Craig Morgan Recounts the Day His Son, Jerry, Drowned in Memoir Excerpt
Craig Morgan will release his memoir, God, Family, Country, this fall. Within it, the country star details his time in the U.S. military, his rise in country music in the early 2000s and more. Morgan also writes about the heart-wrenching day that changed his life forever: the day when his son, Jerry, drowned while tubing on Kentucky Lake in July of 2016. In People's exclusive excerpts from the book, Morgan describes exactly what happened on that day and his journey of grief afterward.
First, Morgan recalls bringing Jerry, who was adopted, into his family. He was working as a security guard at the time, and when he came home from work one night, Jerry was there as a foster child — but it was quickly obvious that Morgan and his wife, Karen, were going to keep him. They brought the then-9-month-old baby into their family, and his adoption became official when he was 2 1/2 years old.
The "Almost Home" singer also remembers summers spent at Kentucky Lake, where the family owned a home and Jerry, his grandpa and his uncle would often fish together.
The weekend Jerry drowned began with a pleasant surprise, Morgan writes. At the time, Jerry was an upcoming college freshman and had already moved to Marshall University in Huntington, W.V., for football camp. He decided to come home for a weekend, however, surprising his mother at 6AM one morning.
Jerry then accompanied his dad to his performance at the Grand Ole Opry, and the two enjoyed one another's company during the one-hour drive to the Opry House. Morgan had to leave for another show right after his performance, but he remembers giving his son a loving goodbye.
When he returned from the road on Sunday, Morgan says he was spending time with Karen at their pool while Jerry was out tubing with friends. Morgan texted his son, asking when he'd be home, and Jerry assured Morgan that they would be done soon. Later that afternoon, however, they got a call from law enforcement that Jerry had disappeared into the water.
Morgan then details the heartbreaking events that followed — including having to stay away from the lake to avoid attracting onlookers due to his status in country music. When law enforcement officials did find Jerry, they sent an ambulance to another part of the lake to distract the media while Morgan helped retrieve his son's body. He also details saying goodbye to his son for the last time.
In further excerpts from People, Morgan writes about his and Karen's grief journey, as well as the night he wrote "The Father, My Son, and the Holy Ghost" — his tribute to his son that received much acclaim after he performed it on the Grand Ole Opry in 2019.
Fans can read more about Morgan's story in God, Family, Country, out Sept. 27 via Blackstone Publishing.