There are seven days in a week, 7 continents, 7 Wonders of the World and 7 kids in the Murphy family (Also a wonder of the world if you ask my mother). But the reason I am writing this CaringBridge post is because today is the 7 year anniversary of Lauren’s accident.
For those that do not know me, my name is Kelsey and I am one of Lauren’s sisters--I am number 5 in the Murphy pecking order.
I know and recognize that we all have our own stories. We remember exactly where we were when ‘X’ happened in our lives. This memory for me happened to completely change my life. While I rarely talk about this in depth even with those closest to me, I wanted to share more and bring all of our followers behind the curtain into my view of this journey.
I remember April 19th, 2013 like it was yesterday. I was 17 and a Junior in high school. I had just finished a soccer game. I was upset because of lack of playing time and I was stressed with school (looking back this seems so trivial).
As I casually walked across the field, I noticed everyone from both teams were stopped dead in their tracks, looking at me. The more I looked, I noticed that multiple people were crying.
I was naturally confused but knew something had happened. My heart sank. I looked around to figure out what was going on and found the face of my best friend’s mother, Jill Kienstra walking across the soccer field to meet me. I knew it had to be serious. Simply looking at her heartbroken face caused my first tear to fall.
My parents were on a flight to be with my sister in LA and had called Jill asking if she would tell me the news.
Jill had to wait an entire soccer half on the side lines, knowing that at the end of the game she would change my life forever.
Can you imagine being tasked to do this? Jill, I am thankful for your strength.
In the middle of a soccer field, with a field full of teammates, friends, and strangers, I learned that my sister was hit by a car while running.
I remember asking with a shaky voice: ‘is she going to live?’
Jill hugged me as she whispered: ‘I don’t know.’
We both cried.
This journey has completely changed my life. I went from living a life where I was stressed about prom dresses, weekend plans and homework to living a life nervous to find out how my sister's 3rd brain surgery went.
I’ve witnessed things that I wish most people never have to see, much less at the age of 17. I have walked into an ICU at Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles and did not recognize the person I was there to see. I have seen my sister without half a skull, with tubes coming out of every portion of her body. I’ve witnessed tracheostomy, seizures and therapy appointments.
One of the memories that sticks with me the most is something that happened on the night of April 19th, 2013. My older sister Sam was on the phone with my Dad getting her 3rd update of the hour on the condition of my sister. We all knew it was touch and go but knew very little details until Lauren was out of surgery and my parents were able to talk to the doctors.
My siblings were all sitting at the kitchen table watching Sam take notes of what my dad was telling her.
She got off the phone and gave the first update since the brain surgeon had finished Laurens surgery.
I will never forget the faces of all of my siblings sitting at the kitchen table as Sam ended her update by sharing with the room that ‘the doctors had to remove a portion of her brain.’
I repeated it back to her: ‘a portion of her brain? ‘
Sam confirmed with a head nod.
I broke down as I felt my heart break into a million pieces.
As I approach the age of 25 (the same age Lauren was when she had her accident) I am faced with the confusing emotions of being happy for how far Lauren has come, while being heartbroken for what could have been. As I thought about what I wanted to do for the 7 year anniversary, I knew I wanted to share the story of my first tear as I know grief is an ever evolving, confusing emotion.
For a long time throughout this journey I thought that there would be no happy ending. I would stare into my sisters lifeless eyes as she walked around our home and I did not see how this could ever be okay.
I do not believe in the phrase ‘everything happens for a reason’ as this can be very hurtful to those closest to a tragedy. What I like to think instead is that ‘you can find happiness in every situation.’
Today, Team Murphy you will see a video of the happiness that Lauren has found from this journey. You will see her happy ending that we all have been praying for.
Lauren has found her passion again.
Lauren has started her public speaking career and just in the past year has spoken to over 7,500 people.
Who would have thought? Who would have thought that a girl who was not expected to live, a girl who has the language center of her brain removed-- would be becoming a motivational speaker.
A true and living miracle.
Lauren, you are absolutely an inspiration to my life and I am so thankful you are here today, and that you keep fighting, you are a ray of sunshine. There are no words to tell you how proud I am of you.
Mom, (Kwals) you are my hero. You work harder than everyone I know and you have completely dedicated your life to making sure that Lauren has the hope of a normal life. So much of what you do on a day to day basis goes unnoticed, I am grateful for everything that you do for our family.
Team Murphy--Thank you for all of your love and support. You have made me feel loved and supported the past 7 years and I could never thank you enough. I love each and every one of you.
I hope you all enjoy the video. https://youtu.be/dhVgfSCw3O8