Elizabeth Merrill is a terrific writer. ESPN is lucky to have her (anybody would be lucky to have her). And we're fortunate that we get to read her work. Like this story on Tommy Morrison who died on Sunday:

In a house on the edge of a dead-end road, an old woman waits for her son to die. The call will come any day now, she says, and when it does, she wants her youngest boy to be buried in Sulphur Springs, Ark., with the rest of the family. She dreads and hopes for this call, if that makes any sense. Only none of it makes sense.

Diana Morrison crushes a Pall Mall, lights another and dissects her son's fate. She's matter-of-fact about it, barely emotional, perhaps because Tommy Morrison, former World Boxing Organization champion, former HIV cautionary tale, has stared at death before. But this time it's different.

She says he has full-blown AIDS. She believes he's in his final days. His skin is jaundiced; his liver is failing. "He's too far gone," she says, flashing an incredulous look when asked whether he could recover. "He's in the end stages. That's it." She says Morrison has been bedridden for a year, can't speak and is being kept alive with the help of a feeding tube and a ventilator.

"I talk to him on the phone," she says. "I tell him that the family loves him, he's always in our prayers. What can you say to him? I don't tell him to keep fighting or nothing, because I want him to go."

She is interrupted by her ex-husband, who's living with her now because he's had a couple of strokes. Tim Morrison wraps his arms around Diana, and she tells him to go lie down, but he keeps pacing around the house with a blank look on his face.

[Photo Via: ESPN]