Tag Archives: Chelsea Rose Murphy

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.

The Winter Inside by Scott Carr – A Tribute To Chelsea Rose Murphy

Today is winter.  Again.

Long cold fingers seemingly reach from the North across hundreds upon hundreds of miles to find me.  The sun shines, but I find no warmth in it, instead each blowing wind feels like another icy caress.  To me, everything reflects the uncaring grip of winter from the barren trees moving to and fro as they rake their claw like branches across the sky to  dormant grass that seems to quietly crush beneath each step I take.

It’s just a season.  It’s just the tilt of the Earth’s axis and our overall position in orbit around the sun.  …it is, but it feels like so much more to me.  Like one of the few brown and shriveled leaves hanging onto the oak tree, my emotions are seemingly drained of vibrance and now merely give way to any passing situation.

It’s not the cold.  The numbness in my limbs, the shivers that sometimes aflict me, they come from more than just Old Man Winter.  In reality, he has much more going on up north than anything he might throw as far south as I am now.  No, it’s not the cold.

I miss Chelsea Rose Murphy.

It is the season inside that hides the warmth of the sun or whips the north wind across my face.  The season inside is a frozen day where no birds sing and no squirrels race across the lawn.  The season inside brings dreary clouds and long restless nights.

Without Chelsea Rose, the season inside is the winter inside…

…and today is winter.  Again.


…I heard a song today.  It’s not new, its one I’ve heard many times before, but today, just today – I heard it in a different way.  I played it a second time, just a little louder as I begin to hum just a little.

I don’t know, it felt a little like that first green leaf and stem poking upward just a little above all the brown, above the dead grass, a sharp contrast of green… it felt just like a little bit of hope, maybe a tiny bit of joy.  I played the song a third time, this time I sang.  I felt happy, and I thought of Chelsea.

It is still winter inside.  It is still a very long and restless night.  Tonight.  I’m sure tomorrow and the tomorrow’s yet to come will be the same.

…perhaps I’ll listen to that song again tomorrow.


They Touch Our Soul – A Tribute To Chelsea Rose Murphy

They say you can’t pick your family but I surely think we do and it extends way beyond our biological one.

It’s amazing and a little surreal when we cross paths with our tribe because we immediately recognize the connection goes way beyond our normal way of relating to others. It feels like we’ve known them for ever. We somehow know we can be just the way we want to be without fear of judgement and reprisals because they love us no matter what. We can share with them on a very deep level.

They touch our soul. We live in a place of awesome physical beauty that is a wonder to behold and we navigate this world with a physical body that must follow the physical rules of time and space.

No matter what age we are when we experience the death of someone so close to us it’s inevitable to be confused and anguished when we try to find reason in a time line.

Maybe the beauty of physical death is that it brings the awareness that the experiences we share as we relate to one another on this physical plane create connections that live on unbroken in our memories and in the way we learn to recreate ourselves through example.

By Kaitlin’s Aunt Kathy

Ride High Little Angel by Charlotte Murphy: A Message From Chelsea

When you see a horse running wild and free.
Stomping and Snorting, being all he can be.
I really hope you will think of me!
Long hair flying in the breeze, the horse and me are one you see.

I took a ride, it set me free.
Then my God, swooped down, and rescued me.
He whispered as he spoke to me.

I never left you my child, I was here.
I’ve heard your prayers, I know your fears.
I will take away your tears.
You are a Christian and with me, you will be.
In my Heaven my eternity.

Dad, Mom, Josh and Maddy & family.
Loved to make you smile, laugh and play.
All of you gave me my happiest days.
I cherish all our memories with that I won’t part.
Memories etched forever in my heart.
As a child you taught me how to pray, to know a God who is with me today.

I learned the best things in life, love, kindness, forgiveness from my Mom and Dad.
Thank you for showing God to me.
In my heart he will ever be.

I LOVE You more than you will ever know,
In you my spirit will forever flow,
The best parents a girl could know.

Josh and Maddy, I love you so.
In your hearts, I know you know.
Live life to your fullest, smile and think of me.
In your hearts there I will always be.

Pray to God, in his grace you’ll see.
Peace like a river, he rescued me.
Know with him I will forever be.
Lift up your heads, rejoice and sing with me.
In Gods kingdom is peace you see.

I took a ride it set me free,
Forever in my Saviors, arms I’ll be.
Thank you Lord for blessing me,
with the greatest FAMILY.