I spoke with Colleen about how her life was changed when her daughter Lauren was hit by a car and suffered severe brain damage. Colleen doesn’t believe everything happens for a reason. But, she and Lauren have not allowed Lauren’s injuries to keep them from living a life of purpose. Their mantra is “Murphys don’t quit”.
Colleen Murphy is a wife, mother of seven, author, and public speaker. In 2013, tragedy struck Colleen’s family when her second oldest daughter, Lauren, was hit by a car and suffered severe brain damage. Colleen’s main focus became helping piece Lauren back together again. With the help of specialists from all over the country, her family and friends, as well as her strong faith, she was able to do just that.
Today, Colleen and Lauren speak together as a team, inspiring thousands of people by sharing the details of Lauren’s tragic accident, never-give-up attitude, and miraculous recovery.
Colleen lives just outside of St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Dave. She spends her free time fielding countless phone calls from her children as they deal with the challenges of adulting and assisting her husband via FaceTime as he struggles to find things at the grocery store. ℹ️ https://www.murphysdontquit.com
Brian Smith 0:01
Now that you’re here at Grief 2 Growth, I’d like to ask you to do three things. The first thing is to make sure that you like click Notifications, and subscribe to make sure you get updates for my YouTube channel. Also, if you’d like to support me financially, you can support me through my tip jar at grief to growth, calm, it’s grief, the number two growth.com/tip jar or look for tip jar at the very top of the page, or buy me a coffee at the very bottom of the page and you can make a small financial contribution. The third thing I’d like to ask is to make sure you share this with a friend through all your social media, Facebook, Instagram, whatever. Thanks for being here. Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that cause us the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we’ve been buried. But what if like a seed we’ve been planted and having been planted, who grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes. Open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Hey everybody, this is Brian back with another episode of grief to grow through the day I’ve got with me Colleen Murphy. Collins got a really interesting story to tell about her and her daughter Lauren. So I’m going to read her introduction and then we’ll get started. Colleen Murphy is a wife. She’s a mother of seven. She’s an author and she’s a public speaker. In 2013. Tragedy struck her family when our second oldest daughter Lauren was hit by a car and suffered from brain damage. Her main focus became helping Lauren piece her life back together again. With the help of specialists from all over the country, her family and friends as well as a strong faith. She was able to do that. Today. Colleen and Lauren often speak together as a team. They inspire 1000s of people by sharing the details of Lauren’s tragic accident, or never give up attitude and a miraculous recovery. Kylie lives just outside of St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Dave, she spends her free time fielding countless phone calls from her children as they deal with the challenges of adulting. I bet that is a lot of phone calls with seven children and assisting her husband FaceTime as he struggles to find things at the grocery store. So with that, I want to bring in Colleen Murphy.
Colleen Murphy 2:27
Hey, how are you? Thanks for having me.
Brian Smith 2:29
I’m doing great, Colleen. It’s good to it’s good to meet you. We just met a little while ago face to face. But I know a little bit about your story with Lauren. So but tell me filming in the background, the details of what happened with Lauren, and how you got to be where you are today.
Colleen Murphy 2:43
Sure. So Lauren was 25 living in New York City. She got her master’s degree by the age of 24 hopped on a plane with nothing but a dream and two suitcases and moved to New York City. And she created a great life for herself in a short amount of time she was killing it. I had still three kids at home, you know The oldest was out on her own also with a master’s degree. And I had two kids in college and junior in high school, an 11 year old and a 13 year old. So you know, typical work day. And I got that dreaded phone call. You know that every parent, you know fears. And it was from Los Angeles detective Lauren had been on a business trip. And she was trading for the New York Marathon. She had just been accepted into the New York Marathon. So she was super excited. And I actually talked to her that morning. I actually woke her up. It was the weekend of was right after the Boston Marathon bombings. And her boyfriend at the time was from Boston. So I called her to see you know, if his family had been affected because they were like closing in on the suspect the city was on lockdown. And I forgot about the time difference. She was in Los Angeles on a business trip. So I woke her up. So I chatted with her briefly on my way to work. And then I went in to a parking garage and lost her. So I never even had to say goodbye on the phone. And then it was a few hours later, at the end of my workday that that detective called me. And first thing he said was How are you related to Lauren Murphy? Now my first thought is, Oh God, what did she do? You know, my wife, the police calling me? And he went on to tell me that she’d been involved in an accident. My next thought is why isn’t she calling me. And as the conversation unfolded, you know, I was realizing that we were dealing with something more than a broken bone or two. And the next call was to a hospital social worker. And I actually asked the detective and I don’t know why I think it’s just mother’s intuition. I asked if she had head trauma. And he said no. He said that she did not have head trauma. But he thought she had some internal injuries and gave me the name of the social worker to call. So that was the next call. And I will actually my husband wasn’t he didn’t answer the phone. He never answers when I call typical. So I called the social worker and she answered on the first ring and again, I asked, you know, does she have had trauma? And she said yes, I’m sorry. But she has severe head trauma. So the next question I didn’t want to ask, but I knew I had to especially being in St. Louis and I, I asked if she was going to die. And there was a very long pause. And she said, if you’re asking me to come, if you need to come, the answer is yes. You know, so hung up called my husband, you know, he answered this time. And we we made arrangements to get out on the first flight out of Lambert airport. And it was probably two in the morning, St. Louis time, by the time we reached Los Angeles. And, you know, once we got there, you know, our journey began, and it was bad. It was it was really good.
Brian Smith 5:37
Wow. So yeah, getting that getting that call, I’m sure must have been devastating, especially being you know, so far away. So when you were on the flight, I guess you had no idea what to expect when you got there, you just know wasn’t going to be great.
Colleen Murphy 5:53
No, and I get the phone call from the brain surgeon at the airport. Now, she was Jane Doe for several hours, which was just a whole nother layer of grief for me because I felt like, you know, she was a name without a face like do they know how loved she was, and you know, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff. But I got the phone call from the brain surgeon. And it went straight to voicemail. So I called back to the hospital and I was connected to her ICU nurse. And he was the one that informed me that she was out of surgery. Her vitals were good. And he went through all of the stuff. And then he told me that they had to do a lobectomy, which I had no idea what that meant. But I knew it didn’t mean anything good. And what that meant was they had to remove a portion of her brain. And they removed a very large section of her left temporal lobe. So at that point, I’m like, you know, not only is she going to live, but if she lives, what kind of life is she going to have? You know, and I asked him if she was ever going to be able to live a normal life. And he just responded that he didn’t know. So that’s what I got at the airport. So you know, in the airplane, it was a tough ride. And I had, I paid for the internet. And my oldest daughter had verbal permission for me to talk to the hospital, you know, they knew that they could talk to her. She was calling the hospital every hour on the hour and emailing me the updates. So I had a little bit of information, but really not much.
Brian Smith 7:16
Okay. So when you got there, what happened?
