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Longing for a 'Better Life' in Death

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Longing for a 'Better Life' in Death

Longing for a 'Better Life' in Death

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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And it's time again for StoryCorps, traveling the country, recording people talking about their lives.

Tom Morgan told his story in Murray, Kentucky. He came to StoryCorps with his friend, Tracy Ross. Tom Morgan was 69 years old at the time and suffering from emphysema. His health was failing. And here he remembers his father.

Mr. TOM MORGAN: My father was James Blaine Morgan. Everybody called him B.G. I don't know where the nickname came from. Everybody in town knows a story about my daddy, and if I went to lunch, I went to coffee, I got a B.G. story. And my father was probably the finest man I ever met in my life. He was the kind of father I wish I could have been to my son.

The saddest day of my life was the day my father died. My father was in intensive care. He was on machines. And the doctor came along and says we could keep him alive, we may get him back out of this, we may not. But my dad was a logger. There was this old statement - if the lead team can't pull the wagon, don't hitch it up.

And I looked at him and I said that's his statement, that's my statement. Unplug the man. Let him die with dignity. If he makes it, fine; if he doesn't, at least let him die with dignity.

That haunted me for five years. I woke up in the middle of the night in just a cold sweat. And my ex-wife just reached over and touched me and says, B.G.'s dead, go back to sleep.

Mr. TRACY ROSS: You wear an oxygen mask now.

Mr. MORGAN: I do.

Mr. ROSS: It's all been very, very lately that's happened.

Mr. MORGAN: Yeah.

Mr. ROSS: Are you afraid of death?

Mr. MORGAN: I look forward to death.

Mr. ROSS: Why?

Mr. MORGAN: A matter of curiosity. I just think there'll be a better life.

Mr. ROSS: Do you have any regrets at all?

Mr. MORGAN: I could pick out a dozen and pop them to you, but I always had the theory that if you don't try it, when you go in the grave you'll say I could have. When I die, I'm going to go to the grave and say I did. I might not have done it well, but I did it.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: That's Tom Morgan with his friend Tracy Ross in Murray, Kentucky. Mr. Morgan died earlier this year.

His interview, like all StoryCorps interviews, will be archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. And you can subscribe to this project's podcast simply by going to

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