Pocket Full of Sunshine


See Chelsea I try and take you everywhere with me these days. Like you are some little token or a toy poodle I can stuff in my pocket and no one can really tell you are there except for me.  In the morning, you hop in my car and we bump to gangsta tunes that are at least 5 years outdated, spitting those raunchy lyrics like we mean business as we drive down to work.

I like waking up to that slap in the face of heavy beats.  The other passengers might not enjoy our style as much, but we got the CD deck on lock as always so they kinda have to power through the bass heavy commute.

I love joking around with you throughout the day especially when I have gapers in my snowboard classes or I see someone on skis hitting kickers like you do.  I haven’t seen anyone that matches your running man though.  No worries. You love the Colorado sun so much that I always take you on my adventures in the mountains. The rays sweeping across both our faces. Man, its hard to wipe a cheesy smile off mine.

We keep the smiles rolling on all my homies faces, per usual. I pass out your shenanigan stories like candy and my friends eat it up like its the day after Halloween.  I think that is where you flourish most–over a couple of brews just kicking it with a group of friends passionately describing past experiences. It’s kinda funny how you are just kicking it in my pocket when they are wishing they could meet you.

Night hits and the stars appear. I am like a little kid flipping through the same bedtime story as I open up that hilarious scrap book you made me a few years ago.  it is filled with more than embarrassing photos of the two of us, cheesy friendship quotes, your messages and spirit concentrated on every page.

I don’t know how you managed to hack into my dreams but i am not mad about it. We just continue our adventures without the rules of reality to bind us down.  Mostly I don’t want to wake up because right when my eyes open you slip outta my mind like fine grains of sand.  And all I want to do is be a crazy person and not accept reality. Not accept the truth that you are no longer creating a path alongside mine, intertwining as we make our journeys through the world.

Somedays you are so gone. And that is why I cling to my dreams and childish imaginations of your existence.  It is the only way for me not be crushed by your absence.  I am actually under that overwhelming ocean of disbelieve quite frequently and that is when I feel you the least.

That’s what I am saying Chels, we are just going to have to keep hanging out in the sunshine together. Forever or else I will go crazy or worse, forget.

Love you always,



Chelsea Rose Murphy: You Are My Sunshine

Chelsea – you are my sunshine, my incredibly beautiful bright light!  Shining bright like the sun, your vast beams of personality radiated and left its imprint on my heart.  You are like the colors of the sunset, the beautiful vibrant shades of orange I see when I look at the horizon.  And, like the sunset, your mesmerizing glow is all encompassing and lures those around you.

When you came into a room, your bountiful presence commanded attention.  People would watch in awe as you spoke.  Whether you were telling a great tale of being attacked by a shark, sharing the latest gossip or making fun of some unfortunate soul, your wicked sense of humor brought copious amounts of laughter to those around you.  And, your infectious laugh was music to my ears.

You didn’t live life quietly!  You were my red-headed wild child, fierce and ungovernable, standing up for what you believed in and teaching others to do the same.  Many a teacher would describe you as ‘spirited’ at our parent-teacher conferences.  And, as you grew older, your lively nature grew and spilled over touching all those that encountered you, leaving many memories in your wake.

But, what a lot of people didn’t get to see was the delicate spirit that lay beneath the hard candy shell.  You were one of the most sensitive people I have ever known.  As a child, I recall watching you on one of your first days at Undercroft.  You didn’t know anyone and I watched  as you observed two little girls holding hands while standing in line at the door before going outside.  You walked over to those girls and slipped your tiny hand into theirs ~ wanting to be a part of what they shared.  If any of you were ever fortunate enough to experience this side of Chelsea, you know how special it was!  I am blessed to have experienced both sides of Chelsea; the untamed and the tender.

Most of all Chelsea, my life will be forever changed because of you, my bright  beautiful sunshine!

Chels – today marks the fourth week since your precious soul left this earth.  I search for you daily and will continue to do so until I join you on the other side.  I am trying to be grateful for the 23 years I was given to make memories with you.  But, it feels like we were just getting started!  I had so many hopes and dreams of what the future would hold.  Now, as life moves forward without your physical presence, I am trying to be  mindful of the signs you leave in my path that show me that you are still with me.  I love you Chelsea Rose!

