Family is held up as being immensely important, even more so than platonic friends. The reader is asked to consider the difference between the way that Morrie’s family functions and the way that Mitch’s family functions. Morrie’s immediate family is very close; his sons and his wife, Charlotte, are around to support him through his illness. Morrie believes deeply in familial responsibility, saying that his family can’t choose not to support him through his illness like a friend could. Because of this, he places a great degree of emphasis on the decisions to marry and have children when Mitch brings up the topic.
On the other hand, Mitch’s brother, Peter, moved to Spain and is battling cancer mostly estranged from Mitch and the rest of their family. The text does present a hopeful tone for repairing relationships with family, however. After Morrie’s death, Mitch is finally able to reach out successfully to Peter with a message of love and compassion, and Peter is responsive to that.