By Robin Timpanaro
When I was 5, my step- cousin Murphy cut out an engagement ring from the newspaper and gave it to me. He said," I'm going to marry you someday, Robin." He was 6.
I still remember that big goofy grin and his crew cut. I remember my mother and my aunt looking at me and Murphy and laughing. My mother said, "Murphy loves you Robin!" Murphy blushed and so did I.
When I was 9, I used to take my little brother Chuck up to the stationary store. He would get his usual rock candy and I got a stuffed animal. Every weekend. This was our ritual. This was 1972 and 2 kids walking to the store was really not such a big deal and I was so grown up in a lot of ways. I really didn't have much of a choice. Yet, I was still very much a little girl.
As I was getting ready to pay for our stuff, someone called my name. 'Robin?" I turned around. It was my cousin Murphy. I hadn't seen him in years. He looked so different. He had long blonde hair. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I was so shy. So coy. He was a boy with beautiful blonde hair. No longer that silly 6 year old with a crew cut and a paper engagement ring in his hand.
"Robin! Don't you remember me? It's me. Your cousin Murphy!"
"Robin. Please! It's me. Murphy!" He sounded so sad.
A few months later, the phone rang. It was my Uncle Eddie. His voice sounded funny.
"Robin? It's Uncle Eddie. Where's your mother?"
I got my mother. She screamed. She called my step-father. "Charles! Oh My God! Charles! Murphy is dead!"
Murphy is dead? What?
"Mommy? Murphy is dead?"
Total chaos. No one knew I was standing there.
Murphy hung himself. At the age of 10, he went to his room, put a belt around the pole in his closet, and hung himself. My Uncle heard a noise in his bedroom at the time. It must have been him kicking the chair, but he didn't pay it any mind. He continued to watch TV.
Murphy hung himself? Why mommy? I really did not understand what was going on. What I really didn't understand at the time is that my heart was being broken. Shattered like glass.
My mother said, “Robin, why didn't you invite him over that day you saw him?" That was when I was convinced I had killed my cousin. He died thinking I didn't love him anymore.
All my life, memories of those days pop into my head. It doesn't matter what I am doing. I can be washing the dishes, folding the laundry, heading to the gym. I can even be getting all cozy in my bed with a good book and Murphy will come into my head. It always starts with this great feeling of remorse. I think about the pain that little boy was in. How could he have been so sad? He was just 10 years old! Dear God in heaven, how could he kill himself in such a violent way? I can sometimes actually feel the rope around my neck and I have to put my hands there and rub that feeling away. Rubbing it really hard. Oh my dear God!
I am so sorry Murphy. I really did love you. Please understand. I was just a stupid little girl who was just beginning to notice cute boys. I didn't mean to hurt you, but you will never know this. I will never be the same. I will see your face in every little boy I look at and I will think of you every time I see my son going through the pains of growing up.
I only wish you knew that on that day you took your life, you took a piece of me with you.
AFTERTHOUGHT: I t is such a beautiful day out today, so instead of going to the gym, I decided to enjoy the weather and go for a run through the canyon.
It was right after I wrote about you Murphy and so you were still so fresh in my mind. You know my mother sent me to Catholic school and so it was drilled into my head that suicide was one of the greatest sins and we will go directly to hell if we take our own lives.
Well, I don't believe this to be true. We are taught that God is loving and merciful and I refuse to believe that he would sentence a 10 year-old boy’s soul to eternity in hell.
I believe that you woke up to a beautiful sunny day like it is here today, got dressed and put on your black "little man" shoes with the toes all scuffed up from kicking pebbles.
It was the start of a new day, and there was a little girl waiting for you on her front porch. “I'm still there waiting for you,” she said.