Colleen Murphy 7:20
So the the charge starts actually medicine, the parking lot, which I thought, wow, this is great. This hospital is great service, I didn’t realize it was because our situation was so dire. I just thought, well, they really good in LA they don’t do this in St. Louis. So she met us in the parking lot and got us, you know, to where we went. And, you know, we walked you know, when we walked in all eyes were on us, you know, everybody in the ICU unit, you know, knew how bad it was. And we’re waiting for us to arrive. And when we crossed over that threshold, it was tough, you know, and to see her, you know, she didn’t even look like herself. Every every part of her was swollen. And it was more from the surgery from the accident. She had a broken scapula, but no other broken bones other than her skull. But her face was so swollen and her eyes were so swollen. This was all from the surgery, not the accident. She had a little scratch on her index finger. iPhone wasn’t even cracked, which was crazy. But her whole face was just, you know, totally swollen her eyeballs looked like she had golf balls stuck under their under her eye sockets. And they were black and blue. But it was all from the surgery. And then ours kind of just explained what all of the machines were, what they were doing and their functions. And then they paged a doctor that was on call. And he came down to talk to us and told us that she was the sickest patient in the whole hospital. And that if she survived, we were looking at months, possibly years of recovery. You know, and at that point, you know, I worked in a hospital setting on the insurance side. So I have seen patients and rough shape. So it wasn’t a shocking, I mean, it’s still it’s my daughter, so it’s shocking. But My poor husband, he knew nothing about head injuries, you know, and and, you know, luckily there was a chair there to catch him. Because just hearing that was was really, really hard. And, you know, he asked if we had questions, and we didn’t want to know the answer. So we were silent. You know, there was there was no questions to ask because I just I did at that point, I was just absorbing everything but I still wanted to call BS on her being the sickest patient in the hospital, I wanted to go knock on doors, you know, and find, surely there was somebody sicker than you know, my kids. This is a big complex, but it was tough. It was you know, it was a tough pill to swallow. So the first couple days were just basically, you know, shock.
Brian Smith 9:40
So at that point, I guess it was just wait and see for the first couple of days or were you did you have to make decisions or
Colleen Murphy 9:47
have you know it, they never did ask us to make any decisions which is you know, which is which is good because for me I always felt like you know, I would take care of her in any capacity that God gifted me as much And I’m willing to do that. But once you find yourself in that situation, you know, you sit there and think, Is this what she would want? You know, it’s like it’s really, really tough. So they never did talk to us about disconnecting life support or anything. But they did call us in for a meeting at one point, this was like a week or two later. And I asked, Do I need to fly her siblings here to say goodbye. And again, another long pause, I hated those long pauses. And finally, someone spoke up and said, you know, we have ways to prolong things. When that happens when and if that happens, you know, so really wasn’t the answer I wanted, I wanted him to say, No, we don’t need to fly anybody out here, say goodbye. But what they were saying to me was, that’s a possibility. But it’s not going to be like a quick thing. We could keep her alive with machines if if needed. So. So it was really, really bleak. And there was not, there was not much hope. But there’s always There’s always hope. And that’s what I hung on to.
Brian Smith 10:59
So what was suppose her brain activity like at this point, where I mean, were they saying that her brain was, was she in a coma, or what was her state? Yes, she wasn’t
Colleen Murphy 11:07
a coma. And she was so unstable, they couldn’t do an MRI. So what they started doing is laid her flat on the bed to try to get her ready for an MRI. Because they brought her down once and her heart rate dipped down to the 20s. So they had to bring her back up. So it was probably three or four weeks before we were even stable enough for an MRI. So they really did not know. And then once she came out of her coma, which was a couple of weeks later, but it was almost worse. You know, it’s not like soap operas, you don’t wake up and, you know, start talking to people. It was just blankness. You know, in her eyes, I’ve never seen somebody with their eyes open, that couldn’t focus. It’s almost like, you know, when you bring home a newborn, and they’re kind of they can’t really look, that’s how she was, you know, but it looks worse on an adult, you know, it’s because it’s just not normal. So I remember thinking, God, forgive me, just please close your eyes. It was just too hard to look at her that blank. So once you emerge from the coma, I mean, it was she was a semi vegetative state for months after where we didn’t know she knew who we were, who she was, where she was anything like that.
Brian Smith 12:18
So what was your mental state, like, at this time? I mean, she’s, she’s there. She’s not really there. What kind of prognosis Did they give you at that point,
Colleen Murphy 12:30
they really didn’t give us a prognosis. Now the one, her brain surgeon, there was a team of neuro Doc’s, and then her brain surgeon, not that the neuro Doc’s were not as warm and fuzzy, as the brain surgeon, surprisingly, because most brain surgeons do not have a lot of personality. But we were lucky. And we had one who we just love and still keep in contact with. But I remember the first day he met me, he said, you know, right now I’m looking for something positive to give you. And I’m going to have to dig really, really deep. But if I keep reaching, I’m gonna find it. And that’s what I’m going to give you. So you know, he’s basically telling me things are really, really bad, but we’re gonna focus on the good things. You know, the other Doc’s, we’re focusing on all the bad things. So you know, it was fine. But after we got the MRI back, the one doctor came in and said, You know, it’s bad. It’s really bad, because it wasn’t so much just the damage on the left side, where it was the point of impact. He said that it was similar to like Shaken Baby Syndrome, because when she flew through the air with such velocity, it damage all parts of her brain. So there was damage throughout. And when the neurosurgeon came back in to talk to me, he said, you know, if you were going to ask me if she could ever live on her own, independently in New York again, I would have to say that, I don’t know. But what I can tell you is, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. And that’s all I needed to hear, you know, you know, it’s anything’s possible. So, so I just kind of hung on to that, even though there really wasn’t a very good prognosis. Now, the other doctor who was kind of Dr. gloom and doom, he had told us that, you know, early on, if she did survive, she probably remained in a wheelchair, and maybe even have to be in some type of assisted living center if she survived this. So I kind of, I liked my other doctors, you know, has the diagnosis has prognosis a little better than that one, so you just kind of have to hang on to the positive.
Brian Smith 14:27
So that yeah, that’s what I was gonna just gonna say. So you, you made a choice there. You made it, you made a conscious choice to hang on to the positive.
Colleen Murphy 14:34
Yeah, so when my husband chose the other side, you know, not to throw him under the bus, but he’s just kind of like, it is what it is type thing. And we were a good balance. So in times where I was just almost like, too, too positive. And we’re going to get out of this, you know, he would kind of really back a little bit, you know, we don’t know that. You know, he’s just trying to prepare me for the worst. Not that he, you know, didn’t want what I was seeing, you know, envisioning But we’ve just always been a pretty good balance. No,
Brian Smith 15:03
I perfectly understand. I’m probably more like your husband, I hear I hear the worst. And I was talking to I think was my daughter about this a couple days ago. And sometimes we talk, we try to prepare ourselves by by thinking the worst, but it sounds like that’s not really your philosophy you were holding on to the positive.
Colleen Murphy 15:21
Yeah, and I don’t know that that was always my philosophy. I just think I just that mother’s instinct kicked in, you know, I don’t really consider myself an overly positive, optimistic person. Now I consider myself a negative person. But I completely just embrace that, you know, at the time of her accident.
