The Thirteenth Tuesday: We Talk About the Perfect Day
Morrie has chosen to be cremated and arranged for a rabbi friend to do it.
Morrie finds it easy to joke about his body now. He feels so removed from it, now that it's so useless.
Morrie tells Mitch that people are too afraid of death.
He has difficulty breathing now and sometimes will cough all night long.
Morrie says that last night he had a coughing spell that lasted for so long that he didn't think that he would live through the night. When he accepted this, he was filled with a peace that he couldn't even describe.
Using the hibiscus plant as an example of a living thing that leaves nothing behind, Morrie says that we're different—when we die, we leave a legacy behind in the hearts that we touch. In his words, "Death ends a life, not a relationship" (24.29).
Morrie says that he's too much changed to go back to the land of the living; he's moved on from it, so to speak, and matured past it.
Mitch asks him what he would you do if he had one day left to live in health, and Morrie's answer is simple: He'd do all the normal things a person would do in a day, starting with a big breakfast and ending with a solid night's sleep.
Mitch feels disappointed with the simple answer, but then realizes that that's the whole point.
Morrie switches gears and asks about Mitch's little brother. The one who moved to Spain and is fighting cancer. Mitch is a kind of resistant to the topic.
Morrie acknowledges Mitch's feelings of being hurt because he wants to be there for him. But to his brother's defense, he says that his brother probably doesn't want to interrupt Mitch's life with his own suffering.
Morrie reminds Mitch that human relationships can't be negotiated like other things in life; they just run their course. He encourages Mitch that his brother will find a way back someday.
Just like Mitch found his way back to Morrie.
Morrie tells a story about waves in an ocean. One of the waves is freaking out because he notices that all of them are hitting the shore and then disappearing, but another one of the waves responds that they aren't waves, they're part of the ocean.
Morrie repeats this last part: "part of the ocean" (24.71).