Tuesdays with Morrie Chapter 5 Summary

In "The Fourth Tuesday: We Talk about Death," Morrie dives right into their discussion about how people are in denial that they will someday die. Mitch mentions that the newspaper strike is still going on in Detroit, and the lawyers in the O.J. Simpson trial are becoming famous. Morrie has begun using an oxygen machine. Morrie explains that he takes his beliefs from many religions because he was born Jewish but then turned into an agnostic before finding some Buddhist and Christian philosophies that he enjoyed although he returned to practicing Judaism. Morrie told Mitch that "once you learn how to die, you learn how to live." People don't fully experience life. They miss the everyday events because they are just going through the motions. Things people focus so much time on become less important if people believe they could die at any moment. The loving relationships are what matter and are the things we most often take for granted.

Morrie's sons, Rob and Jon, would often come over to help him respond to the many letters that he received each day. One woman praised Morrie as a prophet. Another woman went on for pages about how feared she would contract ALS. Morrie tried to respond thoughtfully to each one.

The next brief chapter recalls a conversation that Mitch and Morrie had about a newspaper that Morrie kept. It has a picture of Lou Gehrig on it. Mitch asks Morrie if he remembers the famous speech that Lou gave when he retired from baseball announcing that he was the luckiest man on the face of the earth. Morrie remembers.

For "The Fifth Tuesday: We Talk about Family," Mitch brings a clip-on microphone called a lavaliere for Morrie to wear to help record his weakening voice. He wheezes a great deal at this point. Morrie gives Mitch one of his most memorable quotes at this time, which is "love each other or perish." Morrie can't imagine having to suffer through this disease without the support and care from his family. It's a spiritual security to have people whom you know will always watch out for you. Although he would never tell anyone they should have children, Morrie explains that there is nothing in the world like it. It makes parents learn how to love in a deeper way than they ever thought possible.

Morrie asks Mitch to talk a little about his family. Mitch has an older sister and a younger brother who looks nothing like him. Mitch's brother moved to Europe after high school and was later diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has received chemotherapy and after five years appeared to be in remission. Throughout this whole process, he did not want his family around him. He pushed away visits and said he could handle it himself. Once in awhile Mitch would leave a message on his brother's answering machine in Spain, but he wouldn't hear back.

In a short flashback that follows, Mitch describes a snowy day from his childhood when he and his brother went sledding. They slid down a hill right into the street. A car was coming, so they jumped off as the car skidded to a stop. The driver turned away and they were safe. He and his brother smiled at one another, ready to face death again having come away unharmed.

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