion totally take over so you can recognize what you are feeling and then choose to get back to normal. When you let the emotion take over, that's when you are able to detach yourself.
Morrie starts having a coughing fit, which gets more and more violent.
As always, he uses this as a learning tool once he calms down. He tells Mitch that he wants to die peacefully—not in a fit—but when his fits happen, he makes himself accept that he's being fearful and detaches instead.
The flashback in this chapter isn't really a flashback; it takes place during one of Morrie and Mitch's Tuesdays.
Mitch asks if Morrie believes in reincarnation and Morrie says sure, maybe he does; if so, he would like to come back as a gazelle.
Mitch takes a look at his sick and helpless friend and thinks it's fitting.