The day before, Charlotte called Mitch to tell him that Morrie isn't doing well, but Morrie still wants Mitch to come visit. As Mitch walks up the path to Morrie's house, he notices all the plants and details as though he's seeing them for the first time. Connie answers the door and tells Mitch that Morrie isn't doing well at all. Charlotte comes down the hall, hugs Mitch, and tells him that Morrie is still asleep. Mitch helps Charlotte tidy the kitchen, putting the food he brought into the fridge. Mitch apologizes for bringing the food, but tells the reader that bringing it is a tradition at this point.
Mitch's thought about seeing the outside of Morrie's house mirrors Morrie's earlier statement about feeling like he's seeing nature for the first time, which provides a marker of Mitch's transformation. Mitch appears to fully understand the role of food—it's an offering and a tradition, brought simply for goodwill and friendship's sake, despite being practically useless for Morrie.
As he waits in the living room, Mitch picks up the newspaper and reads about two children who had shot each other with their fathers' guns, and a baby who had been found buried in a garbage can in Los Angeles. Finally, Charlotte comes and tells Mitch that Morrie is ready.
The newspaper contains stories of violent, senseless deaths of youth, which tragically contrasts with what is happening in Morrie's house—the death of a person who’s live a long and full life.
Mitch sees a hospice nurse sitting at the end of the hall, and then notices that Morrie's office is empty. He turns around and sees that Morrie is in bed. Mitch hears Morrie's words, "when you're in bed, you're dead" in his head, but puts a smile on as he enters the bedroom. Morrie is having trouble speaking now, and Mitch takes Morrie's hand. Mitch notices that Morrie is unshaven, and wonders how Morrie's beard can continue to grow when the rest of him is dying.
Morrie's aphorism "when you're in bed, you're dead" is coming true. The hospice nurse indicates that Morrie could go at any time. Morrie's beard growth further proves Morrie's earlier point that aging is growth—parts of him are still growing and changing, and from what we know of Morrie, he's certainly still thinking and processing.
Morrie's speaking is labored and hard to understand, but he tells Mitch that Mitch is a good soul. Mitch replies that he doesn't know how to say goodbye. Morrie replies that this is how they say goodbye, and that he loves Mitch. Mitch says "I love you" back. Morrie begins to cry, and Mitch holds him and strokes his hair. When Morrie collects himself, Mitch says that he'll return next Tuesday and expects Morrie to be more alert. Morrie snorts, which is as close to a laugh as he can manage.
The disease has fully taken over Morrie's body. While he can still respond to some degree, it's contingent on Mitch's ability to read and respond to Morrie. This ability on Mitch's part, however, is indicative of his transformation. He is capable now of truly paying attention to Morrie, and he's capable of expressing love and emotion fully.
Mitch picks up his bag and kisses Morrie, holding the embrace longer than usual in case it makes Morrie happy. Mitch begins to cry as he pulls away, and Morrie raises his eyebrows at the sight. Mitch tells the reader he believes it was a brief moment of satisfaction for Morrie that he finally made Mitch cry.
We see in the climax that Morrie has accomplished his goal of imparting emotion and sensitivity to Mitch. Mitch seems unembarrassed at his tears. By crying, he's finally figured out how to say goodbye in a loving and meaningful way.