Brian Smith 15:37
So I’m curious as to how did you have a spiritual practice of faith? Did that play into your to your outlook?
Colleen Murphy 15:46
Yes. So, um, you know, obviously, a good Catholic was seven guests. So I’ve always been spiritual, I’ve always, you know, and I think once I started having children, like, in my younger years, church was never a priority. The foundation was always there, you know, and I always, you know, kind of talked to God, but it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t as important to me until I had kids and wanted them to have the same upbringing that I was fortunate to have. So all my kids, you know, went all through Catholic schools, they were taught to know God to love Jesus. And, you know, in the very beginning, it was kind of like, and again, that whole Catholic guilt, like, Why me? What did I do? What did I do to cause this? What did I do wrong? What could I have done better to where my child wasn’t critically injured? You know, and that’s not how God works. But that was just the human side of me. And then I went through the phases of, you know, you know, there were so many people that were brought back to faith because of Lauren’s accident and recovery. And that would reach out to me and which I’m, I’m flattered. I think it’s great. But part of me is like, I’ve always been faithful, why was it my kid that had to be this example, to bring somebody else back. But again, that’s not how God works. And, you know, nobody has a quota of tragic things happen to you know, I kind of felt like, I already had some tragic things happen in my life. You know, I lost my dad, young, my husband lost his father, young. You know, one of our daughters had a lot of surgery when she was little, you know, I’m like, okay, my quote is done. But that’s, you know, that’s not how it works. There, there isn’t a quota, you know, sometimes, you know, life just dumps on you. And, you know, there’s no pure I survived that I’m done. Because even now, I don’t know what’s around the corner. So I had, I had a real struggle with that my faith never wavered. But I mean, I guess I could say, a waiver. But my faith was never gone. You know, there were times where I was angry. But that was also, you know, my, my rock during, you know, the hardest times. And that’s, you know, that’s all I had to cling to, is my faith. And my husband. And I often say, I don’t know how people do this. Without faith. You know, it’s really, I can’t imagine, you know, and there’s lots of good people that don’t have faith, you know, but I just think, where do you turn? You know, when there’s when there’s nothing there. It’s, it was really, really, I think, what helped me in the beginning and all throughout?
Brian Smith 18:22
Well, again, I think that’s, that’s a choice that that you made, and that people make, because when tragedy strikes, it can strengthen our faith, or it can, it can totally rupture our faith. And you mentioned something earlier about, like, no, what did I do to cause this as being kind of a Catholic thing? We all kind of, I think all parents go through that when something happens to our kids. It’s, it may be framed around our religion, you know, that we’re Catholic or whatever. But even if we’re not, it’s like, it’s parents, we always take responsibility for our kids. how old they are, right? So your daughter here she is, she’s grown. She’s living in New York. She’s, she’s in LA, but still, somehow you’re responsible for what happened to her?
Colleen Murphy 19:05
You know, and it’s funny too, that as parents like, I never take credit for the for the great things they do. Why is it that we only take credit for the bad things that happen? You know, it’s just we’re just not wired that way, unfortunately. But yeah, it’s just um, mom guilt is a strong
Brian Smith 19:23
it is and as I said, I want to I want to destroy everybody know, that’s listening. I work with a lot of parents who have had children that have died. And it’s, it’s, I It’s almost universal. It’s almost universal. When something happens to our kids. Somehow we find a way of blame ourselves and I know my dad was killed by a drunk driver or her daughter was in her 30s and this woman was like, it was my fault and I was your fault. She said literally, I did seven things wrong that day and seven, and she she listed the seven things she did run it and her daughter didn’t even live with her and I and I said, you know you probably do seven things wrong every day if you if you’re going to break it down like that so, but that’s the irrational part of us. That’s the part of us that kicks in. So, so Lauren, how long was she in the hospital total worldwide, so catch me up with how that worked out.
Colleen Murphy 20:12
So she was in the hospital 127 days. She was in ICU for five weeks. And then they moved her to the regular floor. And then once she was medically stable, they airlifted her by private medical jet to a rehab hospital in Chicago, which we were very lucky. She was accepted into one of the best rehab hospitals in the country, which was ric, it’s now called Shirley Ryan ability lab. But at that time, it was rehab Institute of Chicago. And it was five hours driving distance for the rest of my family, which is great. And, you know, it was, you know, I had an apartment, somebody gave me an apartment, that was a mile from the hospital. So I could walk back and forth, which was just amazing. I mean, that community and people who are just I mean, I could tell you stories and stories and stories of things that people did for us that really lifted us up. But so she was there. Another three and a half months, I guess. And, you know, that was where, you know, our journey really began. That was where the hard work started. And still, even when she came home, she was still in, you know, rough shape. She was finally walking again, not not steady. It took her several months to learn how to walk. She relearn everything. She couldn’t hold her head up. She couldn’t, she couldn’t eat. She couldn’t, you know, she couldn’t do anything. But, you know, that was where the growth really happened was at RIC and she had her fourth brain surgery while she was there also.
Brian Smith 21:39
Okay, so at what point were you able, or was she able to communicate with you? And vice versa? At what point did she shows signs that she was able to, to hear you communicate? Yeah,
Colleen Murphy 21:49
so, um, so she was nonverbal for a long time. So that was hard. And it’s amazing how, you know, I was in tune to her needs, you know, because she was incontinent. But I could tell just, by the way, she positioned her body that if she needed to be changed, or, you know, it’s like, we were in this part of our recovery, we were just like, if she scratched her forehead, we were like, so excited, because that was something that was not involuntary. Like most of her movements were involuntary. So it was really, really slow progress. So you know, I never really knew if she knew who I was, um, which was really hard. Although there was one moment, back when we were still in LA, and one of my daughters was visiting, and they had the TV on, and it was keeping up with the Kardashians. And there was a close up of Kris Jenner. And Lauren just kind of stuck her finger up in the air, like, like, she had an idea to like, stick around or one finger up. And we started laughing because we’re like, I think she recognizes Kris Jenner. I’m like, I really thought I would be the first person she recognized. But progress is progress. You know, I don’t. But, you know, but outside of that little one thing, which could have been a fluke. You know, when we arrived home, you know, we came home and there was over 200 people lining the streets cheering us on. And we all like stood in a group for a group picture. And one of our old neighbors in our old neighborhood was there. And Lauren used to watch her dog for all the time. And when she saw her, Lauren’s eyes lit up, and she reached out to give her a hug. So that was the first time that we knew that she recognized somebody from her past. Because with us, we were always there. So it was never like an awakening, you know, every day it was there. So you know, it’s like as she improved, you know, I didn’t notice much. And you never really could tell that. She knew who I was. So when she recognized that neighbor, that’s what we all kind of knew. Okay, she’s still in there. She’s got memories, and she knows who people are. She loves us. And she loves us.
Brian Smith 23:45
So this was after she’d been the rehab, obviously. So this is when you actually when you brought her home. So this is this is quite a while but you weren’t really sure that she recognized you. Yeah, yeah. So what was it like once you got her home?