Cosmic Balls – Chelsea “The Beast” Murphy: My favorite kickball seasons by Scott Carr

It was tough picking out the song.  It had to be just right… something I could play with my windows down, and of course – it had to be Kid Rock. It’s silly, I know.  I felt like I had to be cool I guess.  …or maybe I was just looking forward to having fun, just the two of us, and I thought the right music would kick it off.  Many times the song ended up being Kid Rock’s All Summer Long – because I always thought of when I met her Mom with that song.  Whatever the song was, I was playing it loud, windows down, when I pulled up on the street in front of her house.

I was picking up Chelsea before kickball.  It became a bit of a tradition for us.  Well, I felt it was.  I was always excited when Thursday would roll around.  I’d often text her early in the day – just to let her know I was excited we were going to be playing kickball that night.  …because I was.  Damn.  I cherished those Thursday nights.

Chelsea was one of the only girls I knew that who could kick the ball well into the outfield if they let her.  It was amazing to see.  Of course kickball is for fun too, and our team – Cosmic Balls – is the most fun team in the league.  I was so especially excited about her being a part of that.  I even added her Tech9 song “I’m A Beast” to my kickball playlist.

It was cool.  Kari was sitting out those seasons, but I got to hang with Chelsea.  We had some great conversations just driving to and from kickball.  Sometimes we’d go out with the team afterwards.  For me, it was a wonderful time with my step daughter Chelsea.

Once a Cosmic Baller, always a Cosmic Baller.

Betsy Whitmarsh’s post to Chelsea Rose Murphy the day of her service

Insanity at it’s finest.
Fire starter,
Riot maker,
Moon stricken,
Animal need,
Bad seed,
Untamable beast.

Tech N9ne “The Beast”

Josh shared these lyrics at your service today. He said you used to recite them before each soccer game to get pumped up. You were a beast, babe. A beautiful, wild child who made no apologies and took no prisoners.

Words can’t describe how heartbroken we are that you are gone or how much we miss you already. I always thought you were a much better version of me. We shared that whole middle child thing. But you were fierce and fearless, while I was self-conscious and shy, and I admired you, even as I shook my head and smiled.

I love you. There is no part of me that can even begin to accept that you are gone. I am so angry, I want to break everything I can get my hands on; and so sad, I don’t know that I will ever be able to smile again.

And then I see your beautiful face smiling back at me. And I know that you’d be really ticked at me if I gave into my grief for good, because you didn’t. No matter how crappy things got, no matter how many obstacles you had to overcome, you never complained – you got back up, you kept going, and you smiled that beautiful, beautiful smile. I was and still am in awe of you. I don’t know if we deserved you, sweetheart, but we loved you so.

I don’t know how to say goodbye to you. I don’t know if I ever will. You and Chase and Josh and Maddy are what bring me peace and without you, the word seems empty. I’m not okay. Nothing is okay. And then I hear your voice in my head and I know, once again, that while I can’t escape the pain of losing you, I can’t give into it either. Somehow, it will transform us both.

“We are not human beings living spiritual lives, but spiritual beings living human lives.” Can’t think of who said that, but it makes me think of you. My mind starts to try to make sense of this somehow and then all the memories of everything that’s happened these past few years come flooding in and I know that I will never be able to make sense of any of this.

“We never bury the dead. We take them with us – It’s the price of living.” We don’t heal from these losses, either, or work our way through them. We simply learn to live with the pain of losing those we love so dearly. For better or worse. And I promise you, Chelsea – as excruciatingly painful as losing you is for me – I will find a way to take you with me, I will find a way to go on without letting go, and I will find a way to become a better person than I ever thought I could be, because you, my beautiful, beautiful child never gave in, never gave up, and never quit smiling. I love you, sweet girl.

Sent from my iPad

My Favorite Memories of Chelsea Rose Murphy by Betsy Whitmarsh

My Favorite Memories – by Betsy Whitmarsh, a memorial of Chelsea Rose Murphy

I found god in myself
and I loved her,
I loved her fiercely.

– Ntozaje Shange

This poem has always made me think of you, Chelsea. I’ve never known anyone as outwardly self-assured as you. I’ve always marveled at your confidence. You were such a combination of strength, beauty, intelligence and compassion that you had every reason to feel good about yourself. However, most young girls don’t have the clarity of vision or the strength of character that you possessed. You stayed true to yourself. Even when you felt like things weren’t going well, you were startlingly honest and insightful, both with and about yourself.

