Reminiscence involves sharing thoughts and feelings of one’s experiences to recalling and reflecting upon important events within one’s life. It helps adults cope with who they used to be. The significance of the life story of an adult is more than what could be described in words. It not only helps others cope-up with who they used to be, but also gives a lesson to the people who are listening to the story (Elias, Neville, & Scott, 2015). When Mitch finally decides to visit Morrie on the insistence of Jeanine, he learns as he puts ‘the meaning of life’, that otherwise he wouldn’t have learned if he was stuck on his boring job. Morrie used to be Mitch’s professor in college, and he was not just a professor but also one of Morrie’s best friends. Mitch promised him that he would stay in touch with Morrie but he gets busy in his life. 16 years later, when Mitch finally pays Morrie a visit, he realizes how much he missed his old professor. From then on, he makes it a routine to visit Morrie every Tuesday because they used to be ‘Tuesday people’. Morrie always told him, “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live”. From then on, every time Mitch visits Morrie, they talk about his life. Morrie helps Mitch get over his fears, things most young adults fear like death, love, marriage, and family. Morrie tells him that humans learn from what hurts them, as well as what loves them. Morrie tells Mitch about his father, how when his mother died, his father became an emotionless robot and never talked to him about anything or how he never showed he loved him. Morrie tells Mitch that everything he knew about love he learned from his step-mother, whom his father married after a year of his mother’s death. He tells Mitch that he should not be afraid to fall in love and should stop taking Jeanine for granted. Over time, Mitch somewhat starts understanding the things he is being taught. He marries Jeanine because of what Morrie continuously tells him. “Is this the life you want to spend?” The last time Mitch visits Morrie, Morrie tells him, death ends a life, not the love people have for each other. In addition, when Morrie dies, Mitch still visits him as Morrie had told him, ‘when I die you talk and I’ll listen.’
Above every effective communication strategy when dealing with older adults, the most important one is patience. Whenever Mitch visits Morrie, he is always patient and kind and never tries to rush anything. He listens to Morrie attentively and even asks questions about things he could not understand, like how Morrie is so cheerful all the time despite being on his deathbed. Morrie tells Mitch that dying is just one thing to be sad about and living unhappily is another. He further says that he is happy and when he dies, his friends and family will surround him. Morrie even holds a funeral before his death because he did not want people to say nice things about him when he was gone. He wanted to be there and listen to them, and cherish those things.
Quality care for older adults by their family members matters a great deal because at their age, they need physical affection and the reassurance that no matter what, people love them. As humans, we need those things in every stage of our lives especially in our infancy and old age (Elias, Neville, & Scott, 2015). A family member being there for adults helps them cope with their issues better, the same way Mitch learns to do all the nursing for his professor even though he is not a ‘touchy-feely’ guy. Previously, Mitch is never the one for affections or taking care of people. He is just another ambitious person who cares more about his career above everything. However, when he starts visiting Morrie every Tuesday, this all changes. Morrie influences his life in a way even he does not understand. Morrie tells Mitch that he is dependent on somebody for everything he does. He says that society expects us to be ashamed of dependency. This is where Mitch jokingly asks Morrie since when has he become the one to do what society says and Morrie replies with, “Never.” Morrie tells him, all our lives we are dependent on the people around us, without us realizing. When people close to us die, we still rely on them. Exactly the way Mitch never fails to visit his professor’s grave every Tuesday even after he is long gone.
Elias, S. M. S., Neville, C., & Scott, T. (2015). The effectiveness of group reminiscence therapy for loneliness, anxiety and depression in older adults in long-term care: A systematic review. Geriatric Nursing, 36(5), 372-380.
Tuesdays with Morrie (TV 1999). (2019). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E463tZdAGn4
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