Colleen Murphy 23:59
So then it was kind of like, everything’s on me, you know, and I was doing a lot at the rehab hospitals important for me to learn how to care for her because there was like, so many moments where I just felt so incompetent. You know, I couldn’t lift her from the bed to her chair. I couldn’t position her. And, you know, this time, she was only like 9095 pounds. And she was a small girl ahead of time. But you know, when she was on a feeding tube, and she was just down to skin and bones, but I felt so incompetent that I I really wanted to learn everything. So I was doing most of her care, including her showers. I would shave her legs every other day, which was back breaking. But the only thing I wasn’t doing was her medication. So that was kind of the new thing. So once I get home, it’s kind of like Okay, now what? And then she started with outpatient rehab. So then I have to you know, get her in the car and then you know, because she has a brain injury. She’s confused. And I have to worry about her opening the door handle while we’re driving, you know, because she would constantly take your seatbelt off of her wheelchair and she still wasn’t study on her feet. She didn’t understand the whole car. concept of can’t get out of the car when it’s moving those types of things was like a danger zone at home, you’re there’s flights of stairs, there’s butcher knives, there’s, you know, the whole thing. So it was really hard to adjust. And then not only that construction started shortly after on our home, and we had to make it handicap accessible and wheelchair accessible. And this particular house that we were in, we bought after Lauren had already moved out, so she never had a bedroom there. So we had to build an extra bedroom onto the house. And so we were under construction for about six months, and just dealing with the construction in the ladders and the drywall and that, you know, where she’s just like, doesn’t understand the world that she lives in at this point was tough. It was really, really tough, you know, but looking back, there’s a lot of funny stuff in it, but it just wasn’t real funny at the time.
Brian Smith 25:51
Yeah, I know someone who’s going through something similar with someone had an aneurysm. It’s been like three years now and and people don’t understand how draining that is to constantly have to be watching people to do things that just leaving the door open, you know, just just things that that they forget turning the stove on and walking away. Yeah, you know, all those little things that we don’t we don’t think about with an adult that’s, that’s mobile and quite, you know, functioning properly.
Colleen Murphy 26:21
Yeah, get into medication. You know, we had to get a lockbox on her medicine and you know, all kinds of things. It was just, you know, one time I woke up at like three in the morning, and she had made biscuits, and I’m like, How in the heck did I not hear? And how did she open the Pillsbury biscuits? I can’t open those on. Wow. Yeah. Oh, she did that. She didn’t cook before the accident. She could only do microwave popcorn. So I don’t know how she did it. But yeah, so I mean, it was, it was tough. We had to get a security system that sent me a text message every time there was movement. You know, unfortunately, I’m a hard sleeper. So I’d wake up to a string of texts that she had been moving all night, but no idea. But it was it was really, really hard in the beginning.
Brian Smith 27:01
So at what point because it’s still she’s still not very communicative at this point, or were you having conversations, or she was just moving around and doing
Colleen Murphy 27:10
down? So she could say, like, Hi, how are you? Good morning, and she didn’t really start doing that till we get home. You know, she did, right. And it started out as a whisper. And then it became like her real voice. And we didn’t know it at the time. And they mentioned at the she had something called aphasia. And I didn’t really know what that meant. And I didn’t know what a difference it was going to make in her recovery. Because even now, that’s like her biggest roadblock as far as recovery. And aphasia is caused by damage to the brain. And it’s very common in strokes. But for Lauren, it was because that whole language portion of her brain was removed. So that is why she couldn’t really speak it was she also couldn’t understand us. And we didn’t know that at the time. But it was almost like you’re talking to it in a different language. So you asked her question. She can’t answer it. She has no idea what you’re saying. So that’s why that she could do the Good morning. How are you Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, that anything that she doesn’t have to think about anything that’s an automatic, she could say, but I could ask her to point to the door. She couldn’t do it. But she might be able to say, shut the door. Because it was an automatic. But if I asked her what that object was, it was just aphasia was really hard to wrap your head around and really hard to understand. But she was for almost two years, she really couldn’t talk in any type of conversational way. You know, she’s done speech, OT and PT for years, and she still does speech therapy, but she was not. She was not verbal in any way. You know, we could not have any type of conversation. She couldn’t order her own food. She couldn’t do any of that for years.
Brian Smith 28:48
So as you’re going through this, so you got her home, you know, she’s going to survive, but you’re what were they telling you in terms of her chances for recovery? Being able to have a meaningful conversation even?
Colleen Murphy 29:01
Yeah, so they really didn’t, you know, they’ve always said you with brain injury, no, two brain injuries are the same. You know, it’s like when you break a bone, they know how to fix it, you know, when you break your brain, you know, it’s you know, they don’t know and I remember when we left our I see the doctor like her last day walk in the halls. He said you don’t learn. I don’t know what magical combination. You need to be this, but you obviously have it. And you know, it’s just she’s surpassed every doctor’s expectations and still continues to surpass expectations. So, you know, obviously, like the first years probably the most important because those improvements can be gauged like she can hold her head up, she can now eat she doesn’t need a feeding tube, she can walk on her own. But the rest of the progress has been painfully slow. You know, we’re almost at nine years and you know, I don’t know if she’ll ever be able to live independently again, she still has some cognitive deficits and sometimes make some choices that are aren’t the best. She also So he has some really bad OCD. And it’s the compulsions that are really, really bad. And it’s caused by brain damage. So the medications that normally help with OCD don’t really help with her. And things like she’s got to get the mail, the minute the mailman comes, doesn’t matter, if there’s a sheet of ice on the ground, she’s got to get that mail out of the mailbox, you know, so, things like that we still struggle with, you know, every day is a little better. But, you know, I don’t think we’re ever going to be 100%. But, you know, she’s, you know, live in a life filled with purpose again, and, you know, we, again, have lots of bad days, but you know, I don’t have brain damage, and I have lots of bad days. So, you know, just kind of, you know, a lot of times I have to step back when I’m annoyed, and be thankful for what I still have, but it’s still, it’s still tough. And you know, she’s not always the nicest to her siblings. And that’s hard too, because they’ve went through a lot in the siblings are often forgot about during a tragedy. And I think, you know, the siblings, you know, when they have their own little problems, they don’t like to come to the parents with them, because they think they’re, they got their hands full. And, you know, that’s what I need is to be able to do my job and feel normal. I want them to come to come to me with their problems. But I think sometimes they’re afraid to they don’t want to burden me with more. And it’s hard. You know, it’s really hard. I’ve got great kids, but it’s still, you know, it’s not, it’s not an easy road,
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Brian Smith 32:21
Yeah, absolutely. It’s it’s, I can imagine it. It’s not an easy road. And before we started recording, you mentioned a term called ambiguous grief. So tell me what that’s like for you.
