Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rest in Peace Natalie Murphy

Some of you may have followed Natalie Murphy’s story, some of you may never have heard of her. Natalie Murphy was a 35-year-old mother of a gorgeous little boy named Jackson and wife to her soul mate, Greg, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, after she found a lump the day before she gave birth. She was given two to five years and sadly passed away yesterday.
I never knew her, but when her story appeared on Stuff.co.nz, I spent a whole day flicking to her blog and reading her whole story in my spare time, and was devastated when I heard this morning that she had passed away.
She had expected to live at least until New Years Day, when she was going to renew her vows with her husband of nearly ten years, but she didn’t make it.
When I heard her story, I was so moved I sent her a personal email about how she had touched my life along with that of probably thousands of other New Zealand women.
Breast cancer is so common, everybody knows somebody who has suffered from it. My aunty was diagnosed at the age of 36, and until I read Natalie’s story, I had not actually realized just how young she was. Thankfully she survived and has never had a relapse, but the thought of having it in my genes is never far from my mind.
I know that Natalie has helped saved so many lives by publicizing her story and I hope doctors clinics and hospitals will be inundated with women under the age of forty wanting mammograms, and I hope those women don’t back down in the face of the health system. Natalie was mucked around for months before she got a proper consultation after her midwife told her the lump could have just been her milk coming in. It may not have saved her if she had been seen to earlier, but we all know cancer spreads fast, so maybe she could have been saved.
After months of anger, Natalie accepted her fate and decided to embrace life and enjoy the time she had left with her husband and her little boy. By doing this, she was an inspiration to so many of us who often take life for granted. Her courage was unbelievable, especially when she said she was “the luckiest woman in the world” while facing breast cancer.
Following a story such as this really makes you take a look at yourself and think, “What would people say about me if I died? Have I truly squeezed every last drop out of my life?”
Not only does it make you look at yourself, but it also makes you look at the things around you. What matters more, your flat screen TV or your mum? Your car or your dad? Your wardrobe full of clothes or your sister? Your Nike shoes or your brother? Your computer or your soul mate? Your brand new couch or your best friends?
I for one would trade a lifetime of TV for my mum’s health, I would walk everywhere if it ensured I would have my dad around to watch his grandkids and great-grandkids grow up, I would wear rags just to hear my sister laugh, I would run in bare feet for a hug from my brother, I would write letters and visit libraries to grow old with my soul mate, I would sit on the floor for a night out with my best friends.

This is the email she wrote me, this is the kind of person she was – she probably received hundreds of messages and had a toddler and her health to take care of, but she took the time to reply to my email, which I wasn’t expecting. Rest in Peace Natalie.

Sarah, what an awesome email and a truly lovely response to my story. It has touched me and warmed my heart to know I have affected your life in such a positive way – you are right, this is the only gift I am really looking for. So thank you for writing, for listening, for learning, for wanting to be the best person you can be. You are a shining light honey so make sure others see your light too – never hold back.
All my love

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