“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
— Morrie Schwartz, Tuesdays with Morrie (by Mitch Albom).
I thought I never had a Morrie Shwartz. I thought I would never have one. Ever since I finished 'Tuesdays with Morrie', twice in a row if I might add, I was on the look out for my Morrie. What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain.
When I first read 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven' by Mitch Albom, I was astonished at how amazing a book it was. I was so awed by it, I kept in my bag for days even after finishing it, just to have it around me. On the first page of the book, I read the list of the other books that were written by Mitch, who had already become a favourite author of mine. There I read the name 'Tuesdays with Morrie.' Just mentioning that name to a colleague brought on an exasperated, almost breathless reaction. “YOU HAVEN'T READ TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE YET?” she squealed. Taken aback a little, I promised I would get to it as soon as possible, still giving her the 'such-a-weirdo' side-eyed look. I was wrong; she wasn't a weirdo at all. I was, for not having read this before.
When I turned to the first page of the first chapter of Tuesdays with Morrie, I knew I was hooked. It was love at first line.
With Morrie and Mitch, I laughed, I cried, I felt despair, and most of all, I learned about life. That's what Morrie Schwartz was best known for- imparting wisdom. Mitch Albom's college professor, Morrie, who later became a victim of Lou Gehrig's disease, gave his student, the author, his final lesson, when he was already bed-ridden. Every Tuesday, Mitch visited Morrie's house with a bag full of food that was easy to swallow, to take his lesson on the most wondrous subject in the world- how to live.
I searched here and there for my Morrie Schwartz. I began wondering whether we were all ever fortunate enough to have a Morrie in our lives. I thought I was one of those poor souls who would never have one. Until one day when I was cleaning out my closet.
I found an old school shirt of mine from when I was in Grade 8. There were messages of friends and signatures all over it. Right underneath my collar was the biggest signature of all, with a horrendous drawing; it said- 'to a very special girl, all the best, Mr. B'. No, Mr Richard Mervyn Brown, aka Mr B, my 8th grade English teacher, could not draw at all. But he was, in fact, my Morrie, and I never even knew until now.
I grew up under Mr. B's wing. About life, love, heartbreak, school, dreams, and the future, we talked for hours at school, as I skipped the more boring classes. After I came to Bangladesh, parting with Mr. B was the toughest. But every now and then, I would get an international phone call with an English accented 'Ello there! How've you been, girl?' waiting at the other end of it. We went on to meet many times after, as I would go back to Saudi Arabia for vacations. I would visit my old school just to see him and update him about my life (I would make lists of things to tell him before departing- getting into the debate team, getting an A in English, landing a writing job). We somehow got even closer after I moved. He was in fact that one person who gave me dreams to chase, rules to break, who taught me mischief and obedience at the same time, who made me love school, who discovered my knack for languages and words, who told me I would be a writer one day.
These words, I had never cherished so much until the day he passed away. And almost a decade later, I felt his impact upon my life. Much like Mitch did when he found out Morrie was dying and rushed to him for that one final lesson. I missed out on that final lesson because I was too far away, but the lifetime of lessons Mr. B had left me with were more than enough for me to become the person I am today. With Morrie's philosophy in mind, Mr. B's death ended his life, but not our relationship.
We are all blessed with some of these people in our lives who have a bigger impact than we can imagine. Whether a teacher, a friend, or a parent, or a certain stranger turned BFF there is always the one person who has wisdom and knowledge stored in their hearts just waiting for your attentive ears.
Because of Mitch Albom's generosity, the beauty of 'Tuesdays with Morrie' though is that even if you are someone who doesn't have one of these people in your life, or haven't found them yet, this book itself has all the power to become your own Morrie.
So go, flip through the pages, find your Morrie Schwartz, and learn all you can about life and all its wonders.