Colleen Murphy 32:33
Sure. So ambiguous grief is a word that I had to look up in the dictionary to understand what it meant. But it’s when you’re grieving somebody that’s still here. And you know, it’s hard because, you know, every day I miss the old loan, you know, and, and there’s some things where, you know, we say she’s new and improved, you know, and there’s some things where, you know, I wish some of the alarm was still there. And it’s hard, and, you know, you you grieve for what could have been, you know, and what was, but then you also feel guilty, because, you know, you know, there’s people that have lost children, you know, like yourself, and I have a few close friends that have lost children, and I don’t want to be a member of that club, you know, and I get it. And that’s what keeps me going. Sometimes, as I think, you know, those parents would trade places with me in a heartbeat. You know, yes, my road hasn’t been easy, but my child is still here, I can still hug her, I can still, you know, give her a kiss, I can still get mad at her, I can still do all those things that everybody else longs to do. And you know, it really kind of puts puts things into perspective, into perspective. And when I’m having a rough day, that’s what that’s what really fuels me and keeps me going is that, you know, I don’t have it so bad.
Brian Smith 33:40
Yeah, and that’s, that’s really important. Because the thing is, everything in life is really a matter of how we look at it. It’s really a matter of perspective. And so for you, I’m thinking as you’re going through this, you know, the ups and downs first, the tragedy of the accident, and then finding out she’s going to live at least for a while and then finding out she’s going to live, but she’s not able to speak. So there’s always there’s always a back and forth. And there’s always two ways to look at everything, right? I mean, like you said, you can think about what you’ve lost with Lauren, and what you may never recover. Or you can think about what you have. And that’s and that’s a choice that you have decided to make and you so I want to I want to continue with with Lauren’s story, though, so. So Lawrence home now and she’s, she’s up moving around, and she’s somewhat verbal. And we’ve we’ve moved from that to a point where now you and Lauren are out. Speaking. So how did that transition happen?
Colleen Murphy 34:42
Okay, so she goes to a speech clinic, at a university and a lot of university so if there’s anybody listening that knows anybody with aphasia, a lot of universities that have an SLP speech language pathology program, have these clinics to where the Grant students work with the FA Is your patients. And in our case, it’s completely free. They have a grant and other cases that I think it’s pretty minimal cost for these universities. But she started going to this speech program. And turns out that was she was an alma mater at Fontbonne. University also. So that’s, you know, where she went to school. So it was familiar to her. And one of the, they had a group of people with aphasia, and one of the goals that they set for the semester was to come up with something that you want to do that’s new to you that you’ve never done before, like trying to get, you know, their, their patients to try new things. Now, Lauren’s usually the youngest by far, because again, it’s mostly stroke. So there’s young people that have strokes, too, we know plenty, especially through aphasia, but in this particular case, you know, everyone’s like 60 plus, and then there’s Lauren, who’s, you know, early 30s. And they also did these like aphasia panels where they get out in the community to try to spread awareness. And Lauren really struggled like reading like a script, like if she had to answer questions and read from there, because reading and writing skills are lost with aphasia. On some people, not everybody, but with Lauren, it was, but then when it went to the q&a section, she just lit up, you know, she’s very social, and she loves people. So So back to the goal that she had to set. She said she wanted to start doing public speaking. So that was the goal, she said, and when she told me, I’m thinking, Are you crazy, you’re missing the language portion of your brain, you have severe aphasia, but you want to be a public speaker. Okay. So once I realized that she was pretty serious about this, and you know, she really, really, really loves getting out and, you know, shared her story, and I knew she couldn’t do it on our own. So I knew that if we’re gonna make this happen, you know, you know, I have to step up and, and do it with her. So we, you know, launched a website, printed business cards, and it’s funny because my husband and I are like on the business cards for her. I put Lauren Murphy TBI survivor, public speaker, my husband’s like, she’s not a public speaker. I’m like, Yes, she is on the business cards. She’s a public speaker. So we laugh about that. And then, you know, we did I thought we do a couple Girl Scout troops, you know, maybe
like, what’s that? The city, Rotary Clubs, do a rotary club, something like that. So we did, um, the first request we got was back in New York, and it was a professor at Columbia University. And she had a group of students that were SLP students. So we spoke there. And then we did like a little grade school. And then the FOP professor who had set all these goals for these patients. She asked us to come in and do a presentation for them. So we did. And then a week later, she asked if we would consider doing it for a bigger audience, like, Yeah, sure. Like, what do you think Lauren? Lauren’s like, Sure. So she was recommending us to do the commencement address that spring. And I was like, Okay, I did not expect to do you know, two little speeches, and then boom, we’re gonna speak in front of 3000 people, right. So at that point, I was doing most of the talking, and Lauren doesn’t remember the first two years after her accident. So even if she could speak fluently, she remembers nothing. What you know, it’s funny now that I shaved her legs every other day that she didn’t remember that. I definitely want them today. If I do, she wouldn’t remember really. So. So once we started, you know, with commencement, you know, and we were getting the requests in right and left on our website, you know, those people really wanted to hear her story, which, you know, blew me away. So I decided to turn everything off until after commencement, because I couldn’t give two speeches for her. It would confuse her she can’t work on one. And you know, it’s kind of like working with Dory from Finding Nemo sometimes. So I’m like, How do I get this speech that we’ve been doing? That’s mostly me with her interjecting to mainly her, and with me introduction. So, you know, I had to come up with a speech that was also not just telling her story, it had to be something for the graduates, you know, so we came up with this speech, we work together and then we started practicing it probably four or five times a day, recording it every time we practice it, listening to it, seeing what works, seeing what didn’t see which jokes hit which jokes didn’t and then playing it back in the car, in the house everywhere. She had to be submerged in this commencement address. And by the time commencement rolled around, by every third or fourth try, she nailed it, you know, but it was like, Okay, I need like another week to go before we can do this. But typical Lauren, I mean, she rose to the occasion and we deliver this commencement address and throughout our speech, you know, we had bouts of applause bouts of laughter. You know, we had a couple video clips that showed really how bad it was because unless you could see the video and you see this beautiful girl standing there, you would have no idea what she went through because I mean, she looked bad. And at the end, over 3000 people standing ovation, which was which was pretty amazing. And you know, Since then, your other cross requests have been pouring in. And you know, it really helps give her a sense of purpose because she can’t go back to work in the, the old sense that she gets, she can’t multitask, she can’t, her brain doesn’t process things, right, she can’t understand it when people would give her direction. So this is perfect for her. And since the book launched, it’s even, you know, gotten even greater. And we have a couple of keynote speeches scheduled to state, which, you know, she loves to travel. So that’s really exciting. And it just seems like her reach is getting bigger and bigger. And for me, it’s really cool to see because, again, I have to take a step back, sometimes to see how inspirational the story is, because it’s our story. And I don’t, even though I know, it’s miraculous, and it’s not typical. When is your own family? You don’t realize, well, this is, you know, bigger than what, what I thought this is bigger than us. And you know, it’s in for schools, when we speak to the schools, you know, we talk about helmet safety, obviously, you don’t want to wear a helmet when you’re running, but it’s a good way to drive home helmet safety with them crossing the street safety. And, you know, it’s, you know, you know, as adults, you think I got it well, we don’t we’re not always as careful as we should be. Yeah,
Brian Smith 41:17
yeah, absolutely. That’s that’s definitely true. So, I know your story has gone viral. I mean, I know, Lauren’s had visits from some very famous people. So Tell, tell me about those people how they got involved. Sure. So.
