Letter From Lauren’s Dad 2 Days After Accident

Imagine, for a moment, all of the people you know in life:
your friends, your family, all the folks your kids are friends with and their
families, your coworkers, acquaintances and all of the other people you care
about.  Now, multiply that circle of
people by 9, 7 kids + Colleen and I, add in a couple of parishes and the
wonderful community that is IWA, and you can begin to see the vastness of the
support system that we are feeling right now.
It is impossible to thank everyone for their outpouring of support,
generosity, and encouragement. Please know that we hear, read and feel all of
the thoughts and prayers coming our way and we truly appreciate it.What an odd journey we are on right now.  It is a very difficult time for us, as you
can imagine, but it is strangely odd as well.
It is odd how I can stand with a doctor who is explaining to me CT scan
results just taken on Lauren’s brain, and I can get through it just fine.  Sometimes, I do have to ask him to slow down
and talk to me like I am two years old because I don’t understand all of the fancy
words he is saying, nor do I see on the screen exactly what he is so easily
telling me is there–it all looks the same to me.  The doctors and nurses are teaching us about
ICP (inter-cranial pressure) numbers, explaining to me why they have blood clot
sleeves on Lauren’s legs, and telling me all about the exotic medicines they
are administering to Lauren to help with this and that.  I can handle all of that with basically a
cold, matter of factness, if that is even a word.  Yet when I get a text or read a Facebook post,
I usually break down and cry a bit.
Countless times so far Colleen and I have read these posts, broke down
and cried, hugged each other, and then soldier on.  We are not crying because the posts are bad, they
are just visible signs of the love and support we are receiving from what we
are calling Team Murphy and it is overwhelming, to say
the least.

Often in life I seem to go through just doing my own thing
and never realizing the type of impact what I do has on those around me.  I am usually in my own little world.  For those of you that took a moment to write
a note or send a message, it might have only taken you a second, but it means
the world to us.   Just when I start to
feel alone and up against it, these messages force me to realize that there is
a great big support system out there, working just as hard as we are, and
towards the same goal.

What follows next is a brief attempt to thank some folks for
what they have done for our family.

You all know who you are, but this support ranges from an
old friend facebooking me out of the blue offering to pay for my entire
family’s flights to and from LA.  He said
just say the word and it will be done.
Unbelievable!  Others are
organizing prayer chains in places we never thought we knew anyone: Canada,
Michigan, Cleveland, OH–the list goes on and on.  We could not be doing what we are doing
without this special group behind us.

Sandy Hayes from
our St. Norbert/IWA group organized
2 hotel rooms with the help of the Crain
, also an IWA alum family, right down the street from the
hospital.  What a comfort it is to take a
shower, have a place to get your mind right for a second, and take a nap in a
place where you are not bent up and folded into a chair in a hospital
room.  I will never be able to repay this
type of generosity.  Matter of fact, I
think we have heard individually from every single member of the Hayes family.  Irish folks tend to stick together.

Shea Whittaker somehow
managed to have delicious hamburgers and turkey burgers, who knew she could
even find turkey burgers in LA, delivered to our hospital room and from what
Sam is telling me, there is now a schedule developed as to how we are getting
fed over the course of the upcoming days.

If you ever wonder where to send your girls to high school,
I am living proof that Incarnate Word Academy is, bar none, the best place to
have your daughter be a part of.  I have
spoken on the family aspect of IWA at countless High School nights and touted
their praises on many a soccer field around the State–as many of you can
attest.  This weekend I am seeing
firsthand what this actually means.  IWA means
a lot of things to the Murphy’s but it can all be summed up in two words: Sharon Gerken.  I don’t care where the Red Knights are
playing or what it is they are competing in, chances are you will find Sharon
there, rooting them on.  She still knows
every player on each team’s names and that is more than I can say, and I have a
kid on the team.  I am only guessing, but
I imagine as soon as she heard the news, she was immediately offering her
support in a text message to me.  Hers
had to be one of the first few texts we received.  She has not only personally offered whatever
assistance is necessary to fly Erin home from college (if that is what she
decides she wants to do), but Sharon organized this prayer service tonight for
Lauren, and I am sure it will be nothing but first class.  Sharon is our direct link to all of the
resources that IWA brings to the table, and trust me, that is powerful.  I can honestly say my family has witnessed
the “family” aspect of IWA like no other during this time.  I have been a part of this community for over
12 years and we have been on the giving side many a time, in small ways, but to
be on the receiving end is something that I cannot put into words very
well.  It is overwhelming, to say the

Folks at home like the Palazzolo’s
taking charge of getting my little ones to where they need to be when we can’t
be there is something that is making life a bit easier here.  I want my kids at home to go on doing what
they need to do. Without the Palazzolo’s support, this would not be
possible.  Everyone needs that one
special friend and to me that is Palo.  We have been the best man in each other’s
weddings and he has been there with me from the beginning.  Always there for me to call and vent and
never judging me, stopping what he was doing the minute I called him with news
of Lauren and taking us to the airport during rush hour.  I am pretty sure he is on his way to LA right
now.  Thank you my friend.

