Elder Chaplain is a site dedicated to informing, encouraging, and supporting anyone seeking to balance hope and acceptance as they encounter loss and mortality—whether with parents, families, friends, or themselves. Elder Chaplain seeks to engage those yearning to hear and share stories that illuminate the path toward our own mortality. Elder Chaplain doesn’t sugar-coat the pain of loss—some of what life deals us is simply devastating. At the same time, even when it feels impossible, Elder Chaplain searches for light shining in the darkness and reveals that light whenever it can be found.
Elder Chaplain is at the same time a blog written by an individual, Greg Morgan, who is 67 years old, getting older every day, and trying to learn from the experience. I am a part-time chaplain working in an urban hospital in Portland, OR who finds in this work an enormous source of wisdom about living. In its early stages Elder Chaplain will feature stories based on my personal experiences, but my wish is to invite the stories of others and create a community conversation. In going through life we all encounter loss and mortality with increasing frequency, and we all have stories that can light the path for others.
In the stories presented here, names and some specifics have been changed to protect confidentiality, and some are composites of multiple patients. My hope, though, is that their spirits and the lessons they have to teach us shine through.
If this resonates for you, I welcome your participation in this journey, and I invite your stories as well.
As I write this today, I have been married to my life partner for 44 years, and I am the father of two and the grandfather of one (soon to be two!). After a brief stint as a mathematician, I spent my professional career as a consultant focused around the intersection of technology and healthcare, working mostly with hospitals. After rejecting Roman Catholicism at age 12, I wandered for 25 years as a self-styled “devout agnostic,” then found a spiritual home among Quakers (the Religious Society of Friends), where I remain today. My other life passions include food, wine, and travel; bicycling, hiking, and mountaineering; and maintaining active relationships with the many friends who have graced my walk through life.
Ten years ago I retired from my consulting career and started a blog, Midlife Sabbatical, with the tag line “Listening for what comes next …” What came next was a master’s program at the Earlham School of Religion (a Quaker seminary), and I started a second blog, Midlife Seminary, to cover more spiritual topics. While I no longer contribute to these blogs, I invite you to explore them as you feel led.
About My Home Photo
My friend Bruce Alber is a retired forester and one of the most passionate and skilled photographers of the night sky this side of Webb’s Deep Space Telescope. This photo of Comet Neowise was taken very early on July 11, 2020. I loved it then, and it was the first image that came to mind for this blog. I like to think of myself in these later years as the comet, burning itself out gradually and beautifully while heading toward an even greater light over the horizon.