I have struggled to come back to this space… this space that is so sacred and holds so much of our family’s story, of our Katy Girls Story. I have tried so many times in the past 617 days to come and update you… that have loved and prayed for our family especially Katy. I couldn’t, but I missed it and I missed this outlet… I thought of starting a new blog, but that didn’t feel right either… our past forever chronicled here in this space, I need it tell our future.
I reached out to my friends and family and asked if maybe they could help me break the silence… bridge the gap. Within thirty minutes the post below was in my inbox. My dear friend Anna Mary Geist president of It's My Heart and such a bright light in this sometimes dark and cruel world, reflected on how we got to where we are now. It was heartwarming to read her words and feel her love. Love for me, my family and our community. Thank you for helping guide me on this part of my journey.
Fast forward 1 year, 8 months, and 8 days... that's 617 days... 617 days!
Many of you know what those days have held for the Murphy family, but maybe some of you who have only visited the blog a few times and have let Katy's story slip to the back of your memory do not. Maybe those "some of you" were left wondering and still wonder: "How is Katy? Is she still playing soccer? Is she still dancing? I have to get back to the blog and see how everything turned out and see her sister and see how Patrick is doing - he must be so big by now... Oh, I will do it later, I am sure she is doing great, she was amazing - a Rockstar - and always overcame even the most challenging obstacles. I really should go back there though... later..."
For Katy and her family, later never came. Katy never came home from the hospital that summer. She never got to the top of that last mountain that was slammed in front of her. It wasn't for a lack of fight, however. Katy gave it her all to the very end. She fought hard to get through the infection and rejection her new heart and tiny body were facing, but this challenge was so much bigger than she was. On August 16, 2014, Katy gained her angel wings and the Murphy family said a goodbye no family should ever have to say. The funeral was the most beautiful celebration of life you have ever seen, yet it was also the most heart-wrenching and terrible thing to watch a family go through. I will never forget the literal and physical heartbreak I felt as the cemetery service ended and a Mom who had ALWAYS stood by her daughter through thick and thin, hospital stay after hospital stay, and was never forced to leave her daughter, turned to her own mother and sobbed "I cannot leave her here, I cannot leave my Katy." I thought to myself "Oh nooo, that's right, moms never leave their sick children." A piece of everyone's heart fell to Katy's casket with those words. Her mom was just amazing, however, when she hugged her tight and sweetly answered "You are not leaving her. Katy is not here. She is well." Katy was finally healed, no more hospital visits, no more pokes, no more fear. As hard as it was to say goodbye to Katy and as hard as it is to live without her bright smile and loving spirit here on earth, she is no longer in physical pain. Yet, it still rains on the Murphys. I truly believe a piece of that rain is Katy missing them as much as they are missing her.
This is not the end of the story, Katy's journey, or this blog by any means. While Katy may not be here on earth with us, may not have met her sister Riley Kate (here), or have seen Patrick mastering his skiing skills; and her family lives every day with the untamed grief monster that rears its head wherever and whenever it likes... where even breathing can trigger a memory that carries with it days of depression and sorrow, the Murphy family has found a way to live each day, to raise Riley and Patrick to know and love Katy more and more each moment, and to keep Katy's spirit alive! They have started a wonderful Foundation in Katy's name that will do amazing work to help families facing the unthinkable, as well as bring smiles and cheer to other kids like Katy.
Kind of fitting that today is day 617. Being from Boston, we all are 617 strong... for our community... for Katy... and for the whole Murphy family.