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Morrie died on a Saturday morning.

His immediate family was with him in the house. Rob made it in from Tokyo-he got to kiss his father good-bye-and Jon was there, and of course Charlotte was there and Charlotte's cousin Marsha, who had written the poem that so moved Morrie at his "unofficial" memorial service, the poem that likened him to a "tender sequoia." They slept in shifts around his bed. Morrie had fallen into a coma two days after our final visit, and the doctor said he could go at any moment. Instead, he hung on, through a tough afternoon, through a dark night.

Finally, on the fourth of November, when those he loved had left the room just for a moment-to grab coffee in the kitchen, the first time none of them were with him since the coma began-Morrie stopped breathing.

And he was gone.

I believe he died this way on purpose. I believe he wanted no chilling moments, no one to witness his last breath and be haunted by it, the way he had been haunted by his mother's death-notice telegram or by his father's corpse in the city morgue.

I believe he knew that he was in his own bed, that his books and his notes and his small hibiscus plant were nearby. He wanted to go serenely, and that is how he went.


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