Murphys Don’t Quit Book Release on October 5th!
A post from each of the SEVEN Murphy Kids, AKA SLESKRM — Sam, Lauren, Erin, Shannon, Kelsey, Ryan & Maggie – and our Dad (Lauren and our Dad will post together)
Countdown – 7 Days until the Murphys Don’t Quit Book Release!
Today’s Post is from: Maggie
Murphy Kid Order/Number: Hi everyone! I’m Maggie, the youngest of the Murphys!
Quick background: I am currently a junior at Mizzou working towards a Communications degree. Favorite parts of the book: When my mom talks about the weird things Lauren would be fixated on during her recovery. I forgot about some of them so reading about them made me laugh out loud remembering those times.
When I was 4 years old, Lauren went away to college.
When I was 9 years old, Lauren moved to New York.
When I was 12 years old, Lauren was hit by a car and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
As you can see by the ages above, I have very few memories of Lauren before her accident. This can be challenging as so many of my siblings often reminisce about their great experiences, trips and memories that they had with Lauren. I simply do not have those same experiences.
With that being said, I hold on to two key memories in my brain of pre-accident Lauren. The first being when Lauren was in town from New York and took Kelsey, Ryan and me out of school to explore downtown St. Charles. She took us to lunch, brought us shopping and was the ‘coolest’ big sister ever! The other key memory is her fashion tips she would give me through FaceTime. She always thought of me as the baby and was so complimentary of my fashion choices back then.
April 19th, 2013.
I remember it was a Friday. My younger brother and I were off school due to a bomb threat at our grade school. I remember thinking, “I can’t wait to lay in my parent’s bed and watch TV all day.” The morning started off just as I had imagined. I woke up around 11 (an amazing start time for a grade school kid who randomly had the day off) and I had just started watching TV in our living room. I heard my grandma walk up the stairs and I figured she was just going to check on Ryan and me as we watched TV. I could tell by the look in her face that something very serious had happened. She then told us Lauren had been in a serious accident.
Within a half hour, my mom came home from work. I had about that long to process what `Lauren was in an accident’ meant. I figured it meant something serious but, being 12, I was still so confused. When my mom walked through the door, I suddenly understood what the term wailing truly meant.
It was an inhumane sound. Horrific, tragic and traumatizing. My mother, who was usually very strong and relatively (sorry mom lol) put together, came home from work and was crying, screaming, and wailing.
It was at that moment I knew my sister was dying. I just knew.
Shortly after, my dad came home I heard them move into their bedroom to start packing for the airport.
My mom was incoherent through her tears, but I heard her say, “Laurens accident resulted in a head injury. No one lives through those Dave.”
My mom came and gave me a kiss on the forehead and then she walked out the door to the airport.
Our house was quiet as a mouse. I couldn’t really comprehend what had just happened in the last hour of my life, or the impact it would make on the trajectory of our family.
Sam, my oldest sister, and her boyfriend, John (now husband), showed up at our house about an hour after my parents left for the airport. It was an incredibly calming experience to have Sam and John there during that first day. Sam never cried in front of me. Not once. She was always so strong and made me feel like everything would be okay.
Sam, I just wanted to take this time to thank you for having a brave face. Thank you for being the best big sister in the world.
By dinner time that night, most of our family was sitting around the kitchen table. It was somber, it was sad and it was quiet except for Kelsey sobbing into her hands. Kelsey, on the other hand cried in front of me, a lot… like every day for six months actually (lol)– still love you though Kels!
We would laugh because even though this situation was horrible, and like truly truly horrible — we at least had enough donuts at our house (delivered by family friends) to last the next 4 months.
That was April 19th, 2013.
My birthday is on May 10th. Typically, we would celebrate my birthday with a family dinner and MAYBE I would have 1-2 friends over for a sleepover. But not that year. That year I had three surprise birthday parties. I had not had a birthday party since I was in kindergarten (7th kid problems). I thought all the kids must think that I am so cool that I got so many gifts and parties.
Now that I am 20, I realize all of the people that are in Murphy’s corner who would do anything to make us feel loved. I would like to take this time to thank everyone who has prayed for our family, or anyone who helped orchestrate any of my many, many birthday parties 🙂
It is very confusing for a 12-year-old to have your mom move to LA, your dad travel back and forth, and to have everyone around you crying all of the time. Why was everyone always in a constant state of sadness? Lauren was going to be okay and the doctors would fix her. Right?
I spent the next three months pretty confused about what was really going on.
I realized how tragic April 19th was after the first time I visited Lauren and my mom at the Rehab Institute of Chicago (RIC). I was so excited to go visit as I had not seen my mom in three months. I sprinted down the long hallway and was ready to give my mom THE BIGGEST hug. I mean she missed all three of my surprise parties so I had a lot to catch her up on.