One of my favorite memories of you will always be when you wanted to model for me all the new underwear and bras you got for Christmas. Of course, ALL the underwear was thongs! I was so proud and tickled and amazed by you. Never in a million years would I have had the self-confidence to do a “fashion show” in my underwear and yet, to you, it was the most normal thing in the world. Now I think about it, I recall that there were actually quite a few of these Victoria Secret “Fashion Shows.” You were always so excited whenever you got a new bra or thong and you literally had dozens of them. I think we actually counted your bras once. You had something like one for every day of the month!

Oh, sweetie, what I would give to be sitting on your bed with you, shaking my head and laughing while you showed me your new clothes, thongs and all.


The Sound Of Sorrow by Scott Carr – In memory of Chelsea Rose Murphy

The sound first appeared to waft upwards through the grate in the floor, passing up into the hallway outside my bedroom like a leaf blown into the sky on the first day of a fall season.  The sound was different, strange, creating a feeling of curiousity in my 10 year old self – drawing me closer and out of my room.  It was impossible to place, and unable to recognize it I stepped closer to the large metal grate, revealing small pieces of the view of the first floor of the house through it as I stood above it.  The sound wavered slow and fast, drifted off and resonated back louder than before.  It was muffled, then clear, then gone, then muffled… …I bent down to the floor, and sat near the grate.  Looking through to the first floor but seeing nothing but the metal grate of the floor furnace below.

I became vaguely aware of my sister standing in her bedroom doorway, as I leaned my ear down to the grate to strain at comprehending the sound. Suddenly I heard the front door open, both through the grate and from below the nearby stairs, closing – no slamming shut.  Loud steps across the living room below, a pace like a run, made a familiar sound on the hardwoods that I’d heard so many times before… my Dad’s steps.  I heard him speak, but what he was saying was entirely too muffled for me to make out and then I realized he had reached the source of that strange ambient sound… my mother.  I heard his coat ruffle as he took her in his arms, her head lifting up to his shoulder and that sound – no longer encumbered broke free like water gushing forth from a broken dam… cries, crying, sobbing, wailing… my Dad just held her as she tried to talk to him, tried to explain what he already knew… in broken crushed destroyed words that she had gotten a phone call and her brother Butch was dead.

Ten years old.  The sound had been so strange I had not even recognized it as anything.  Even the words being spoken through horrific sadness floated around and beyond me and my full comprehension as I lay entirely upon the metal grate, my hands pressed upon it and my fingers laced through.  Motionless I simply listened without any full understanding of the scene unfolding in the living room of my house below.

The sounds so obscure and baffling to a fifth grader are not to me today, for I know their source all too well – it is the reverberations of a heart as it cracks… it is the siren sound of a heart being ripped apart… …the sound of sorrow.  Ultimate sorrow.

Experience is sometimes the biggest bitch, and as such I have made that unfortunate sound on more occasions of my life than I care to recall to count, and so I won’t.  I woke up this morning from a rested sleep – it was a good night, and has been a good morning.  I’m still amazed at how the mind works,   just laying in bed waking up slowly and my mind moves me back in time along a loose thread of memory.  A memory of the sound of sorrow.

Just a short time, hours ago, days ago… nearly two weeks now – that sound came from me – a sound made for my step daughter, Chelsea Rose Murphy.  The sound of sorrow.

Loose threads of memory bringing back the time we received the news of my Uncle Butch’s untimely death.  …and the first real time I heard… the sound of sorrow.

By Betsy Whitmarsh – Thinking of Chelsea Murphy

Thinking of Chelsea Murphy by Betsy Whitmarsh…

Stop all the clocks
By W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message [S]he Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
[S]he was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Today, for the first time, I can feel that insatiable tug of life, pulling us forward, into the future, and away from you.

I want to stop the clocks and just rest here with you for awhile.

I know that we are, all of us, transformed, by you. By the gift of your presence in our lives.

And now, we must find a way to carry your heart in our hearts, if we are to survive with our futures intact and whole.

But it’s so hard, honey. Because I’m more than a little bitter. And angry. And drowning in these tears. I want to ring the bell and break the damned thing all at the same time.

