My youngest son, Nick Murphy, was killed on November 19, 2016. Prior to that day, I had never used Facebook on any regular basis. I thought it was a waste of time and a waste of energy. I always wondered why so many people cared so much about other people’s lives. It took a life altering event like the death of my son for me to understand the power of Facebook and the power of connecting with other people.
I was always a little bit of a loner. I worked hard. I loved my family. I was outwardly successful. But in reality I really only paid attention to two things. My immediate family and my law practice. I left all of the “community and volunteer stuff” to my wife Theresa. She was also an attorney, but she made the effort to get involved, join organizations, volunteer her time, and take the time to have friends and raise our four kids. Don’t get me wrong, I was a great husband and father, I was just a lousy friend and a lousy member of our community because I didn’t have “time” for it and for other people. It took 54 years and the death of my son to show me how wrong I really was.
This book is partly my therapy, my journal, and my outpouring of thoughts and beliefs as I have lived them since that fateful day in November. It is nothing more than my life as I have lived it on a day by day basis since Nick’s death. There are good days and bad days. There are highs and lows. There is much sadness and great joy. Most importantly, this "book" is a labor of love for my son Nicholas James Murphy. I honor him by telling his story. I honor him by continuing on with his legacy of sacrifice, commitment and bravery. I honor him by being the best person I can be for the rest of my life and through what we achieve with and through the Nicholas J. Murphy Foundation. It is a lofty task, but we are up to it.
I am the luckiest guy on the earth. I married my best friend, Theresa Brodeur Murphy, after law school in 1988. Today, she is still my best friend and wife. More importantly, I am the father of four unbelievably great children. Grant is 24 and a third year law student at Valparaiso College of Law. Alec is 21 and a Senior at Bradley University. Nick would be 20 if he had not been killed while serving in the United States Navy. Delaney is 16 and a Junior at Dunlap High School. I also grew up with two great parents and a great sister. That is why I am so lucky.
No one has been blessed any more than I have with love and with God’s blessing. God has been good to me and I know it. This book is in honor of God and all that He has bestowed upon me and my family. They say that when bad things happen to you, you either turn to God or you turn away from God. I think that is probably true. I am happy to report that I turned to God. I could not have survived without my family and friends, but there is no doubt in my mind that God has carried me through it all. I am sure there are many days in this journey where there have been only one set of footprints in the sand as God picked me up and carried me through those dark days and times.
So here we go. One day at a time. Like my life, this will be a work in progress. I am not a professional writer. I am not an author. Some weeks or months I may write a lot. Some weeks or months I might not write at all. No matter what, you will hear my true thoughts and feelings. You will know what it is like to walk in my shoes just a little. Not too much because no one should have to bear what we have gone through. No parent should have this experience. But we do, and there are many more parents and families out there just like us. It is the club that no one wants to belong to. It is something I would not wish on my worst enemy.
I have never written a book or published a journal. I have no idea where this journey will take me or where it will end. I do know that God has given me the ability to write and speak well, and that for whatever reason, he has put me in this position. He has opened up my eyes to the rest of the world and all of the people in it. He has chosen me to pour out my feelings in the hope that others will be inspired and helped. He has taught me that there are those walking along the same or a similar path that can benefit from my experiences. That those that have problems in their daily lives can take solace that they are not alone, and that all of us are in this journey we call “life” together. This book will not be professionally edited. It will not be perfect. It will not be really a book at all. It will be simply the journey of my life put into words and published through Facebook and through our web pages at the Nicholas J. Murphy Foundation. It may be modified from time to time and updated. I hope it will be worth reading and helps you in getting through whatever hardship you are suffering,. That is one of my goals.
It will not be purchased at the end or cost you anything to read. It will not be sold in the bookstore. It will be free to all who want to read it so that anyone who needs help or is having a bad day can follow this journey and realize that there is hope. That there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. Each of us has issues each and every day. We are not in this alone. God has put me in this position at this time for a reason. He has given me this opportunity to make a difference. I am not going to waste it.
If you like what I write and think it is helpful, then share it with your friends. If you want to join us and help make a difference, volunteer with our Foundation and make the Nicholas J. Murphy Foundation bigger and better than ever. If you want to donate to our cause, you can do that as well. We don’t care how little it is, every dollar helps. All money raised goes out to support the educational, military, legal and charitable causes that we are helping. Together, we can make a difference. This is the start of that difference. Thank you for listening (actually for reading). Have a great day.
(updated February 10, 2018)