In Loving Memory of Ryan Murphy

November 30, 2001

At six o’clock am on Friday morning my heart was shattered into a million pieces. Tears splurged from my eyes as I collapsed to the floor of my friend Krissy’s Dorm room at Bridgewater State College. My mother’s frantic voice spoke to me through my cellular phone, but I could not even comprehend her words.

There had been a fatal car accident the night before in my hometown of Kingston, Massachusetts. When my mother first told me that, thoughts of all my friends from home breezed through my mind in the matter of a split second. I did not know where she was going with that and I was more scared than ever to find out. Then she told me, and one of my biggest fears had come true.

One of my best friends from high school, Ryan Murphy, was killed in that car accident. Ryan had been like a brother to me during my sophomore and junior years at Silver Lake. He used to call my mom “mom”. Even when he wrote me letters every week from boot camp he would ask about my mother and even my dog. Ryan was very much a part of my family’s heart. He had gone off to Japan in the marines and I had not seen him in almost two years. A few weeks ago I was blessed to run into him at a nightclub in Boston. I had moved and so had he, so when he had come home we knew of no way to get in touch with each other. That night we exchanged numbers and caught up on old times. For the past three weeks Ryan has been calling me to hang out. I have been so preoccupied with school and other things going on in my life that I kept putting it off. He wanted to come visit my mom and see my dog and I was always so busy. It’s awful. I mean you just do not think something like that would ever happen. Your best friend does not go away and then come back after not seeing them for two years and then die three weeks later.

After my mother told me of the news I could not even drive myself home, let alone back to Boston for school. My friend drove me home and then my mother brought Kerri back to Wentworth for her eight o’clock class. In Boston we picked up my best friend Meghan who spent the day reflecting and sobbing with me. I felt so hollow.

This week has been very hard for me and I can not even imagine how I am going to deal with the wake and funeral come Sunday night and Monday. The loss of Ryan has made me rethink a lot of things about my life. I realize that I am too wrapped up in seeing the same people all the time and do not make time to see many of my other friends. I mean I have not even gone home to Kingston once this semester to visit my friends from high school. I am so wrapped up in Boston and my friends who go to school here at Wentworth and Northeastern, that I have left so many people out of my life, one of them being Ryan. It was brought to my attention that I ran into Ryan at Axis that night for a reason. It was important for us to see each other one last time, and I was blessed with that one last conversation, hug, and warm smile. Rest in peace Ryan, I love you so much. You will remain in my heart, thoughts, and prayers forever.

December 7, 2001

On Sunday night I drove home to Kingston. My first time being back in the Silver Lake area since I moved to Norwood in late August was not for a pleasant occasion. I picked up Meghan at her house and we sadly made our way to Shepherd’s Funeral Home.

I could not imagine how I was going to react to seeing Ryan’s lifeless body lying in the casket. The thoughts of his mother, father, sisters, and young niece brought tears streaming down my cheeks. I knew that I was going to see everyone from Silver Lake’s class of 2000. All the kids that I hung around with during my freshman, sophomore and junior years that I had pushed so far behind me.

There was a long line to get inside of the funeral home; it seemed endless in the night’s chilly air. After waiting forty-five minutes Meghan and I made our way into the funeral home. While waiting in line inside there were pictures of Ryan all growing up. Pictures from junior high, the marines, high school, and him with his family and friends. I could not bear to take more than a glance at the pictures for the tears coating my eyes blinded me from any sight. Across the Funeral Home I saw my old friend Brett, someone who I had always hung around with me and Ryan. When I saw Brett I had to look away it just brought so much pain to me, everything seemed real now. There was a car accident Thursday night and Ryan really is dead.

It came time for Meghan and I to kneel down at Ryan’s casket. Tears progressed down my cheeks before I could even come within ten feet of Ryan’s body. We knelt down together in prayer, tears streamed from our eyes simultaneously. I glanced one more time at Ryan’s lifeless body. Sure enough he had that undying smile on his face. Ryan always smiled. He was so filled with life that even looking at him inside of the casket, he did not look dead to me.

The hardest part of the entire wake came when I talked to his family. His father gave me a big hug and asked about my mother and father. His mother cut into the conversation to tell me, “Oh Ryan told me that he just ran into you! It meant so much to him that he did. Now I can see why he talked about you so much. You are so beautiful dear.” At that moment my broken heart shattered into mere dust. I grabbed onto his mother, “I’m so sorry,” I said tears splurging from my eyes.

I could not remain in the funeral home any longer. I felt as though I was having an anxiety attack. Meghan rushed me outside to my car and drove us back to her house. I can not think of a moment in time that I have ever felt such pain.

March 2, 2009

I found these journal entries today. It is hard to believe over seven years have passed since Ryan’s accident. I now look back and thank God for his grace. I can see his hand in the whole situation. It was God’s grace that coordinated the meeting between Ryan and I in Boston. God knew He was bringing Ryan home to heaven in just a few short weeks. God knew we wanted to see each other, but had lost all form of contact information while Ryan was deployed. I had moved, he had been out of the country, and this was before the time of myspace and facebook. God is bigger than lost phone numbers, changed addresses, and online connections!

God blessed me with that one last hug, one last memory, and many wonderful phone conversations during the three weeks before Ryan passed. God is so faithful. Isn’t His love amazing? His grace truly is sufficient. Ryan, I’ll see you soon my friend. I can’t wait to see the mansion Jesus has prepared for you in Heaven! It won’t be long. My Lord does not tarry. “The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend. Even so, it is well with my soul!”


Published by Author Stacy A. Padula

Stacy Padula has spent the last 14 years working daily with teenagers as a college counselor, mentor, and life coach. She was named "Top Inspirational Author of the Year" for 2022 by the International Association of Top Professionals (New York, NY). In 2021, she was broadcast on the famous Reuters Building in Times Square as "Empowered Woman of the Year." Her Gripped book series is currently being adapted for TV by Emmy-winning producer Mark Blutman. She is the founder and CEO of Briley & Baxter Publications: a publishing company that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal rescues each month. She has edited and published a variety of titles, including Boston Bruins Anthem Singer Todd Angilly and Rachel Goguen's The Adventures of Owen & the Anthem Singer, LaTonya Pinkard of Netflix's Last Chance U's Nate & His Magic Lion, and former NHL player Norm Beaudin's memoir The Original: Living Life Through Hockey. Stacy resides in Plymouth, Massachusetts with her husband Tim and two miniature dachshunds, Briley and Baxter.

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