The story begins with Morrie who is considered as an excellent college professor who is loved and adored by his students not only for his academic credentials but also because of his benevolence and generous attitude towards his students. In his late sixties, the college professor finds out that he is on the verge of dying. The story progresses as it is narrated by one of Morrie’s former students, which focuses on the last few weeks of the professor’s life. The narration starts from the point where Mitch runs into Morrie during one of his latter days. The story is about the life of the great professor who spread joy and knowledge to his young students, but life had other plans for him, which were cruel beyond words. Thus, Mitch tries to relay the professor’s life with his experience with Morrie and how he saw the great man. The narration starts as Mitch gives a particularly small introduction of Professor Morrie and Mitch himself starting from his graduation ceremony for college.
In the narration, Mitch introduces himself as Mitch Albom, a young guy, full of potential and exuberance, on the verge of stepping into the adult phase of his life. In his college time, he narrates that of all the teachers he comes across, Morrie Schwartz was his favorite professor. As he recalls, during his college graduation, he remembered Morrie had given him a warm hug and bid goodbye to him with tears in his eyes, which showed that the feeling between Morrie and Mitch was mutual and that Mitch Albom was probably one of Morrie’s favorite students as well.
From that point on, Mitch fast forwards two years, when he stumbles across Morrie again and finds out the unfortunate news; Morrie has been declared positive with ALS, which is known to many as Lou Gehrig’s disease. If the news regarding Morrie’s introduction to the disease is unfortunate and saddening, it is nothing to what the disease does to his body. Lou Gehrig’s disease is said to destroy Morrie’s muscles completely, creating such a condition in his body that he gets weaker by the minute until his own lungs fail to support him, eventually facing an ominous result in the form of death.
But the disease could not change Morrie’s never-give-up attitude and his relentless urge and willingness to survive the situation even if there was no possibility of surviving it. Thus, he along with his new wife start preparing for the new and changed life that they were about to face in the now. Mitch goes on in his narration by stating how exactly the beloved college professor decides to not throw in the towel and succumb in the face of obstacles which were in the form of imminent death. Morrie Schwartz, our beloved college professor, as Mitch says, opened his doors to visitors and people alike, and decides to reach out and communicate to everyone he knew. Following this Mitch decides to go a little bit deeper into the life of Morrie. Mitch narrates that Morrie has exactly lived an up to par life. And by that the narrator does not mean per say that the beloved professor has not had the privilege to go to grad school, which he had, or the fact that the professor hasn’t earned a large lump of money by putting in his share of hours of blood, sweat and tears in his field of profession, both of which, to be completely honest, he has done very well. What Mitch is pointing to is the fact that Morrie has not exactly been happy. On the contrary, the college professor has been a workaholic all his life, so much so that he does not even have the time of the day to share and spend some quality time with the love of his life, his wife. For Mitch, as he states, he was lucky to come across Morrie, his old college professor as he was being interviewed on ABC, by Nightline. Knowing and understanding Morrie’s situation, Mitch decides to pay him a visit on the first Tuesday of many more to follow. As he just meets the old, frail college professor who had tears in his eyes as he bid farewell to his student, Mitch starts fearing that maybe paying a visit to his old college professor might not exactly have been the right thing to do.
But his fear turns into optimism as the student and the professor end up conversating for multiple hours which felt like seconds and that not a single minute even passed by them, as our professor convinces the narrator to pay him, Morrie, a visit again on the following week.
Thus far, it can be seen how the teacher and the student reunited through a disease that Morrie contracted. It showed multiple things, about the world and the way nature and life itself works. When both of them were in college, Mitch always adored Morrie, not only as a professor who used to come to the class every day to give his lectures but as a human being. Mitch emphasizes on the last day of college where he specifically remembers Morrie giving him a hug. What Mitch remembers even better is the fact that Morrie actually shed tears for him. Mitch could not fathom how the great man could do this for him, given he always felt that he was just like any other student to him.
On the present day, Mitch narrates as he visits the professor in his room again. From this time onwards, the two men start talking about much more meaningful things, such as life, and its spontaneous nature, what it has to offer, and the wonderful as well as the cruel side of life. On the other hand, they also talk about love and loss, and how each of these emotions is a part of life itself and what a human being goes through throughout both of these emotions. Most importantly, the two men talk about death itself. Mitch understands from the words of Morrie what he means when he speaks of death and as the days of the two of them spending time together progresses. Mitch could see that the disease was taking a toll on the old professor, who was getting weaker and weaker by the day. At this point, Mitch felt helpless and wanted to come in aid of his beloved professor but was not able to do anything.
As Mitch narrates the story, it can be seen that he knew that the inevitable was just a call away. Finally, it was time for Morrie to get relieved from the misery and sufferings he had been enduring for the past few months in the form of ALS, which slowly ate away his muscles, and eventually, his whole body, limb by limb, until his lungs had finally given up. On the fourteenth Tuesday of the teacher and his pupil sharing moments together, Morrie Schwartz, the old professor breathed his last breath, as he traveled beyond the realms of the worldly life to a land unknown, where he would not suffer anymore.
Mitch, in the novel, shares his side of the story on the life and memory of his beloved professor Morrie Schwartz who taught him a lot of invaluable things in life. Morrie taught Mitch that he was not just another college professor who would not say a single word except on academic studies, but that a college professor can also become one of your closest friends and have such an invaluable impact in your life. As our narrator goes back and reminisces on all the times he spent with our beloved professor and all the things Morrie had told and taught him, which not only changed his life in a huge way but shaped and molded his perspective in a beautiful way, he has only one regret when it came to Morrie Schwartz. Mitch wishes sincerely, that he could have gotten in touch with Morrie a long time ago, when he could have done something and maybe, just maybe could have helped the person who had such a huge impact in his life, by saving his.
The story ends with Mitch narrating a beautiful moment between the dying professor and his pupil. As the professor was approaching his last seconds, the old, worn out professor reached out his hand and tried to hug Mitch, with tears in his frail eyes again. This is the main hub of attraction of the story, as it goes back to the day Mitch graduated from college and shared a hug with Morrie. This shows that no matter what condition Morrie was in at the moment, even if he was on his deathbed counting seconds to his last breath, Morrie managed to make Mitch feel special and reached out to hug his beloved student in the urge of finding one last bit of closure.
Mitch finishes the story emotionally in memory of the great man.