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Robert's Letter to Mitch Albom
By Robert Kirchner
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 2001 Category: Letters About Literature

Dear Mr. Albom,

Death. Morrie says it is as much a part of life as is birth. Well Morrie surely proves that with his own. So much has occurred because of this man's death that has influenced your life and many others, and now, because of Tuesdays With Morrie, your professor is able to touch millions more (I being one of them) and possibly change the way the world looks at life. I mean, if you think about it, would you have written this book if Morrie Schwartz had never been sick? Would you have even visited him at all? I really can't answer that. All I can say is that I, along with rest of the world, would probably never have read this book or know anything about Morrie and his ideas. Morrie's death gave him an opportunity to leave his mark on society and I certainly am glad to have been able to take in some of this man and make him a part of me.

There is a quote you put in the book by Mahatma Gandhi: "Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning when I wake up I am reborn." I can really relate to this philosophy. I'm not one to hold grudges. I can't say I'm perfect in this area, but I really don't enjoy trying to retain those dark clouds of turmoil. I'd much rather resolve any conflicts that I'm involved in. If I'm mad at someone one day, tomorrow is a new day and I get over it. If I've done something to upset another person I do what I can to make amends. Morrie says that it is important to forgive ourselves and others. I can usually make peace with other people pretty easily, but with myself it's another story. I tend to beat myself up over missed opportunities, doing stupid things that I regret (there are a number of them that I don't regret), and not being responsible about things that I need to do. I keep on revisiting these things that I wish had not happened and, instead of reconciling the problems, I whine to myself awhile and then put them off to deal with another time saying, "I can't do anything about it." You say in your book that there is no such thing as "too late" in life. With this idea in mind, when I miss opportunities I can find new ones; when I do something I regret I can quit feeling sorry for myself and do something to fix it; when I forget to do something that I know I should I can stop telling myself "it's no big deal" or "I'll get to it later" and go out and do it no matter how long it's been. I believe the returns will be great if I do this.

When I read about your brother I was reminded a lot of myself. For some reason I like to tackle things myself, much like the way your brother dealt with his cancer. If I'm sick I don't like others to know. I'd rather not have people bugging me and wasting their time on me instead of doing what they normally need to do. Morrie asked this same thing of family as well, because they all wanted to forget about their own lives and be with him. I'm like this with everything: schoolwork, chores, even crossword puzzles. I guess I don't see things as big of a problem if I'm the only one drawn into them. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I just know it is hard on people around me, especially my parents, much like the way it was hard for you to deal with not being a part of your brother's fight. I remember there was one thing that Morrie told you, and I think it might make me more open to the people looking to help me: "In the beginning of life, when we are infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here's the secret: in between, we need others as well."

I've learned so much from this book. I now know not to be afraid of death, whether it is your own or someone else's. I've learned that it is okay to show the emotions that you are feeling at any time. I am realizing that there is more to life than our culture's idea of "success" (money, good job, material items), and that if a culture does not fit who you are you can tweak it a little in order to live the life you want to live. But most importantly I've learned to give back to the world all of the good that it has given to you, just as Morrie did until his final days. Morrie Schwartz: a teacher to the last.

Robert Kirchner

Robert Kirchner
10th Grade
Robert Service High School, Anchorage
Teacher: Mrs. Patti Irwin

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