On the second Tuesday, Morrie Schwartz tells Mitch Albom, "It's horrible to watch my body slowly wilt away to nothing. But it's also wonderful because of all the time I get to say good-bye. […] Not everyone is so lucky."
I don't know why I didn't read "Tuesdays with Morrie" until now. People told me it was a "quick read". I didn't want a quick read about death. It is a very quick read. I'm going to return it to the library and buy a copy so that I can read it again slowly. Maybe read it over fourteen Tuesdays. Get more of a sense of the pace of the revelations. Feel the passage of time. Morrie pictured a bird on his shoulder that he would turn to and ask "Is today the day I die?"
We're told that our death is particularly hard to deal with, to accept, to acknowledge, to . . . well, it is hard because it was so sudden. Morrie thinks it is easier for the dying if they know they are going to die. I don't know that it is easier for those around them.
Sometimes people know they are going to die. They just know it. They wrap up their affairs with people they know. They walk down town and chat with people they haven't talked to in years. They spend a holiday with their family and then quietly die. It's as if they somehow knew they had unfinished business that they could wrap up.
A six year old has a life time of unfinished business.
All deaths are sad. I think of a college student who has shown enough promise that we understand the life that lies ahead of them. A young parent whose spouse and children will feel the loss forever. An aging parent who leaves behind all of the unresolved issues and unanswered questions. An infant that represents the promise that has yet to take any shape at all.
And a six year old. Like a bud in the spring. Green and ready to open up and show us what is inside.
Maybe it was the suddenness of her death that shocks us. Morrie says "I mourn my dwindling time, but I cherish the chance it gives me to make things right." Maybe a six year old or an infant doesn't need that kind of time because there's nothing to make right.
For Morrie, love was central to who we are and what we do while we are here. Expressing love. Communicating love. If you spend enough of your time opening your heart to others then, he explains, "we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there."
I read through this book – this book that I intend to reread. I was touched more than I expected. I cry easily at books and movies but not, until six weeks ago, not at real life. I was moved through most of the book but didn't cry until I read Morrie's words that
"Death ends a life, not a relationship."