But I stopped dead in my tracks at the doorway to her room. I did not recognize Lauren.
Lauren could not hold her head up, did not give me a hug or even acknowledge that I was there. She just stared with her lifeless eyes off into space.
She was bald. She was in a wheelchair and worst of all… she was a liar? She told me she had blonde hair!! I then looked at my mom and she had not gotten her hair done in months (obviously) and her roots had started to grow out.. And wait.. She has red hair too??
RIC was very hard to visit as a kid. It was during those visits where I slowly came to the realization that my life would never be the same again. I watched my mom feed my sister like a baby, give her a bath and be her caregiver. It was a reality check moment that I knew the doctors would not be able to ‘fix her’ like I originally assumed would happen.
By August, my mom and Lauren had moved home. This meant as a 7th grader I now had a hospital bed in my living room for my sister with a traumatic brain injury… very confusing and a lot to process as a kid.
When they first moved home, I was my mom’s helper and would do everything she asked me to. Lauren still had very little independence and very little speaking ability. I found that if I was really, and I mean REALLY annoying around Lauren, I would get a reaction out of her. Again remember, at the time she was nonverbal and also would not even really ‘look at you’ in any meaningful way. So, if I could annoy her as her little sister and she would react, that was a win for me.
As the months went on, Lauren started to have seizures and needed to be put on an anti-seizure medication called ‘Keppra.’ This medicine caused Lauren to be extremely angry all of the time. This was unfortunate as she would take that anger out on the kids that still lived at home.
After a few years Lauren’s seizure medication reaction had subsided but she became very particular about specific things… brain injuries can be so challenging. She would get so mad and yell at me but be unable to express herself due to her aphasia.
She would get mad if I left a pair of shoes in the living room, or if I walked on the grass instead of the sidewalk. She would get mad if at a restaurant I crumpled up my napkin rather than folding it perfectly and placing it at the end of the table. The worst was when I got my driver’s license. I think in Lauren’s mind she struggled with me being the baby in the family and driving her around. Which I 100% get — that would be so hard.
But this feeling would result in Lauren relentlessly yelling at me in the car to get off at random exits to see a new building that was being built. Or yelling at me and not being able to articulate what she wanted because of aphasia. It was so hard, and I would often silently cry to myself.
High school was really a confusing time for me because I was mad. However, I couldn’t be mad at Lauren as none of this was her fault. She did not ask for her life to be taken away from her. The only person I had to be mad at was myself because why didn’t I just bring my shoes upstairs? Why didn’t I just switch lanes when Lauren told me to? Why wasn’t I more patient with her? Wouldn’t I hate it if I was 28/29 and my 16-year-old sister was driving me around? Although it was hard, I knew Lauren’s life was harder.
While it is still hard sometimes with Lauren and her mood swings, I am so insanely proud of her. Sometimes I forget how much of a miracle Lauren is because of how close I am to the story. Lauren’s accident has shaped my entire life into me becoming the person I am today. Because of Lauren, I am less judgmental of others — because you have no idea what someone else is going through. Lauren is such an inspiration to everyone around her and never fails to amaze me in the things she does.
I remember the first speech Lauren and my mom ever gave. I was a nervous wreck and all my siblings kept asking me why. I said, “Because I heard them practicing it.” However, as soon as Lauren got on that stage, she had the entire audience’s full attention and the speech ended with a standing ovation. This is when I realized to stop being surprised at all the amazing things Lauren can achieve.
Finally, to my mom, you have given up so much for our family and I am so proud of you and this book. There is no doubt in my mind that Lauren would not be where she is today if she did not have a mama bear like you to lead her through it. I don’t know how you manage being as great as you are to all of us when there are so many of us. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you and Lauren! #kindessisfree
What Can YOU Do Now?
Help Support our Mom’s Book & Lauren’s Recovery Journey!
1) SHARE this post!
2) ORDER a “Murphys Don’t Quit” book on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Murphys-Dont-Quit-Unlocking-Hopeless/dp/1631955179/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=murphys+dont+quit&qid=1630981777&sr=8-1) or Barnes & Noble (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/murphys-dont-quit-colleen-murphy/1138862342?ean=9781631955181)!
3) ATTEND the October 10th book launch party from 11am – 3pm at Piazza Messina in Cottleville, MO.
4) CONTACT US if your company, organization, or group is interested in our mom, Colleen Murphy, and Lauren telling their story through their live (or virtual) speaking platform – LaurenMurphysdontquit@gmail.com. Events like these provide our mom and Lauren great joy, in that they can share Lauren and our family’s story, connect with and inspire others, and spread awareness of traumatic brain injury and aphasia!
THANK YOU! We ❤️ Team Murphy!