It’s natural to die. . . . The fact that we make such a big hullabaloo over it is all because we don’t see ourselves as part of nature. We think because we’re human we’re something above nature. . . . We’re not. Everything that gets born, dies.
In business, people negotiate to win. They negotiate to get what they want. Maybe you’re too used to that. Love is different. Love is when you are as concerned about someone else’s situation as you are about your own. You’ve had these special times with your brother, and you no longer have what you had with him. You want them back. You never want them to stop. But that’s part of being human. Stop, renew, stop, renew. . . . You’ll find a way back to your brother. . . . You found me, didn’t you?
I picked up the unopened bag with the tape recorder. Why had I even brought this? I knew we would never use it. I leaned in and kissed him closely . . . I blinked back the tears, and he smacked his lips together and raised his eyebrows at the sight of my face. I like to think it was a fleeting moment of satisfaction for my dear old professor: he had finally made me cry.
They slept in shifts around his bed. Morrie had fallen into a coma two days after our final visit, and the doctor said he could go at any moment. Instead he hung on, through a tough afternoon, through a dark night. Finally, on the fourth of November, when those he loved had left the room just for a moment—to grab coffee in the kitchen, the first time none of them were with him since the coma began—Morrie stopped breathing. . . . I believe he died this way on purpose. I believe he wanted no chilling moments, no one to witness his last breath and be haunted by it[.]
I look back sometimes at the person I was before I rediscovered my old professor. I want to talk to that person. I want to tell him what to look out for, what mistakes to avoid. I want to tell him to be more open, to ignore the lure of advertised values, to pay attention when your loved ones are speaking as if it were the last time you might hear them. Mostly I want to tell that person to get on an airplane and visit a gentle old man in West Newton, Massachusetts, sooner rather than later, before that old man gets sick and loses his ability to dance.