Tuesdays with Morrie: Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie: Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom remembers, "I first met Morrie in 1975 at Brandeis University and he said, ‘Is it Mitch or Mitchell? Which do you prefer?' I was kind of touched that he had asked me that question." A close friendship developed that day and continued throughout Mitch's college career. "Morrie had asked me on graduation day to stay in touch with him, and I said,
‘I will. I promise,' and I didn't even call him for 16 years," Mitch recalls. "I happened one night to be flipping through the television channels, and there he was on Nightline talking about what it was like to die from Lou Gehrig's disease.

"I was just going to call and ease my guilt," Mitch says. But one meeting turned into weekly conversations. "I found myself, on those Tuesdays, slipping back into being the person that I had been when I was a student. I had my perspective about being a busy workaholic. He has his perspective about a 78-year-old man. He would say, ‘You will get to where I am.'
That's when I began to say, ‘You know, I really should pay attention to this. He's teaching me something very valuable.'"

 

Mitch recalls an important lesson he learned from his friend. "Morrie would always say to me, ‘There is nothing if you don't have a solid marriage and family.' I really took that to heart. If it's an important event, I try to make sure I am there, and I never would've done that before."

"Morrie was fun-loving, warm and related to people. He loved people," Morrie's wife, Charlotte says. "One thing that comes through in Tuesdays with Morrie is that relationships are the things that give meaning to life."

"Mitch has a very incisive mind," Morrie's son, Robert, says, "and the kind of questions he was asking were very particular to draw out the kind of wisdom that he wanted from my father. One life lesson the book teaches is to really value the people around you and treat them with the kind of love and respect that you would like to be treated with."

"My dad's life would not have been anything without relationships and communication," Morrie's son, Jonathan, says. "That is his basis for connection with family, friends and anyone that he would meet."

"That was the biggest lesson to me," Mitch says, "when he said, ‘Death ends a life but not a relationship. You better invest in that relationship if you want to be remembered after you're gone.' And I do."

"[It's been] 10 years since this book was published," Dr. Phil says. "You were living like a house on fire, you were 90 miles an hour, and then all of a sudden, you shifted gears and made time to do this. What was it?"

"All of a sudden, I was sitting with him, and I was a student again, and he didn't ask me how much money I made, and he didn't ask me about how much I accomplished in my career," Mitch says. "He just wanted to know how I was, and what I was feeling, and did I have somebody in my life? And I sort of said to myself, how did I change so much? How did I go from who I used to be to who I am now? And I wanted to come back to be reminded of who I had once been."

"Well, he changed the way you define success, right? He said, ‘If you do things for the right reasons, good things are going to happen to you.' And you questioned whether you were doing things for the right reasons," Dr. Phil says.

"Yeah, and I saw how many people came back to him in his life again, and the people he had touched, and it wasn't because he was famous, and it wasn't because he was rich. It was because he has spent time with them. And I began to realize, you know, you can write a lot of books, and you can make a lot of money, and it's all going to go away if you die, and it's not going to keep you company in your final moments. And I saw how many people kept streaming in and out of that house, and I said, ‘You know, he must've done something to invest in all these people, to get them to be there at the end, and who's going to come visit me " People from work or my editors? I don't think so. I think it's time to prioritize and put more investment in the people in my life,'" Mitch explains.

Dr. Phil turns to Morrie's sons, Jonathan and Robert. "Are you guys at all surprised that your father has such a legacy that has lived on in such a meaningful way like this? How do you feel about that?" he asks.

"It helps give my own life meaning," Jonathan says. "It's a wonderful legacy that I can follow."

Although they miss their father, Robert and Jonathan try to celebrate their father's life. Robert explains, "The success of the book just took us all by gigantic surprise, and it really is wonderful because my father was able to touch a lot of people when he was alive, and his students were very moved by what he had to say, and now, through Mitch, he's touched millions and millions of people. It's really a wonderful thing."

 

To enter to win a signed copy of the 10th anniversary edition of Tuesdays with Morrie, go to mitchalbom.com.