THANK YOU MOM

First I want to thank everyone for being here to honor my mom and support our family.  We are incredibly appreciative of your love and support.

The thing I most want to say today is thank you mom.  Thank you for giving me the life I have, the faith I have in a loving God, and the experience of being raised by someone who worked quietly, consistently, and with great integrity, for her family, community, and world.

Thank you mom, for the gift of laughter.  Many of my favorite childhood memories are of laughing.  Laughing really hard at Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, and especially MASH.  Laughing at the Sunday comics, the Far Side and Bloom County.  Even Doonsebury, which I rarely got, but which I knew must be funny because my mom and the rest of my family sure thought so.  Laughing about our family lore – the inside jokes and stories that made me so glad I was a Murphy.  Looking through family photos this past week, I was struck by how many of them capture all of us laughing – you can almost see the tears streaming down our faces in some of them.

Even as she got sicker and less herself, she kept her wonderful sense of humor, and seeing it pop up was always a bright spot in my visits with her these past few years.  Not long after my folks celebrated their 50th anniversary, I asked her if she had any words of wisdom about how they had stayed married for so long.  Her instant reply: "Nope.  Just a lack of imagination."

I can't truly express how delightful it was to hear her crack that joke.  It was playful, hopeful, hilarious...and just so completely her.  

Thank you mom, for the gift of caring about the world.  Bob talked about her many causes, the organizations she supported and the ways she was an activist here in Sonoma and beyond.  Talking with my family this week, I realized how many things she was involved with that I had no idea about – and my dad even remarked that some of her philanthropic efforts even he never knew about.  Hers was not a “selfie” kind of activism – it never would have occurred to her talk about, much less promote, her contributions.
 
The cause that left the biggest impression on me as a kid was her involvement with Sonoma Action for Nuclear Disarmament, and the weekly vigils she attended at the Plaza.  She stood there, with her candle and peace sign, every single week.  As a kid, I admit I sort of thought “What the heck is the point of that?  Standing there with a candle?  In this tiny town?  That’s IT?”  I didn’t have the long view then.  But now I think she did even more than bring about nuclear disarmament for our entire country and world: just as significant to me, her daughter, was the example she embodied, of standing for what she believed in and of doing whatever she could to shape the world she wanted to live in. 

This past January, I went to the women’s march in Oakland with a group of friends – other moms I know from soccer fields and birthday parties.  And every single of them said that this was the first time they had ever participated in ANY kind of march or demonstration: to which I responded: “Seriously???”  As our friend Kaeti Bailie joked when I told her this story: “WHO RAISED YOU?”  Not Rose Murphy, who carried many a protest sign in her day, most frequently one that proclaimed peace and love.  I learned from her life long example that you show up for the things you care about and that gestures large and small make a powerful difference, sometimes in ways you don’t expect.

Thank you mom, for the gift of literature and language. 
Mom was a huge reader, and as a teenager and young adult I got most of my reading recommendations from her.  Great novels, volumes of Irish poetry, the ever-present New Yorker magazine – these were some of her favorite things, and were always ways she and I connected.

And clearly, mom was a gifted writer.  In her books, articles, and reflections, she knew how to express herself, how to make ideas clear and tell captivating stories.  Her writing is now, for me, a way to continue my conversations with her, to keep getting to know her and learn from her.  Reading Dervla, The Secret Irish Bard, is particularly delightful – her creativity and imagination leap from the page.  I am grateful beyond measure that as my children grow up – and their own children someday -- they will be able to read her words and get to know the beautiful woman she was.

Even today, she is still giving.  Because of who she was to each of us, and to each of you, I am still receiving gifts and blessings from her.  So many of you have shared stories with us about how she helped you or how much fun you had together. I’ve heard about her college days, her San Francisco days, her wonderful friendship to others, and her contributions to Sonoma – each story is another gift, and each of you has helped fill in the gaps that a daughter naturally has in understanding her mother.  It is a joy, even as we have to let her go, to see more fully the impact she had and the ripples of love she spread in every direction.

So thank you, mom, for bringing all of these people together today; thank you for the countless ways you actively loved us, your family, and the entire world. Thank you for showing me how beautiful each person is in the eyes of God.  I love you, I miss you, and I look forward to being with you again. 

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