Colleen Murphy 41:31
So the first when we were in the ICU, and again, like our community was huge. So the first thing that we received was a shout out video from Lance Bass from ncwc. Now my Shannon, who is my fourth daughter, she had the huge, a huge crush on Lance Bass when she was like eight years old, we went to the concert, whatever. So it was almost like as soon as that video showed up, that was the hope that helped her feel like things are gonna be okay. You know, this is somebody that I idolized. And he sent me this shout out video without her, but I mean, all of us. And then we got one from Joey Fatone, which was pretty cool. And then somebody that my husband went to graduate school with, remember that I was a big Rick Springfield fan. She reached out to his camp, and told him about the accident. And his manager called me and told me that Rick was going to call me the next day, heard about the story, and I’m sorry about the law. So this is probably about three weeks after the accident, I received a call from Rick Springfield, which, you know, was just like, mind blowing to me. Because, you know, at the time, I was 11, I was like, oh, it’s like, I was one of those crazy super fans. So he was great in to see that, you know, my childhood crush was such a good egg and didn’t do this for publicity just cared. And then the biggest celebrity was Taylor Swift. She actually early on, gave us a $25,000 donation to fly my family back and forth to LA. And she actually is related to one of Lauren’s good friends. So that’s how we got that connection with Taylor. But, you know, he had contacted her so she could do like a shout out video. And she read our caringbridge and saw some of the stuff and wanted to do more. And then she came to the hospital to visit and she stayed with my husband and I for about 45 minutes, she FaceTimed with the kids at home. She couldn’t have been any more gracious. She even left her sweater behind, which we still probably have in the closet. We did email her manager, see if she wanted it back. But he never responded. So I guess it’s ours to keep but no, really, the sleeves are a little long. I’m five one. So it doesn’t work for me. But that’s okay. It’s still pretty cool to have it. But yeah, but it was great. But even you know, just the everyday people was what was even better, you know, the people that you don’t expect that show up and you know, just really have your back and really helped us get through, you know, some of our darkest days.
Brian Smith 43:55
So, um, what would you say? What, what do you think it is about Lauren’s story that touches people so, so deeply that, you know, you guys are now doing public speaking and it’s gone, you know, made national acclaim. So what is it? What do you think that is about the story that really attracts people?
Colleen Murphy 44:13
You know, I think part of it is, you know, at the time of her accent, she wasn’t doing anything wrong. She was just out running, you know, she was just, you know, she was just out doing something that we you know, everyday thing, and I think a lot of people can see themselves and learn, like, you know, we never know, you know, that old expression. I can’t get hit by a bus tomorrow, you know? So we all know that and think that but this is somebody where it actually happened to you know, and she’s one of those she was always one of those go getters that was like, I know what I want. I’m gonna go get it. I’m gonna move to New York. I’m gutsy. You know, she kind of did. She followed the dream that we kind of all have it we’re kind of afraid to do you know, and I think people always like, envy that about her that she was gutsy. And then when you know things took a sudden turn it just somehow became more tragic. And I think, too, when you see her in person, you know, she lights up a room. And you know, we do a lot of zoom presentations to and she does fine. But in person is where she really connects with people. And she could do that beforehand. And I think I think that’s part of it. And then I think on the other side of that is mothers can relate to me, because they can put themselves in, in my shoes and the taking care of Lauren was the easy part. The hard part was that I had to step away from my other six kids, while I had to take care of Lauren and I added up the days that I spent living out of state during her recovery was 404 days, over a two year period. And that’s hard, because that’s not the kind of mom that I signed up to be, you know, I missed every soccer game, I missed homecomings, I missed, you know, mother’s son brunches, and all that stuff that I would have never missed. And I know that they understood it, and that they get it and that I would do it for them. But it’s still hard. But I think it’s just you know, and I also think we don’t candy code it, you know, we have a positive message message. But we talk about the the hard stuff as much as we do the good stuff, you know, in the end, it’s a very uplifting presentation that we give. But, you know, we don’t, we don’t hold back. And you know, we’re not private people. And I think people can relate to us.
Brian Smith 46:23
Yeah, you know, but it’s, you’re saying this, you know, I think about I was telling you, before we started record, I work with a lot of parents who have had children that have died or transitioned, as I like to say, sometimes people shy away when something happens, because they want to know what caused it, you know, did you have you gotten any of that? Like, what was Lauren doing? What had happened? Or, you know, wanting to try to find a reason?
Colleen Murphy 46:48
Um, you know, not really, um, what I get instead is people that say, Will she ever gonna, you know, be normal? I don’t know, you ever not going to be rude? I just, you know, so I get a lot of that. But nobody really asks too many questions about it. Although they people that have read the book, that know me will say, Oh, I never knew that, you know, and I didn’t know that part. And I didn’t know that part. Because in the very beginning, when we shared stuff, it was, I wasn’t the one sharing, it was on caringbridge. So it was being translated by you know, other people. But I don’t think a lot you know, what, what’s the hardest for me is the people that don’t ask questions, the people that just kind of like, drifted away, like they’re in the witness protection program, they don’t know what to say. So they say nothing. And I think I’ve really changed on the way I do things, too. And again, like I’ve said, I have friends who have lost children, and I would be, you know, less inclined to say that child’s name, because I don’t want to bring it up and make him sad. Now, there’s not a second that goes by that any of those parents aren’t thinking about that child, bringing up that child’s name isn’t going to make him sad, it’s going to make them feel like somebody is validating my child and that their time on Earth was important. So I don’t avoid that conversation anymore, or I used to. And I think that’s, I think sometimes when people don’t say anything, it’s not because they don’t care. It’s because they’re afraid. And I think, you know, that’s just a stigma with you know, everyone’s like, Oh, my gosh, you know, I could never do that, you know, I don’t know how somebody could do it. But avoiding them isn’t the answer, you know, you need to embrace them. And so I do do things differently when there’s a tragedy, or if someone’s lost a child, and it’s really changed my way of thinking. And my least favorite phrase in the whole entire world, is everything happens for a reason. And when people say that I want to smack. And I feel like, you know, there are good things that can come from a bad thing happening. You know, absolutely good things can come from that. But there is nobody on this earth that will ever convince me that there’s a good reason that my kid was critically injured and fights for everything that she has right now. Yes, good things have come from that. And she has found her purpose again. But, you know, the reason is, God gave us free will. And unfortunately, she walked in front of a car, and we’re making the best of it. But I just, I just don’t like that phrase. And maybe that’s just me, but that’s just not that’s just not my mantra.
