7-Day Countdown to Our Mom’s “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 – 2 Days until the “Murphys Don’t Quit” Book Release!
Today’s Post is from: Sam
Murphy Kid Order/Number: Oldest of the 7 – and the prettiest, smartest, most athletic…you get the picture!! 😉
Quick background: I am your typical, first-born, Type A gal 😊. I’m married to John (7 years this November!) and we have 3 children – Danny (~5), Avery (2.5) and Tony (3 months). I work in healthcare finance.
Favorite parts of the book: 1) The homecoming celebration; 2) Reminiscing about Lauren’s various fixations during the early phases of her recovery.
Lockstep is the best word I can use to describe my life and Lauren’s for nearly 25 years – until April 2013 when Lauren’s traumatic brain injury occurred. You see, Lauren and I are Irish twins, born less than a year apart. To be specific, she and I are the same age for 19 days every year, with Lauren’s birthday being on October 5th (2 days from today!) and mine on the 24th. When we were younger, I HATED these 19 days. Lauren always made a point to remind me (daily, hourly, sometimes even more often than that – as any good sibling would!) that we were the same age. She knew this got under my skin … she knew me well.
Despite my insistence regarding how many trips around the sun we each had (and I had MORE!), the truth is that Lauren and I experienced the big and little milestones of life at the same time our entire childhood and early adulthood. Sure, we had separate groups of friends, different specific passions and, of course, unique personality traits. But, in many respects, our lives were nearly identical. We went to the same elementary and high schools, we both played soccer and softball, we did dance, we wore the same size clothes, we shared cars, etc. We also fought like cats and dogs because our lives were stacked on top of each other and intertwined – along with those of our other 5 siblings and parents. We were a mess, but a wonderful mess 😊
We both switched schools when our family moved to Florissant; Lauren was in 5th grade and I was in 6th. Together, we navigated the challenging and sometimes awkward process of settling in and making new friends during these “tween” years. We were both lucky to be outgoing and social, and warmly welcomed by a new community at St. Norbert in Florissant. We both thrived. From there, we both transitioned to our high school years and attended Incarnate Word Academy. There, we both ran cross country, played soccer, and were active in school activities. We worked your typical high school jobs at restaurants at night and on weekends (and both our jobs were located on Lindbergh Boulevard in North County!). We both headed off to college with BIG DREAMS and excitement to spread our wings. To have SPACE, FREEDOM, and SEPARATE lives from our large and crazy family. At one point in college, we even lived across the street from each other on Wydown Boulevard. I was at Washington University in St. Louis and Lauren at Fontbonne University; our dorms were on opposite sides of the street. We were both achievers; we graduated with our degrees and were eager to start our careers. We had separate fields (Lauren with fashion/sales and accounting/finance for me), but we both were determined to make a splash and find success.
Lauren and I are not the “best friend” type of sisters – ask anyone that ever rode in our carpool or played on our shared sports teams 😊 This meant we did not call or text every day – or even regularly. BUT, we DID (and still DO!) band together for all the important things: holidays, issues/challenges, family events, helping our younger siblings (if needed), and forming alliances (when needed) against mom and dad when we thought they were SO unreasonable (as all parents can be!).
You probably can sense the buildup and where I am going with this post. My life and Lauren’s, while different in many ways, moved in LOCKSTEP for 25 years. Being basically the same age and in the same life moment as Lauren was all I ever knew. I see now and know now that I took this for granted. I never imagined this is NOT how things would be. Life is so very precious and fragile. Our Murphy family – and many families – find this out the hard way when a tragic event happens. Lauren’s accident felt like an unexpected gut punch – the biggest and hardest gut punch you can imagine. BAM!! And this gut punch did not go away quickly; it was one that sometimes had additional waves of punches, and made breathing normally hard to do for a long while.
As many of you know, Lauren’s traumatic brain injury occurred when she was hit by a car while running on 4/19/2013. From that day, Lauren’s recovery journey began – and is still going, 8+ years later. Instead of providing summary details of the twists and turns of her recovery journey (I encourage you to read my mom’s book for that!!), what I will tell you in this post is that in the days and weeks following Lauren’s accident, I began to swallow the tragic and devastating fact that the lockstep of our two lives, in the ways we originally envisioned, was no more. Yes, both our lives are still moving forward and have lots of positive aspects, but they are different – and this different is SO HARD. We pray for continued recovery progress for Lauren and we see day in and day out how hard she works. She is a prime, living and breathing example that hard work pays off. She is my motivation for so many challenges in life. Acceptance of the new path Lauren is on is beyond difficult, but I see that she continues to find herself and make progress – and these things bring me waves of peace.
It’s easy to spiral in the grief and despair of the loss of the lockstep of our paths. Some moments I feel I’ve spent past 8+ years since Lauren’s accident “going it alone”. Sounds dramatic, yes, but this is precisely how I’ve felt. Lauren has, of course, been here – she SURVIVED her accident and is a WARRIOR in her recovery journey. However, I always thought that we would move through the career, dating, marriage, babies and other phases of life – TOGETHER. It’s been truly bittersweet experiencing these life events as Lauren’s recovery journey and new trajectory unfold. Her new trajectory is an amazing one – full of courage, inspiration, perseverance (to name a few things!) – but it is also hard to accept, fully. I ground myself in counting my blessings and focusing on the positives, especially the joy my children bring me!
Another specific and challenging realization for me over the past 8+ years is that many of the shared memories that Lauren and I have from our 25 years of “lockstep” childhood and early adulthood are now primarily with me. Lauren and I, as you know, are the two oldest of the family. We lovingly call ourselves the “first generation” Murphy kids – which is meant to distinguish us as the ones that had the most responsibilities (babysitting, cleaning, laundry, part-time jobs, etc. ) and also the least amount – to be frank – of money (things were tight back then!) – as compared to the “second generation”, who we like to say had it SO MUCH easier (I’m sure they will debate this on some fronts!!). Not all memories are lost for Lauren, but many are fuzzy … and Lauren’s aphasia makes it difficult for her to retrieve and share the details. It is emotional for me to think about and experience the “gap” that I often feel when the Murphy siblings are all hanging out and sharing memories. “First generation” is now primarily represented by me – thus, underrepresented … because one, Lauren cannot easily share her memories and two, we are outnumbered by the 5 “second generation” kids.
Lauren’s accident and recovery journey has had a profound impact on our entire family – and on many of you reading this. There are so many emotions, details, memories. It’s hard to put it down on paper coherently and to do justice for the story … BUT! … our amazing mom, Colleen Murphy, has somehow done this very thing. Our mom has worked incredibly hard to collate Lauren’s story, along with that of her own and our family’s – creating an amazing book relaying her unique perspective as a mother and primary caregiver. It’s an INCREDIBLE read – and while I know I am biased, I am confident you’ll feel the same.
My mom’s objective for the book, along with Lauren’s and that of our family, is to share Lauren’s story in order to connect with and inspire others. By doing so, we hope to spread awareness regarding traumatic brain injury and aphasia – which have both drastically changed Lauren’s life, along with that of each member of our family.
I encourage you all to purchase a copy of the Murphys Don’t Quit book! We love you all and thank you for your wonderful and continued support of our family ❤️.
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!
Sam, your family story is bittersweet and hopeful. I hope to have my book club read the book. Maybe we can zoom with your Mom and Lauren. Please give my thanks to your whole family for sharing such a intimate and difficult experience. It is so great that you all can find joy and hope in Lauren’s continuing recovery. Sending love and prayers