The Second Tuesday: We Talk about Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Mitch returns to spend a second Tuesday with Morrie, and this time decides not to buy a cell phone during the trip so that his colleagues cannot disturb his meaningful time with his old professor. The union at the newspaper he works for in Detroit continues to strike, and he is therefore without a job. The strike situation had grown nasty; picketers had been arrested and beaten, and replacement workers had been hired.
Once again, Mitch has brought Morrie bags of delicious food. Now, Morrie is confined to his study, and keeps a bell by his side to signal for assistance. Mitch asks Morrie if he feels sorry for himself. Morrie replies that at times, he does, usually in the mornings. He mourns for his body and the control that he has lost, and cries if he needs to. Afterwards, however, Morrie moves on and recognizes how lucky he is to have time to say goodbye to his loved ones before he dies. He consciously limits the amount of time he spends pitying himself, as he knows he must enjoy the little life he has left. Mitch is astounded that Morrie has called himself lucky when he must endure such suffering.
While Morrie is in the bathroom with his aide Connie, who must help him, Mitch looks through a Boston newspaper and reads disturbing news about murder and hatred. He puts the paper down when Morrie returns from the bathroom, and offers to help him back into his recliner, which he does. Holding Morrie in his arms, Mitch is moved in a way he cannot describe, only to say that he can feel the "seeds of death inside his shriveling frame." It is then that Mitch realizes that his time with Morrie is running out, and that he must do something about it.
In a flashback to his junior year of college, 1978, Mitch recalls the unusual "Group Process" class he took with Morrie. The class, which Mitch labels the "touchy-feely class," studies how the group of students interact with one another. On a typical day, one person will end up crying. In one exercise, the students test one another's trust and reliability by doing trust falls; one student will fall straight backwards and must rely on another student to catch them. Not one student can trust another until one girl falls without flinching. Morrie notes that the girl had closed her eyes, and says that this exercise serves as a metaphor for the secret to trust in relationships; one must sometimes trust blindly, relying only on what they feel to guide them in their decision-making.
The Third Tuesday: We Talk about Regrets
Again, Mitch arrives the following Tuesday with bags of food. This time, he has brought a tape recorder, as well. At first, Mitch feels that the tape recorder is intrusive and worries that it will make Morrie uncomfortable. But Morrie welcomes it, and insists that he wants Mitch to hear his story. Mitch recognizes that using the tape recorder is also an attempt to capture a remnant of Morrie to remember him by after his death. He wonders if Morrie has had any regrets since learning that he is dying. Morrie responds with a lesson on how the culture doesn't encourage people to think about death and regrets until they are nearing their dying day. While they are living, he says, they are concerned about egotistical things, but they should constantly stand back and assess their life to determine what is there and what is missing from it. Morrie mentions that often, people need others to push them in this particular direction, and Mitch realizes that Morrie is this person, his teacher.
Mitch resolves to be the best student he can be. On the plane ride back to Detroit, he makes a list of common issues and questions about life and relationships that he plans to broach with Morrie. All of the questions he wants to pose seem to have no clear answers. He brings the list with him when he returns to Boston for his fourth visit with Morrie. It is a sweltering hot day in Boston, and the air conditioning is not working in the airport. Mitch notes that everyone in the airport terminal looks as though they could kill someone.