|Tom with Louise Deneke-Kohn, 1913-1990|
|Florence Pounds-Iacano, 1924-2007|
|Barb Morton-Graham, 1935-2014|
|Louise Ohnsat-Kohn, 1875-1959|
There was no hospice then in May 1959. The death watch occurred at home. The front bedroom, where great-grandparents' photos watched my grandparent's bed, was dark, the shades drawn, the curtains pulled together. Grandma was alone in the bed, but five young women stood, sat, or kneeled around the bed. Two of them—my mother Louise and my aunt Sr. Edna Louise—were registered nurses. Even these women well-versed in care and comfort were at the far reaches of what medicine could offer in 1959 rural Kansas. The palliatives were few: a dry towel to dab at sweat and tears, a moist cloth to wet the lips, a slow fan to move the air, a low murmur of another recitation of the rosary. The words repeated momentarily in my head, drawn again into the Catholic practice I had thought I have recovered from; one voice chants, "Hailmaryfullofgrace thelordiswiththee, blessedart-thouamongwomen, andblessedisthefruitofthywomb,Jesus." A throng of automatonic responses, "Holymarymotherofgod prayforussinners nowandatthehourofourdeath,Amen." Not quite a monotone, barely inflected, related to chant, but never a sweeping antiphon.
I realize now that the muddle of words was not a means of compressing the rosary to its alloted ten minutes (one credo and triad followed by five decades of an Our Father and ten Hail Marys), but of creating a low buzz that blocked the world outside the house, a white noise that dampened the curses and weeping from the men smoking in the front parlor, a somber music that balanced the flow of visiting neighbors and family who brought pies, cookies, hams, roasts, casseroled vegetables, potted stews, and repeated questions of the details of sickness and impending death.
Pulled back—Barbara stirred, coughed weakly—to the hospice room, with my dying cousin (no longer merely a cousin-in-law) and the ebb and flow of her friends, motocycle riders, lesbian couples, cat lovers, all part of the extended family of a pair of women, married—by the authority of the state of Ontario, Canada—now these ten years, six months, and seventeen days, and still lovers through these thirty years, five months, and nineteen days, who must now separate for a time.
|Barbara and Marcia, about 1990|
Notes for her biographyBarbara Morton-Graham, known to her close friends as Bat or Ol' Bat, was born 13 April 1935 to George Elwood Morton and Ethel Oracelia Derry in Alliance, Stark county, Ohio. She was their only child.
She married James Crawford Graham from [HOME UNKNOWN] on 15 Aug 1954 in Cleveland, Ohio. They lived in Ohio, Azusa CA, and San Anselmo, CA; and they had two sons: Anthony Crawford and James Chase.
Barbara created a new home with Marcia Gallas of North Miami Beach FL in Nov 1983, and they lived in Novato CA, Asheville NC, and Cincinnati OH. They celebrated their meeting date with their marriage on 8 Sep 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Barbara is survived by her loving wife Marcia Gallas of Blue Ash, OH, sons Tony Graham and wife Vangie of Neshkoro, WI, James Graham and wife Peggy of Boulder Creek, CA, and grandchildren, Nikki Patten of Queen Creek, AZ, Kyle Graham of Tempe, AZ , Triona Graham and Brigid Graham of Vallejo, CA, Keiva Hummel of Oakland, CA, and Lauren Katz of Boulder Creek, CA. Cousins Charles Derry and husband Thomas Kohn of Palm Springs, CA, Denise Preucel and Max Gast of Cleveland, OH.