Saturday, February 28, 2015


I think of going back to PA
how hard it is to imagine
my husband's horse Miakoda (power of the moon)
never knowing the soft touch
or whisper of Rick Page
I can recall like yesterday
this young painted colt
abused and hungry
walking up to Rick with trust in his horse heart
Watching Glenn a horse trainer
and his wife, my friend, Ginny Brown
putting the two of them in a round pen together
It was like watching magic happen
Miakoda's large eye on Rick
Their movement together
until they walked as one
no halter, no lead rope
Beautiful body communication without words
Miakoda was Rick's 40th birthday present
he claimed this horse was the best gift ever
Watching the connection
was a mystery and somehow made me love Rick more
Later, there was always that magic
Miakoda knew Rick's truck
and would be at the gate in an instant
waiting for the rustle of the peppermint
that Rick would hide in his pocket
It will be hard to go back to PA
whisper in a horse's heart
your owner is not coming back
but he will watch over you
until it is time for you two to be together once again


I feel almost everything I see
is a form of ambush
bringing together
memories I try
to hold at bay

Your invisibility
is the reminder that I am unable
to accept you will not be coming back
I would do anything if I could only change that

Please know how I hold you
in my heart and memories
I hope you know how much
I love and loved you

Friday, February 27, 2015


What purpose have I been
in this lifetime
that threatens to consume
what little there is that is left of me

How could you leave?
I begged for you to take care of yourself
I am angry that you did not do this
I am angry that I am left alone without you

I miss your voice
the way you held me at night
your way of making me laugh
even if I was upset or angry

I loved that you knew me best
understood me
and now there is no one I can call
or turn to who can accept me for this

I hate that we had so little time here
it was not enough
what am I supposed to do now?
I feel broken again
pointless to put pieces together

I felt loved and accepted by you
it was unconditional
I hope that God truly
accepts me in the same way

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tears and Ice

Today the frozen trees
remind me of visible ghosts
a strange haunting
fog clinging to the icicles
we were here last year
in a similar storm
laughing at the Southerns
who rarely see ice or snow
Rick driving as we passed
various adults and children
riding laundry baskets and cookie sheets
on the frozen earth
I feel stuck, like I am the frozen tree
nothing beautiful to offer
and feeling like a ghost of myself
He feels like an echo in my heart
mine barely beating
bleeding tears from my frozen limbs

Monday, February 23, 2015


Dear Rick Page
I will hold you
safe and strong
in my secret heart
you will always be young
I will hold you close
my constant reminder
of unconditional acceptance
when I miss you most
I picture us gliding on salt marshes
in our kayaks
secretly searching for the shy blue heron or white egret
we are silent in our world
peaceful and calm
where you are cherished and remembered
I wanted to call you today
to tell you another gallery loves OUR work
I could feel your smile
because you already knew
and your whisper as always
I am your shell seeker and watch over you

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Say Something

I would have given everything I possessed
material and spiritual
to have made that day on the beach different
If we are lucky and find the right one
we become one person
and our lives are so entwined
that verbal communication is hardly necessary
There is Nothing I would not have done
to make that day on the beach different
except, some miracle would have happened
and the people who extended every energy they had
would have saved you
selfish me. wanting you to be here longer
daily remembering of what I have because of you
Love, Acceptance and Grief
I dread going to bed without you
except the dog you chose
Indigo faces me nightly
to wash the tears from my face
sometimes I think,she is you
soft paw on my face
a quiet sigh and she tries to calm me to sleep
She chose you, and now she chooses me
a reminder to rest and face another day
with resilience and fortitude and above all
my main goal to make you proud and
to feel that I am worthwhile saving  with your grace and comfort

Friday, February 20, 2015

Please Stay

I begged you on the beach that day
please stay, don't die
I will fall apart without you
I knew the moment that you kneeled
in the sand and shells
that your beautiful heart
had stopped beating
I watched the rise and fall
of the people who tried so desperately
to help you
I watched completely helpless and also hopeless
I wanted another 40 years of love with you
My heart broke with yours on the beach too
Begging you to stay was not enough
not matter what we do, it is not enough

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Sometimes we are sent angels
we do not always recognize them
sometimes they look human
or the flight of a bird reminds us
of their presence
today an angel visited me
and told me a story of how his life was 5 years ago
that a stranger had given him $100 just as a gift
this person who came today
is actually a friend of yours
someone who wants to put in a window for me
he told me of the gift he got 5 years ago
to my astonishment
he handed me $500
and told me to finish the room that RIck and I had started
I can't get over being astonished
that a complete stranger would reach out like that to me
I know the lesson is
to be more like this person
I will do my best

Thank your for sending both carpenters my direction......our chance meeting on the beach this summer has led me to believe that nothing is really chance after all