I know. Chicken, egg. Caterpillar, butterfly. Got it, Babe. Chin up. Keep smiling. I will. Just like you. For you.
Miss you. Love you. Wish you were here.

I Like My Friends The Best – Thinking About Chelsea Rose Murphy

Trapped in a time where memories bring me to different places, I find myself sometimes stuck with the most surrealistic feelings about where I am.  This morning I simply could not believe the events of what can still be measured as days ago could have possibly happened.  Its an unsettling situation to be sure because the morning before today I awoke completely drenched in the grief of everything that did happen days ago.  It makes one a bit uncertain as they walk out the front door of the house and into the world outside.

It’s been days inside the house.  I cannot describe how comforting it has been to have friends stopping in.  I don’t have to talk if I don’t want to… they just walk in and give big hugs.  What is nice is we do talk. They understand what is happening, and they even share our grief.  Chelsea Rose Murphy touched us all, and we have so many great experiences with Chelsea to share with each other.  We laugh, we cry, we joke… …we remember.  In doing so, they participate in our healing which we so desperately need.  …and for a number of them, so do they.

This wasn’t something I even fully recognized a few days ago, and that was because I was in the house.  Often with my friends.

…but yesterday I ventured back out into the world.  It is necessary.  I have a job.  I have responsibilities.  I have this office to tend to, stacks of paper to sign, or more apt – many unread emails filling  my inbox at work.  I understand, I need to be here…

…even so I miss being in the house.  I miss my interactions being with just my friends…

…because with my friends I don’t have to come across an awkward pause in a conversation where someone stumbles looking for words with which to extend their sympathies.  I don’t have to acknowledge whatever they’ve said, and its not that I didn’t hear it, I did.  It’s not that I didn’t appreciate it either.  I’m doing my level best to work and focus with people I have a professional relationship with and that momentarily awkward experience attempts to open a much more personal door that I prefer to keep closed to all but my friends.

I understand of course.  Ultimately we are all people.  We are human.  Being empathetic beings compels a sympathetic outreach.

So I accept what I am able.  Actually, it is more true to say I accept all of it.  …and grateful for it, even if elements of interaction attempt to veer from the professional interactions which I desire in a question that truly can only be answered by expressing my feelings and love for my step daughter Chelsea.  Which is not what I am at work to do, nor is it even necessary if things could stay professional.

…and that brings me back to my friends.  I like my friends the best.  I don’t have to talk about anything if I don’t want to.  …but ultimately I find I want to talk with them.  They are so cool to talk to.  I don’t have to feel happy and I don’t have to smile.  …but ultimately I find they bring me to laughter.  It is so fun to laugh with them.  My friends can bring me from one extreme back to the other, effortlessly… …not even perhaps being aware that they are doing so, but they are just the same with their presence.  They give comfort to what is uncomfortable.  They bring relief to pain.  They are salve to an open wound.  For the time they share their presence, life is great.

There are a lot of people at work that I have to talk to today.  …or walk by in the hallway.  …or give the surprising “Yeah, not great” answer to the standard question “How Are You Doing?”.  It seemingly shocks everyone.

…but it wouldn’t for my friends.

I like my friends the best.

For Those Who Want to Give In Memory of Chelsea Rose Murphy

For those that have asked, gifts may be given to honor Chelsea’s memory through the fund below…

In Memory of Chelsea Rose Murphy:
Heifer International
c/o John Knox Presbyterian Church
2929 East 31st Street
Tulsa, OK 74105

It is important to note that this is not just a fund selected by the family, but rather Heifer International is an organization that Chelsea herself devoted her time and energy to supporting them.

On behalf of Kari, myself, and the whole Murphy family, thank you for your consideration and gracious support.

I’d Write A Rainbow: From Dr. Jeff London, Pastor of John Knox Presbyterian, by Ann Weems

If I could, I’d write for you a rainbow

and splash it with all the colors of God

so that each new God’s morning

your eyes would open first to hope and promise

If I could, I’d wipe away your tears

and hold you close forever in shalom

but God never promised I could write a rainbow

never promised I could suffer for you

only promised I could love you

That I do.


Sent to Kari Murphy upon the loss of her beloved daughter, Chelsea Rose Murphy.  A poem by Ann Weems, written into a card from Dr. Jeff London, John Knox Presbyterian of Tulsa, Ok.