Brian Smith 49:25
Yeah, you know, and that’s, that’s a really great point. Because we all have different views about things and, and we all have our triggers, right? We all have phrases that really get us, which is one of the reasons why people are scared to say things. There’s a couple of reasons. One is they don’t want to make you sad. So it’s like, oh, I brought up Lauren, you started crying, therefore, it’s my fault because I made you think about her. But you said I want to make everybody know I think about my daughter all day long every day, so you’re not going to make me think about her. The idea of everything happening for a reason is it’s actually an idea that I have have come to embrace. But it’s not to say that like, God caused it or anything like that. But there is, as you said, something good can come out of it. So we can we can talk about what does that phrase really mean? But sometimes people use it as a as a I call it spiritual bypassing. So it to imply, well, Colleen, you should be happy that this happened. Because this is actually a good thing. No two things can be true at the same time, it can be a really bad thing that happened. But something good came out of it. Or even more appropriate, we made something good come out of it. Yeah, I mean, you’re in Lauren have taken what happened. And you’ve decided this is the way I’m going to look at it, I’m going to look at it this way. This is what I’m going to do with it. I’m not going to lay down and die. And both of those things are true. You know, you would not you wouldn’t choose this, if you could go back and undo I don’t speak for you. So yeah, yeah. So I can understand, you know why you would say that. So I want to say the people that are listening, because it’s tough on both of it’s, it’s tough when you’re the person that’s grieving, and you’re you are grieving because you’re grieving the loss of the life you thought Lauren was going to have, and you are going to have the time with the other kids and all those things. And that’s really, that’s really grief is also difficult on the person that’s, that’s, you know, trying to console you or whatever. So I guess the thing is, I would say to people, you know, let’s be open, you know, let’s let’s listen to each other. And if someone says something to you, that hurts you that you don’t like, we can we can gently correct them. You know, I don’t subscribe to that, you know, and let them know, you know why you feel that way. I think it’s really a matter of communication. But I experienced some of the same thing you did. I mean, people that just disappear out of my life. When my daughter passed, or people you could tell with awkward silences. But on the other hand, the community, the people that stepped forward know the same thing that you’ve experienced. And that’s, that’s a really great thing that comes out of that.
Colleen Murphy 51:59
Yeah. And I also, you know, we, when we speak, I always say to, you know, there’s so many times where you hear something tragic happened, and you think, I don’t really know them, you know, they’re just a friend of a friend, you know, that would be weird, I’m not going to reach out, I always say, if you get that feeling, reach out, you know, you can send somebody a text or an email, you’re not bothering them, they can delete your text, they can delete your email, they can choose not to respond, you can drop a package on their porch. But those, you know, for me when those packages showed up, or when those texts showed up, they always showed up when they are at my lowest point. And that’s what lifted me up. So it’s like, if somebody has given you that inkling to me, it’s the Holy Spirit. So for whatever your belief is, whatever that Inkling is, do it. You know, it’s anytime you have a chance to do good. Do it because you never know what’s working in the back. That’s using you to help somebody else feel better.
Brian Smith 52:49
Yeah, and this is about me. But I do I want to just start the story in here real quick because of what you just said, because there was a person that we knew when Shayna passed away, kind of an acquaintance. Her daughter and her daughter were really good friends, and we carpool with them. So I drove her daughter back and forth a few times. But we weren’t that close. And after Shayna passed, her daughter said to her, you need to go over and talk to Mrs. Smith in my wife, you need to go no go on walks there. And she’s like, I don’t really know them. I don’t think that’s going to be appropriate because I’m not the closest person. And now these this couple are two of our closest friends. We hang out with them all the time. And it’s because her daughter said you should do this. And and she followed through on it. So you don’t you never know how you’re going to impact someone’s life when you follow that Inkling. So I like what you just said there. Yeah,
Colleen Murphy 53:38
yeah, no, I think those are the best. The people that you don’t expect are the ones that touch you the most.
Brian Smith 53:44
Yes, yes, they can be you know, it’s really wild. Because the people that you think are going to step up, it’s the opposite too, right? Sometimes
Unknown Speaker 53:53
we could go there, but I’m not going to. Well,
Brian Smith 53:56
you know, people, it’s it’s uncomfortable. And for some people, it’s just easier to just and this is why I look at I have you know, really good friend. I don’t. He was a good friend when we don’t talk anymore. And maybe, you know, I don’t know if that was why or not. But it’s like that’s just life. So we don’t I try not to judge people. I’m just like, they’re just not there yet. But, but like you I love your attitude. It’s like, let’s focus on the good things. Let’s focus on the people that stepped up. Let’s focus on, you know, the life that you have with Lauren, that you at that time when you got that phone call might not have expected.
Colleen Murphy 54:32
Yeah, yeah, definitely. For sure.
Brian Smith 54:35
So, um, what is life with Lauren, like now like on a day to day basis?
Colleen Murphy 54:40
So, um, you know, the pandemics kind of, you know, obviously been tough. It’s been tough on all of us. But for someone that’s really, really social, it’s really hard. So when we have speeches scheduled, she is on cloud nine, and she’s you know, completely pleasant and she’s got you know, you know a lot to look forward to. She does stay busy with she works out with a twice a week. And then she works with disabled athletes Association who have fabulous and they do, she doesn’t work out with them one day a week. And then she also does adaptive swimming, adaptive rock climbing. And in the summer, she’s done adaptive tennis, and you know, we try to keep her as busy and keep her out of, you know, shopping as much as possible because she has very expensive tastes. She loves to shop. So we, you know, we try to keep her busy, what we really struggle with is her finding activities when she’s bored, you know, because TVs not really an option because she can’t follow the dialogue. Reading isn’t an option, because she can only read like small phrases. So it’s really hard to find something to do that doesn’t have language entailed. So you know, she really enjoys watching, you know, the Cardinals and in the blues, because, you know, following sports is easy. But it’s hard for her on her downtime. You know, she really struggles with that. But like I said, when we have speeches booked, she is on cloud nine. We also have a couple of vacations coming up, and we’re going to why. And we found someone that teaches adaptive surfing. Wow. Oh, you know, it’s important for me that she feels, you know, like, she’s able to accomplish things still and still do things. You know, because she’s watching, especially her younger siblings, you know, the baby was 11 at the time of the accident, she was 25 So watching her younger sister start driving and go into college and living life and you know, surpassing her is tough. And even like watching her nieces, her nieces and nephew, you know, like her niece is three and talk so well. And she’s always like Avery talk. So Well, Michael Avery has all of her brain, you can’t be so hard on yourself, you know, so it’s hard for her to see, you know, them surpass because she’s aware, which is which is a good thing, you know, because for a long time, she wasn’t aware. But you know, it’s still it’s hard. But you know, she’s still very thankful to be alive. And you know, we just tried to keep her as busy as is we can. The downtime is is hard. And I think one thing that pandemic taught me is that I’m perfectly content sitting in sweatpants all day and doing nothing but unfortunately my daughter is not so you know, we try to keep her as as busy as we can.