Saturday, February 14, 2015


At first I thought
I must make Rick proud of me
show my strength
muddle on through
now I find shells in unlikely places
like reminders
don't do it the same way
try approaching it from a different angle
don't forget to include me
as I will always help you even when I am no longer seen
so now I see
I can be strong
and still ask for help
Love is everywhere
and people can be generous
just because they want to be
I want my purpose
to become more like them


Wings, I am searching for the wings
I know they are here somewhere
and tentative steps have been taken
to finding some solace
that the love I found
was a huge part of my learning to fly
we truly do not know how much
we love someone
until they are no longer here
I am finding shells
in the oddest of places
almost like a treasure hunt
I found him and I will hope
he can keep my heart whole and happy

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sorrow song

I wake with sorrow
heavy in my heart
a slowing of my whole being
then the memory
that Indigo now sleeps on his pillow
and Moses guards the bottom of the bed
I feel that Rick too is guarding me
trying when he can
to guide me and to soothe
my anguish in small miracle ways

as a reminder
I will try to remember when I might have smiled
or thought of him with a memory
that fills my heart with sheer joy
He brought so much to me
and I need to keep that present
in my every action for myself
and most importantly
for others

I am so blessed
with those who have been guiding
and caring for me
remembering Julie's birthday
and the tears I shed this morning
when I realized that Stump stick had died

Right now I hope to learn
to appreciate each kind gesture
and find ways to reciprocate the love
that is around me

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


lost and confused beaver
washed down from too much rain
wandering Ocean Isle Beach
Our attempts to save him
instead he became a part of Rick Page
All heart
resilient and hard working
vanishing into the ocean
just as my tears
spring from the winter clouds

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Grief, a word that goes beyond description
we learn how much we love someone
how deep and profound
especially after they are gone
Rick would have loved our adventure
with Moses and Indigo and blind Emmie Lou
Good behavior from all dogs
and Emmie acted like the beach was her new stomping ground
Ocean tears and human ones today
such a profound conversation with my niece Emily Ecker
I am so grateful she feels I made a difference
for both her and Alex Ecker
I feel that maybe I can make a difference
make Rick proud of my strength that is a daily struggle
and holding that small flame of hope
that I still have reasons to make differences in lives
Missing him is so much more than I expected
it becomes so clear to me each day
his sheer acceptance of me and that is the gift
he keeps sending to me
Spring peepers are just the certain reminder
that life does continue on
it is so different and sometimes so difficult
I worry that I can withstand it
Then I can hear him telling me not to worry
to recall peaceful thoughts and to keep creating
and loving when I can and to always be thankful
for him helping me make good choices

Friday, February 6, 2015

Never the Same

A chilly walk on the beach
Moses on his prong collar
and Indigo
chasing birds, seen and unseen
Frothy waves
and my pockets full of shells
a brisk walk with Vickie
and her Luke who also chases imaginary birds
Home where I am working
on a memory watercolor of Rick Page
thoughts of water and life
transforming him into a beaver in the water
Painting with tear drops as my water
salt and paper
mix to create his memory
over and over again

Please let me call you back to me

The morning of the 28th of December of 2014 started later than usual as we enjoyed time to sleep in and to drowse in the morning sun that seeped through our bedroom window.  Rick was his usual loving self and made our morning ritual of coffee that we shared in our our living room.  We sipped steaming cups of coffee and marveled at another beautiful day to boast of in Shallotte.  Sharing unusual gratitude that morning we reflected on how fortunate we were/are to have the handful of friends and family that meant so much to us.  We felt humbled by these thoughts.

With much thought, a walk on the beach with the dogs came to mind so we hopped into the red truck, called our friend Vickie and were on our way.  On our way, Rick talked alot about my needing to get back on track with better eating, trying out Yoga and making lifestyle changes.  In hindsight, he never referred to himself.  Once at the beach, he headed out in the opposite direction of Vickie and me because he had Moses to handle.

Vickie and I let Indigo and Luke play in the surf and we too talked about making changes in our lives in our hopes of becoming healthier and happier for 2015.  Eventually we turned around and met back up with Rick who had just taken an unusual photo of a lone beaver on the beach.  A few days before we had a ton of rain and this poor fellow was in the wrong type of water and thoroughly confused.  A crowd had gathered and someone had made a phone call to Animal Control.  Their response was to do nothing.

After some discussion in the group it was decided we would try and trap the beaver in a large garbage can and then take him home with us to our fresh water pond.  Even among these strangers we all came to the same conclusion.  A few people went to find a garbage can while Rick moved the red truck closer to where the beaver was moving.  Once we all got back on the beach we lay the garbage can on its side and the beaver was slightly in the surf.

