The book I opened is entitled ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ and it’s touchingly sad and emotionally educational at the same time. Morrie was a man who suffered and then died from the devastating neurodegenerative disease commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease but more clinically by the acronym ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Morrie, like all other ALS sufferers living with the disease became progressively paralyzed due to degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons of his brain and spinal cord. Eighty per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis and so did Morrie - unable to breathe or to swallow. ALS has no known cure or effective treatment. For every person diagnosed with ALS a person with ALS dies. Approximately 2,500 - 3,000 Canadians currently live with ALS.
Morrie was a sociologist and a professor at Brandeis University. Mitch Albom, one of his former students, became a columnist for the Detroit Free Press after failing to become a pianist. After seeing Ted Koppel interview Morrie Schwartz on Nightline, Albom visited Morrie and thus began a series of visits on Tuesdays. Albom’s recount became this 1977 best selling book based upon Schwartz wisdom, experiences, quotations and conversations. It became a TV movie starring Jack Lemon in 1999. Morrie Schwartz wrote his own epitaph: "A Teacher to the Last." The excerpts are like everlasting and critical proverbs.
Morrie Schwartz Quotes
• After you have wept and grieved for your physical losses, cherish the functions and the life you have left.
• Dying is only one thing to be sad over... Living unhappily is something else.
• It's not to late to... ask yourself if you really are the person you want to be, and if not, who you do want to be.
• It's not too late to develop new friendships or reconnect with people.
• So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things.
• The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.
• When you look at it that way, you can see how absurd it is that we individualize ourselves with our fences and hoarded possessions.
• Learn how to live and you'll know how to die; learn how to die, and you'll know how to live.
James 1:2-4 “Consider it nothing but joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not deficient in anything.
ALS Society of Canada
Ted Koppel interview with Morrie
Ted Koppel’s last interview with Morrie