Colleen’s best friend Katie
dropped everything and showed up at the airport not only with herself but with
a ticket to LA for Grandma that her
family paid for.  Her being here for
Colleen is of countless value and I do not know how we would have made it
through so far without her.  She takes
copious notes that only she can read while the doctors and others talk to us so
we can remember what we were told.
Additionally, she is a great buffer for us with the hospital.  Thank you so much for being here.

News like this is tough to receive.  Colleen got a call from a detective on Friday
afternoon around 2:30 – 3:00.  He told
her that Lauren was hit by a car while jogging and that she has internal
injuries.  She then called me crying.  Not knowing what to expect, and knowing that the
owner of the company she works for has recently passed away and her company is
going through some minor changes, I thought she was going to tell me she had
just been let go; I had a sinking feeling in my stomach.  Now I desperately wish that was all she had
to tell me.  Imagine how hard it is to
tell your kids one of their siblings is hurt, and hurt badly.  Especially in the world today with social
media, word gets out fast and we wanted them to hear it from us.  We were able to tell everyone with the
exception of Kelsey.

Friday, before Colleen’s call to me, I was preparing to
sneak out of work a bit early to watch Kelsey play soccer for good ole
IWA.  I had a long week of work traveling
all over the Northeast performing service center inspections.  What a week. I was in Boston the day of the
bombings, although about 45 minutes from downtown. It has just not been my
week. I was looking forward to not staying in a hotel for a change and sleeping
in my own bed.  It has always been my
rule to never miss a high school game of any sort.  Your kids only play in roughly 25 per year,
that is 100 if they are lucky enough to be on varsity for 4 years.  And trust me, the time goes by real
quick.  Take my advice, do what you can
to not miss any of it, it is worth it.

Colleen had told everyone the news with the exception of
Kelsey who was preparing to play her soccer game and was warming up during the
time we got the call.  Colleen was able
to call on our friends the Kienstra’s
to help us deliver the news. Kelsey basically spent her grade school years as a
second kid at Tom and Jill’s house, so
Jill was asked to break the news to Kelsey after the game.  They did so gracefully and helped Kelsey
through this.  They drove, not only
Kelsey, but one of them brought her car out as well so she did not have to
drive it, the 25 miles out of their way to our house.  Class act all the way, Tom Kienstra, and
class act will make a lot of the Norbert folks chuckle. Tom takes a lot of
grief, but I am here to tell you, when the chips are down, the Kientra’s could
be counted on.  Note, these folks are
both a part of our St. Norbert and IWA families.  I am telling you it is the best group in the
world to be a part of and we are very lucky.

Additionally, my old teacher, friend and pastor, Father Mike Turek, reached out to me
today.  It was very touching for Colleen
and myself.

Our new parish, Assumption,
has been there for us as well.  Somehow Fr. Joe knew all that was going on and
reached out to Colleen on the phone and prayed with her.  I am guessing that the Ballard’s informed him.  Many
thanks to the both of them.  The
Ballard’s are a great family, one I doubt could do much more for my family, as
on a normal basis as they serve as Maggie’s personal taxi service to weekly practices
and games.  Stacie has been a great friend, workout partner, and listener to
Colleen.  She is serving as our
Assumption ambassador to relay messages.
Thanks to all of the Assumption folks who are here tonight.  We appreciate your support.

If such a thing has to happen to one of my kids and it had
to happen so far away, I am eternally thankful that we are at Cedars-Sinai Medical
Center.  What a place this is. The
doctors and nurses have been first class, and I do not think we could have
asked for more.  Our nurses, Bridget and John, not only go out of
their way to explain to us what is going on each step of the way, but you can
tell they really feel for Lauren.  Maybe
it is because she is so young, or because they can see how beautiful she is
from all the pictures we have on the wall, or whatever that special “it” is,
they get it.  Nurse John has went out of
his way for us whether it is getting drinks, information or a spot to eat in
the employee breakroom so we could eat dinner in peace.