Rick had a net and he moved towards the beaver who in turn ran through his net.  He turned to me and I could see that something was desperately wrong.  His face was gray and in that startled instant he said:  "Wow, I must have gotten scared.".......He then moved a few more feet and crumbled to the sand.  I screamed for Vickie to come help because I knew he was having a heart attack  We got him on his back and among this group of people, two were nurses and one was a Physician's Assistant.  They worked on him for 20 minutes before the EMT's arrived.  I think I knew the instant he landed in the sand that he was gone.  When I looked for the beaver, it had disappeared.

I remember running up the sand towards the walkway crying under my breath....."Please don't die" and I repeated this mantra endlessly.  They had life flight waiting and yet I knew with a certainty that he was already gone.  I remember feeling so cold and frightened and most of all frightened for him.  Once we got to the flight pad I was told he was gone.

I was there when my mother passed away and still the sheer shock of this day will never leave my mind.  The person I loved most in the world was gone in an instant and it seemed like an impossibility.  My entire world shattered into a million little pieces and now my life task is putting those pieces back in some semblance of order.

The next day at the funeral home, I am glad I went back in to see him.  He looked like he was peacefully sleeping and he looked like himself.  My shattered self holds him close to my heart.  I feel sometimes he is helping me and will stay with me until I don't need him as much.  He brought so much to my life in terms of positive change that I can only be grateful for the time I had with him.......We all wish the best things would last so much longer.


How can I even begin
to thank all those
who have shown their love and support?
I am beyond gratitude
and so blessed to have had so many
come forth to share their gifts
and kind hearts with me

The devastating loss of Rick
is so much more than I could ever have imagined
losing him let's me see I have lost part of myself
I am always holding him close
because he brought about so many
amazing changes and transformations in my life

I hope each day to be able to
pay things forward as I know Rick would have done
Finding peace and contentment
like we shared here is a vision I will hold
on my horizon
Each and everyone of you has helped
in so many ways
to help keep my broken pieces together

Thank you

Martha McKinley Murphy

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Add some light
this coming from my Kate 
me, not even knowing where there might be a light switch
a tightness in my chest
sipping coffee
while the eye rain wets my cheeks
morning so another day begins
another moment to hold on tight
No fear today
just that empty place in my heart
I did not realize how huge that gap could really be
Dogs trying to settle in
pushing wet noses at my wet face
searching for moments of peace today

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Dear Alishia and Tim,

How proud your father would have been to see his Celebration of Life. For all of us, it was a blatant reminder of the talents he possessed as well as the many changes and progressions he made in his life.

When living in Friedens, I often thought how fortunate you were to be raised by your father and your grandfather. I know coming from divorced parents was not easy for you nor was it easy for me to be a stepparent.

One thing I know with ALL certainty, this was the very best Christmas your father had because you called him and sent videos. He and I had agreed early in our relationship that whatever traditions etc that you had with your mom and her family would not be interrupted by us. He loved that you remembered to call him and he was Thrilled that the gifts he chose were well loved by your children.

My relationship with your father changed my life so much and I can only feel gratitude for the time we had together. Each year our marriage and friendship grew stronger and so losing him is so much more than I expected. In your family, I struggled in the role as stepparent and also as caregiver for Jim, my dad and my mom. I know I did not always do things well but I honestly tried in the best ways I knew how. Sometimes it was truly overwhelming to me. Your dad could always make things better when he knew I was struggling.

He and I could never compete with the monetary things your mom was capable of giving you. However, we both tried to instill in you a sense of trust and loyalty that should be in every marriage. I hope you both find the time to continue building those values in your own families.

I will never cease to be grateful for the time and relationship I had with your father. He was my partner, best friend and always believed in me. He accepted me for all that I am and all that I am not. I truly hope you know how much he meant to me and continues to mean to me every day.

If you feel you want to remain in contact with me, I am open to that. I do not want to interfere or interrupt your lives in any way. Your dad was happy here and although the time was too short, I think we were making a good start for our life in North Carolina. I was proud that your dad was open to the change.

I miss him with a heavy heart and I hope you will always feel his presence. Every day I look for signs or feelings that he is near me......I am sure he is watching out for you also.

Martha McKinley Murphy

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Fear, that uncanny emotion
throwing our lives into instant turmoil
intangible why and where it begins
spirals of it like a constant uproar in my head

Looking for Faith
that whisper or his voice
that could make me instantly relax
take a deep breath and slow down a little

I worry about how I feel
that uncomfortable roller coaster ride
people wanting to help
and I am never sure how to accept this
or even where to begin

We built a world
of comfort and a sense of safety
mostly Love is what got us through each day
small triumphs like the chicken who finally laid an egg
or a design out of metal that we knew instantly
would sell

How do I find that creative joyfulness without him?
I wake to morning and last night was sure he was beside me
instead I touch Indigo and a toy football she snuck into the bed
I smile for a moment
the tears still come

The tears are my flood of grief
my holding back from moving forward
afraid I will never feel like living again
holding onto my tenuous hold of remaining Grateful
we were bound by our friendship and love
Fifteen years and each one better than the last