The Journey Home


It seems like a lifetime has passed since December’s post. Early December brought pneumonia for me, and then after Christmas, life proceeded to worse. Chad suffered a serious fall and the next day, Patrick’s friend was killed in a car accident. Chad’s on the mend, and we are attempting to help our son through his loss. As a parent, the challenges of bridging this horrible passage never occurred.

Most generations remember losing and mourning a friend gone too young. I remember those friends lost in high school and college, the pain, questions, and numbness. As parents we sit by helplessly, attempting to ease the grief. While we can certainly be there for support, nothing helps more than letting our young grieve together. Perhaps this is part of letting go; our children need the chance to be with their peers to truly sort things out. As a woman, I also didn’t expect how certain difficult, manual activities provide closure for our men, my father-in-law building his granddaughter’s coffin twelve year’s ago or my son and his friends actually picking up shovels and burying their friend.

When dealing with death, I often think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s glimpse through Gandalf’s words in “The Lord of the Rings”:

“…The journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path…One that we all must take…The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass…and then you see it…White shores…and beyond. A far green country under a swift sunrise.”

I don’t begin to know or claim what’s to come, but I have often found solace in Tolkien’s words and prefer to follow my parents’ words of wisdom. “We all have a journey ahead, a topic worthy of reflection.” The following song, from the late 70s has often brought me peace. Also, after witnessing the visitation, bagpiper’s procession and funeral (and later, watching my husband’s stubbornness and strength to get back to work), I truly understand what Maureen O’Hara meant when she said, “We Irish are a fighting people.”

RIP  Jeremiah

wrestling Patrick and Jer




For Auld Lang Syne, My Dear

family pic


Ever since I could remember, our family had a tradition. We would join hands at midnight on New Year’s Eve and slowly walk in a circle and sing, “Auld Lang Syne.” The tradition can be traced as far back as my Great Grandpa Stewart, born in Nova Scotia, a proud descendent of those re-located through the Highland Clearances.

Auld Lang Syne was a poem written by Robert Burns. Upon further research, I learned there are several versions of the tune, including Burns’ original “Scots verse” and an English translation. My family, apparently, was singing a mixture of the two.

I couldn’t resist pulling out my Strumstick and “giving things a go.” So here’s my rendition of this song, honoring my Scottish history. May your endeavors bring you bounty, may your children bring you joy, and may your lives bring you laughter and peace.

Here’s to an excellent 2015!


For the Love of Music: Christmas Edition


(My brother’s Flexible Flyer from the 1960s…Mom recycled it into a Christmas decoration)


Life is busy at the Murphy House: Shopping, wrapping gifts, grading final essays, Christmas concerts, tourtiere baking, the start of wrestling season, the list goes on… I wanted to record one more song this year. The past seven months have been a fun adventure, learning to play the Strumstick. The instrument has become a fine compliment to my Celtic folk music (and even a few Christmas songs).  So to all my readers, I wish you cozy nights, the companionship of family and friends, and a blessed holiday.