This place has taken care of tons of famous people and all
of the buildings and streets have names you would recognize.  Max Factor has a building here (Lauren would
love that). There is a street named George Burns and one after Gracie
Allen.  The cafeteria is the Ray Charles
Memorial Cafeteria–you can’t see what you’re eating, but it sure does taste
good.   Liz Taylor even stayed two rooms down from
where Lauren is staying now. Please know that we are in good company and very
capable hands.

Visitors are starting to show up.  Lauren’s roommate, Courtney, showed up last night all the way from New York City.  After a full day of trying to get here, plane
cancellations, taxi issues and LA traffic, she finally made it.  She immediately lit up the room with her
personality and her outlook.  She started
applying lotion to Lauren’s hands and feet, not hospital lotion, the good stuff
as she calls it, whatever that is.  She
is talking to Lauren as if nothing is wrong and keeping us all very positive
and focused.  This has been invaluable
for Colleen and I, as we are still in a state of shock and focusing is an issue
for us.  She is Lauren’s biggest
supporter and writes about it all in the blog they share together, Life of the
Lucy’s.  Many of you here today probably already
follow their blog, if not, it can be found at lifeofthelucys.com.  All of her and Lauren’s adventures in NYC can
be found here and it’s definitely worth a read.
Sometimes sad, usually adventurous, but always funny, I recommend it.

Lauren’s old friend and IWA alum, Diane, showed up last night with her Mom.  How touching it is
for someone to make this long trip just to show support for our daughter and
our family.  This is truly a wonderful
gift and I am sure it gives Lauren a lift knowing she is here.  Diane, Courtney and Colleen are planning for
Kelsey to have the full spa treatment at the Chase Hair Salon, where Diane
works, for IWA’s upcoming Prom next weekend.
As stated earlier, it is so important for us to know our kids at home
are getting to do the things that they should be doing, even if we are not
there to do it with them.

The extended Murphy
 has been a tremendous source of support as well.  Even if my niece did get the better of us yesterday at the IWA v. St. Dominic
game, we know she is still pulling for Lauren.
My brothers and sisters have all reached out to me and are a constant
source of help and guidance during our time of struggle, especially my sister, Theresa, and my brother-in-law, Jim Monroe.  From providing dinner for the kids at home,
to making sure Sam has whatever is needed, it is a great comfort to both
Colleen and I.  Jim is not too bad at
helping our daughters deal with the completely unwarranted speeding tickets
they always seem to somehow bring home or the other tickets that just show up
in the mail.  Isn’t technology great?

I lastly want to mention the kids left at home.  Shannon got a ride 4 hours back from Missouri
State from her roommate Megan. What
is it about roommates, but thank God for them.
Ryan and Maggie are holding up as best they can and are still in need of
all of your support, as this is a long way from being over.  Kelsey is doing well as previously
mentioned.  Erin is on her own down at
Spring Hill, but she also has a tremendous supporting cast helping her and she
will be coming home shortly after her finals are taken.

I would like to have a special mention made for Sam.  She is holding the whole thing that is the
Murphy family together on the home front and it is not easy, trust me.  I am sure our house is infinitely cleaner
than it usually is, and she is the one responsible for getting the word out to
all of you in the “Updates on Lauren Murphy” email chain.  She is organizing the food list being
delivered to us out here from you all, as well as being the point person for
our family with the outside world.  This
is no easy task and while I am proud of all of my kids, I am especially proud
of how well she has handled this and stepped up as a leader for me and my
family.  I also appreciate how Johnny has been there by her side the
whole time.  Are you sure you know what
you’re getting yourself into, young man?
Seriously, we love you for helping out in any way you can.

Lastly, I would like to give an update on Lauren.  She is holding her own today.  She has had a bath, her teeth brushed and
most of the bandages removed from her head.
She looks a lot better today.  Her
vital signs are stable and she is responding to stimuli on both sides of her
body.  Yesterday it was only the left
side that was responding, so this is at least a bit of positive news.  She was able to kick her right leg in
response to them pinching her, whereas yesterday this was not happening.

She is on a ventilator to aid with her breathing and is on
heavy meds to 1) ease the pain and 2) to help reduce the swelling in her brain,
which remains the most critical battle we are fighting right now.  We realize that we still have a long way to
go and the road ahead is not an easy one.
We remain realistic but also optimistic
I truly believe that we will get through this, and please know that
without all of you, it would be a much tougher task.

Thank you all for coming tonight, there is no way my family
and I can ever repay your kindness and generosity, but please know that it is
very truly appreciated and we consider ourselves lucky to know each and every
single one of you.  It is very difficult
and humbling for me to accept help in this fashion and all I can say is thank

I am sure I left a few important folks off of this list and
for that I again apologize.

Take care, God bless and remember, Murphy’s don’t quit.

Your Friend,