Dear Mitch Albom,
Your novel “Tuesdays with Morrie” grabbed my favorite organ, the one I call the heart, from my chest and held it captive as I eagerly flipped through the pages of your story. This love affair with your novels all started years ago, after I read your other heart-wrenching story, “The Five People you Meet in Heaven”. I was probably twelve or so, and to be honest, I only read it because my mentor, otherwise known as my older sister Chloe, was reading it in one of her English classes. She droned on and on about how sad it was, and how it completely changed her sixteen-year-old perspective on life. Being the tag-a-long I was, I decided to crack open the tiny book and read a few pages myself. After the first chapter I was lost, and not in a bad way. Everything from the perspective of writing to the descriptive detail captivated me. Probably, as no surprise to you, as I flipped through the final pages I was crying like a running faucet with a broken handle. As my sister glared at me, thinking I was too naïve to be reading the works of her favorite author, I put up an invisible force field, and waited hungrily for your next book to pop up on the shelves of our local library. “Tuesdays”, though published before “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, suddenly appeared in my life as a new book. My sister quickly read through it, and then passed it down to me, now thirteen and ravenous for more life lessons. I skimmed through the first chapter, grew tired and set it aside, not realizing I wouldn’t get back to the book until I was sixteen and a junior in high school.
As years passed quickly and my guru went off to pursue higher education, she sent me a book or two every now and then, claiming it would forever change my life. Some I read, some I scanned, some I devoured, and others, I cast aside, insisting it would have to wait for a rainy day. The rainy day finally came as I sat down and attempted to read your brilliant “For One More Day”. I got to the fifth or so chapter, put it down, mind wandering elsewhere, and promised my psyche that I would eventually pick it back up, if only I could find a day where my mind wanted to interpret the information you were trying to feed me. The sands of time slipped through my fingers again, and I found myself a little older, a little wiser, and a little more ready to comprehend.
My yearbook advisor, Mrs. Emily Randolph, assigned your book “Tuesdays”, as the first book we would read together in the new book club she was starting at my school. I immediately sprinted to my sister’s enormous bookshelf, tore through it, and called her twice, both times to complain about her horrendous attempt at the Dewey Decimal System. Finally, there it was, resting on the top shelf. I could have sworn a single ray of light shone down upon it and I heard angels sing as I reached for my Holy Grail. I swiftly finished my homework, got into my comfiest pajamas, and sat down with my treasure, as if it were a long lost friend. I spent that night and most of the following day reading through it, taking my time to mark the quotes that moved me, and the tidbits of information that were slowly morphing my outlook on my existence.
One evening, as my journey with “Tuesdays” was coming to an end, I cried harder than I had in almost a year. Morrie was nearing the end, and your writing was beginning to paint an identical portrait of my grandfather in my mind. He, unlike Morrie, didn’t have time to say his final farewells. He was never diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but we all knew he possessed it. My grandfather had forgotten me, and when I left his nursing home bed one day, silent tears falling off my cheeks, I realized the grandfather I had known my whole life was gone.
The aphorisms in the book took on a life of their own. They grabbed hold of my seemingly mediocre existence, and changed my teenage-drama-queen perspective on life. Don’t hold back on life; give it your all, for you will never know when your days will end. Always say what you need to before it’s too late, and never forget or lose the ones who shaped and molded your life even in the simplest of ways. Whether they were a teacher who suggested a life changing novel, a friend who told you to be strong even in the face of adversity, or a grandfather who, though never had the chance to let you know the important things in life, was always there to provide a helpful smile or a good laugh, and constantly around to play one great game of cards.Thanks for the Words of Wisdom,