Sarah Corbett Morgan

S.C. Morgan grew up in Oregon, where she learned not everything is black and white. Now she lives in the jungles of Costa Rica where shades of gray cover the full spectrum. Her work has appeared in Camroc Press Review, BluestemFour and Twenty, and Notre Dame Magazine, among others. Website: www.scmorgan.com

 

Death Comes Calling

They said it was inevitable; no one lives forever.

He made it 98 years, though, and 94 of those were vibrant. A Great Depression kid, he grew up poor but went to college and had a pivotal role in politics— a game changer. A populist. Later he sailed the Mediterranean with his wife, and eventually they settled down in a small town back home. He remodeled their house and did woodworking for a couple of years.  

Then came the decline.

On the crazy nights he rampaged through the house, talked to people no one else could see, turned on lights, left doors open or unlocked, hid his shoes in the nightstand, stuffed his pockets full of toothbrushes, razors, soap, and other valuables because someone– They– were coming to get him.

Often during the day he was himself again, but the nights took a toll.

He was becoming a burden, something he had sworn he did not want to be. It became clear he could not care for himself, and at 92 his wife was too old, too physically tired, to care for the house and yard, the shopping and cleaning, him and his wild nights. It was killing her. 

So he was moved to a memory unit, the new euphemism for a nursing home. 

And he was better.

For a while.

He seemed to feel safer, although there were still unhinged nights when World War II swirled around him. The Admiral had ordered him to stand watch, he said. Occasionally he raged at the caregivers because no one grasped the critical nature of his assignments.

He did not understand why he could not be with his wife in their comfortable old house. He was lonesome, he said, even though his wife visited him every day, and often twice.

Then, and it wasn’t all that long after he moved there, he caught a cold from the staff.

What is the old adage? “Pneumonia is the old man’s friend.” Rapid and irregular heartbeats followed, then a fall, an emergency room visit, and finally, a family decision.

No antibiotics.

His youngest daughter, bereft, but still a warrior guarding her charge, sat by his side while hospice administered oral morphine.

For two days she whispered in his ear, hoping against hope his hearing would be the last thing to go.

20 thoughts on “Sarah Corbett Morgan”

  1. Beautiful, Sarah. It brought a tear to my eyes. You captures so much emotion with so few words. So many of us “of a certain age” relate to this experience, either first hand or because we see it creeping up on us and are anticipating it with dread.

    1. Slow computer maybe? It is interesting because I have had a few people say they can’t see Neil’s photo and a few others say there is a blue bar on the right-hand side. I have tried several computers and all load quickly and show the same info. I would love to have a Web Layout Editor and look into helping address these concerns. So if anyone is interested, please apply!

  2. I admire the beautiful, sparse telling, Sarah. It seems poetically fitting, similar, in some way, to approaching death, where often we’re whittled down to a stick. And I hoped hearing would be the last of the senses to go for my mother, who also had alzheimers. I flipped through radio channels as I sat wih her, searching for Leann Rimes, because Mama had been a yodler, too.

  3. Keep writing about your father, Sarah. There’s much to tell. That last image of the youngest daughter stays with me. What a powerful way to let this loved man go. I wish you could have included his photograph as you did on your website. What a vibrant, amazing man who lives on with you.

  4. Good web site! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I’m wondering how I might be notified when a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

  5. Hi there! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

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