Robin LaGrassa is an intelligent, caring, compassionate, and amazing woman who lost her 10-year-old cousin to suicide when she was nine.
Robin’s story is deeply moving.
She is sharing her story because she knows that many other suicide survivors are feeling the same guilt that she is feeling…and she wants them to know that they are not alone.
Robin, you are an incredibly special person and you inspire me.
I am honored to have you as a friend.
The suicide was not your fault, but the strong love that you STILL feel for your cousin shines as bright as the greatest star in the sky.
You are awesome. You are a wonderful person. And you are an angel.
I love you very much,
The Words I Wish I had said: I Love You Murphy -
The Story of my Cousin; how he Killed Himself at age 10;
and why I Blamed Myself
by Robin LaGrassa and Kevin Caruso
When I was five, my cousin Murphy cut out an engagement ring from the newspaper and gave it to me. “I'm gonna marry you someday, Robin,” he exclaimed. Murphy was only six at the time, but I can still remember his big goofy grin and funny crew cut. I can also remember my mother and aunt looking at us and laughing. “Murphy loves you, Robin,” said my mom. I blushed at the comment.
When I was nine, I used to take my little brother Chuck to the stationery store every weekend. He would buy rock candy and I would pick out a stuffed animal. That was our ritual. It was back in 1972; a time when the sight of a couple of kids walking to the store wasn’t a big deal.
I felt like such a grown up when we went, even though I was just a little girl.
On one of our weekly trips, I was paying the clerk when I heard someone loudly call my name: “Robin!” I turned around and saw my cousin Murphy. I hadn’t seen him in a few years, so I was surprised to see how different he looked. He had grown up quite a bit and had beautiful long blonde hair. He was very handsome.
I was rather shy back then and I didn’t know how to respond, so at first I didn’t say anything.
“Robin! Don't you remember me? It's me, your cousin Murphy!”
“Yes, I remember you,” I responded coldly.
“Robin. Please! It's me, Murphy,” he said in a sad voice as I walked away.
I was so rude to him. I should have greeted him in a much warmer fashion and talked to him for an extended time, but I just uttered four cold, detached, uncaring words.
It must have been my shyness, because I have no other explanation. But I have regretted those four words and how I treated him for my entire life.
A few months later, my Uncle Eddie called. His voice sounded funny and he seemed upset. “Robin? It's Uncle Eddie. Where's your mother?” he asked.
I called my mother to the phone and after a few seconds she screamed and quickly yelled out to my step-father: “Charles! Oh My God! Charles! Murphy is dead!”
“Murphy is dead? What? Mommy? Murphy is dead?” I cried.
Total chaos ensued and no one even knew that I was standing there. I felt invisible and all alone.
Murphy hanged himself.
He was only ten years old.
But I didn’t understand what was going on.
“Robin, why didn't you invite him over that day you saw him?” my mother asked in an accusatory tone.
At that moment I was convinced that I killed my cousin…that he died by suicide because he thought I didn't love him.
Ever since that day, I have not been able to stop thinking about Murphy. It doesn't matter what I am doing: working out at the gym, running in the canyon, driving the car, washing dishes, folding clothes, eating dinner, shopping…I am always thinking of him. Even when I am in bed reading, thoughts of Murphy will just pop into my mind.
And when I think of him, I am still overcome with remorse and guilt. I think about the excruciating emotional pain that he must have endured. He was only ten years old when he died.
And then I think about the violent way in which he killed himself, and I can sometimes feel the rope around my own neck. It is a disturbing sensation, but it is very real. I oftentimes put my hands on my neck and try to rub the feeling away – but regardless of how hard I try, the sensation remains.
I am so sorry Murphy. I really did love you. Please understand. I was just a stupid little girl. I didn't mean to hurt you. But I want you to know that I have never been the same. I see your face in every little boy that I look at, including the face of my own son.
I love you Murphy.
I just wish I told you that before you died; then maybe you would still be alive.
When you died, you took a big part of me with you. I miss you Murphy, and I love you.
After I wrote this story, I decided to go for a run in the canyon. That’s a place where I can be by myself and reflect on things. And as I ran I started to talk to Murphy. I had many things that I needed to tell him, so I just talked...and I knew he was listening.
“Murphy, I just wrote about you, and those painful emotions are rushing back, so I need to talk to you…You know my mother sent me to Catholic school, so it was drilled into my head that suicide was a horrible sin and that those who killed themselves would go directly to Hell.
“Well, I don't believe that, Murphy. God is loving and merciful, and I refuse to believe that he would sentence a wonderful 10-year-old boy to Hell.
“You know what I think? I think you are in Heaven. Well, I know that you are in Heaven. But not as a tortured, depressed boy with long blonde hair, but as a happy, cute little boy with a funny crew cut, and a goofy smile.
“I believe that you woke up to a beautiful sunny day today, a day just like it is here; then you got dressed and put on your “little man” suit – you know, the one that always made you look like an adult, and then slipped on your black “little man” wingtip shoes with the toes all scuffed up from kicking pebbles.
“You then ran out the door and went to a field to pick flowers for a special little girl who also went to Heaven too soon, just like you. You pulled up a fistful of white daisies, roots and all, with clumps of dirt hanging from them, and you quickly walked off.
“And then you started your journey…You walked with those daisies in one hand and a paper engagement ring in the other, and went to meet a pretty little girl who was waiting for you – waiting on her front porch calling your name: “Murphy, here I am…I love you Murphy!”
Murphy is one of the greatest angels in Heaven.
We miss him.
We honor him.
We love him.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.
I love you.