Brian Smith 57:13
Yeah, I would imagine that would be a real challenge. You know, as you said, I could I think about because I’m home all day every day and but you know, I can watch TV I can read so if you take those activities away and when you’re locked in and the pandemic leaves very few options so I’m sure that’s a challenge for you to find ways to keep her you know, engaged. So hopefully we’ll be out of this soon and you can start getting out a little bit more
Colleen Murphy 57:39
it is hard but yeah, I mean it’s getting it’s getting better but it’s you know, it’s it’s hard so we need that speaking calendar Philip and we actually have had a slow January February but spring we’re on like April we’re almost book solid. So you know, it’s, it’s look it up but you know, it’s just been a slow dreary month.
Brian Smith 57:57
Yeah, so these in person speeches you guys are
Colleen Murphy 57:59
doing or do both? Yeah, most of them are in person. Um, but yeah, we do. We do both. And we are in Missouri, they’re not you know, the lockdown is not you know, there’s like the area where I live it’s mask optional. And even like with schools, different parts of the country are stricter in different areas. So we’re able to go into the schools when we do schools and you know, different corporations to um, it just depends on where you are in the ones that are a little stricter we we do them virtually, that’s fine.
Brian Smith 58:30
So tell me about where they are your match or game from Murphy’s don’t quit.
Colleen Murphy 58:35
So that one I can’t claim that for myself, that was my husband. And you know, from the time the kids were little it, you know, whatever, they wanted to quit, you know, whether they were like, I don’t want to do softball, you know, we got to finish the year. Murphy’s don’t quit, you know, you signed up for this, we’re going to finish whether they’re pairing up socks, you know, that was always my go to punishment, you know, with a family of nine, you can imagine our sock basket was just overflowing. So whenever they were in trouble, I didn’t just send him to the room, I sent him to the room with the sock puppet and they had to match it so you know, Murphy’s, don’t quit, you’re gonna sit here until all these socks are match. So that’s kind of where it came from. And, you know, he’s always used it and, you know, he would try to use it on me too, with whatever like, oh Murphy’s, don’t mind me, I’m not a Murphy and married into this. Yeah, real quick. But, you know, never did anybody, you know, encompass that family mantra than Lauren, you know, during her recovery. So it just kind of it kind of stuck. And you know, we had the support T shirts said Murphy’s don’t quit and the bracelets and the website. So, you know, the the title of my book was actually something different. And a couple of writers conferences recommended that I changed the title to that because that match the website and it worked. Wasn’t my first choice. But you know, you know, I’m not the one that’s going to be buying it. So I had to, I had to put my ego aside and, you know, let them
Brian Smith 59:54
know it’s funny. I was just before we got on this interview, I was interviewing another author and same thing she She had a title for a book and everybody made her change. So what was what was your original title?
Colleen Murphy 1:00:04
So my original title was Lauren’s Jane Dhoni, which was trauma foxtrot. 5395. So it just for me, it was kind of like, that’s not her name, but kind of like hell yeah. You know, trauma Foxtrot survived this. But, you know, obviously, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t tell you what the story is about. But really, Murphy’s don’t quit, doesn’t tell you what the story’s about. But it kind of does. You know, it tells you that, you know, there’s not quitting involved. So, so it works. It’s hard when you write a book, it’s kind of like your baby. And you know, it’s it’s hard. Your vision, you know, is not, you know, sometimes the publisher doesn’t agree with your vision. But you know, he’s got to be you got to be flexible.
Brian Smith 1:00:44
Yeah. So the book just just came out recently, right? Yes,
Colleen Murphy 1:00:47
October 5, which was Lauren’s birthday, told me it had to be a Tuesday in October, and I’m like, well, perfect. Her birthday fell on a Tuesday. So yeah, yeah, dropped October 5. And it’s done really, really well. So we’re excited.
Brian Smith 1:00:58
Awesome. Obviously, you guys are accepting speaking engagement sounds like you’re looking for them. So people can go to, I want you to give your website,
Colleen Murphy 1:01:06
sir. It’s Murphy’s. Don’t quit calm. Okay. And there’s a contact tab, you can reach us there and email us, you know, we, you know, I respond to every even if you just have a comment, you know, or whatever question. Also, you know, any TBI families or anybody going through, you know, I am always open to helping other families, you know, go through whatever, you know, I don’t care about medical advice, you know, I can tell you our experience. But you know, I definitely don’t claim to be an expert, but I always have a listening ear for anybody that’s going through something similar?
Brian Smith 1:01:37
Well, I think one of the lessons and all these things is even the experts don’t know everything, right? They tell us in the brain is just really amazing. Because it’s so plastic, you know, you can remove a part of the brain and another part of the brain can take that over. So yeah, you know, when people ask, you know, will Lauren ever be normal? It’s like, first of all, what is normal, even mean? And, you know, she could keep improving? You know, we don’t, we don’t really know, people, we don’t know, as much as we think that we do. But people that have been born with very little brain at all, they have very high IQs I just heard this a few weeks ago that people like, like, no brain and have super high IQs. Yeah, the brain is
Colleen Murphy 1:02:15
amazing. And you know, nobody knows, you know, but you know, we’re gonna just keep powering through.
Brian Smith 1:02:20
Yeah, well, you guys, I’m really glad to have met, you have this conversation. It’s so inspirational, talking to someone who’s gone through and going through them. And I want to, I don’t want to minimize what you’re going through. Now. It’s not like life, as you said, Doesn’t always, you know, get easy. We don’t have our quota of when this when this is over. And sometimes we get things that we don’t we didn’t think we signed up for but we have to take them and do what we can with them.
Colleen Murphy 1:02:49
Yeah, and I for I know, those that are listening, not a reason to look at the video, but I just want to say I love that your daughter is over your shoulder and seeing her beautiful face is, you know, really inspiring for me. And I’m really proud of you for what you’re doing. And I’m sure she has to.
Brian Smith 1:03:06
Thanks. I appreciate that. You know, the thing is, is we talked about earlier, you know, the different types of grief. One things I’ve learned in my life is, you know, not to try to compare, like we all do, we’re just we’re human, right. So we have we have a friend whose daughter had brain cancer and almost exact same age as Shana. It’s lived around the corner. We watched her go through that Shana passed suddenly. And so as a parent, you go well, which is worse, you know, is it better that Shana was healthy right up to the last moment? But we lost her suddenly? Or is it better to know and have that now and then with your situation, your situation? But Lauren, you know, it’s just it’s all different. It’s all different. And it’s all the same? It’s all grief, grief. Yeah. And it’s all a matter of what do we do with it? You know, so, I appreciate you, you being so open to share your story and inspire some of the other people. And we could all look at, you know, look at what’s good in our life. And I like that. I love that you’re doing that. So any any last words? Anything, anything you want to say to wrap up as we as we conclude today?
Colleen Murphy 1:04:11
Yeah. You know, just, you know, the sun will come up tomorrow, you know, tomorrow will be better. You know, every day is a little better. Just keep on keepin on.
Brian Smith 1:04:18
Yeah, exactly what calling it’s been really wonderful to meet you. Thanks for being here on grief to growth, and I’ll see you soon. All right.
Colleen Murphy 1:04:25
Thanks for having me. All right. Bye bye.
Brian Smith 1:04:29
Don’t forget to light hit that big red subscribe button and click the notify Bell. Thanks for being here.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai