November 18, 2008 is a date that I will remember for the rest of my life. Why you ask will I remember it, because to this day it is the worst day of my life. It is the day I lost someone I love, someone who I considered to be a second mother to me,
a member of my second family. Brenda Kay Murphy was the mother of my best friend Megan, who I have known since middle school (twenty plus years). Brenda was a survivor of suicide herself (losing her father in 1990 and son in 2005), I never would have imaged that she could have taken her own life. She was only 51 years old. She left behind two daughters, a husband, and many unanswered questions.

It saddens me to think that this beautiful, loving, intelligent woman was hiding behind so much pain that she thought the rest of us would be better off without her burdening our lives. Brenda was loved by anyone who met her. Yet she was overwhelmed with such emptiness and loneliness that she thought suicide was the only end to her pain.

I can only assume the reasons why she would take her own life. I am living with the guilt that I should have seen this, why didn't I see the signs? I'm left living with the guilt that I should have seen this, why didn't I see the signs? The toughest part is that I will never know the real reason or have any of my questions answered. What was she doing and thinking about in those hours she went missing? Why didn't she answer her cell phone when people were trying to find her? Did she suffer after she shot herself? Was this planned? How long did she have this planned? What if I would have called her or sent her an email that morning just letting her know that I was thinking about her, would that have changed her mind? Maybe it would have for that day. Maybe I had changed her mind on other days that she was planning to take her life.

All of the could of, would of, should of's are not going to bring her back or answer my questions. All that is left for me to do now is to mourn my loss by living my life with the lessons she taught me. I cherish every moment I had with her. I just hope where ever she is, she is at peace within herself.

Brenda gave me some parenting advice years ago, in many ways it describes our relationship. She told me, I may not have grown by your heart but I grew in it.

Margaret Tornio

Appleton, WI