Friday, July 8, 2011

The Keeper of Silent Secrets

No matter how many years pass after the murder of my mother, Roberta Murphy, I continue to be the keeper of her silent secrets. As described for the first time in a recent radio interview with Vito Colucci, -

She lived in the silence of the violence just beyond the front door on Highland Avenue in Chicago. A vibrant neighborhood, where one could always find at least one fireman or policeman living on every city block. It was considered a melting pot of middle class families. The wife of a Chicago Violent crimes detective and mother of three hid her pain and fears from anyone who came in close contact with her. And if one looked closely enough, they could see the sadness and fear in her bright brown eyes. Her smile, infectious and disarming. Throwing off anyone who might want to ask if everything was alright. Roberta Murphy always made you feel and believe "she was just fine."

Throughout my childhood, although she had plenty of opportunity, my mother never once spoke a disparaging word about my father (pictured with her above). When he would do the unfathomable and beat her bloody, to the world and her children she held her head high, often making excusing for his violent behavior. As kids we were like confused animals under bright headlights. Unable to comprehend why she stayed. When I would question or ask "why does daddy do this to you"? Her response never made sense and I accepted our lives the way we survived as normal.

That "normal" would play like a national anthem in my own personal life as an adult. Keeping myself carefully guarded from the outside world so I could not be hurt physically by a relationship. I was already prepared for any emotional assault that would come my way, never realizing I accepted it because it was an invisible tattoo deep into the core of who I was.

As the keeper of my mother secrets I would never fully realize their destruction upon my life, until now. Those "secrets" were lifted like a celebration freedom dance in the street. Last week I finished the final chapter of the upcoming book "Holding My Hand Through Hell." The final copy is at the editors and is scheduled for release sometime in the fall.  What the book is about is described in the following :

This poignant well-written book tells the story of a police officer’s family and a daughter’s quest for justice long after the murder of her mother embracing a legacy of unconditional love and faith to triumph over a life plagued with unspeakable abuse and pain.
Based on a true story written with the flow of a novel, with frank wisdom and wit, “Holding My Hand Through Hell” encourages the reader to immerse themselves into this family's life and become an advocate for change. It will incite discussion, debate, and heightened awareness about hope, survival, abuse, murder, and its impact on our society. In the end, it will leave readers applauding this woman wondering how she escaped, sometimes at the eleventh hour and now 20 years later, realizing that God, after all was holding her hand through hell, delivering her from the evils of her life in order to save others.

Susan Murphy Milano is with the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is an expert on intimate partner violence and homicide crimes. For more information visit

Susan is the author of "Time's Up A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships," available for purchase at the Institute, and wherever books are sold. Susan is the host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time's Up!" on Here Women Talk is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated The Roth Show with Dr Laurie Roth. Susan is a survivor- the daughter of a police officer family intimate partner homicide by her father who murdered her mother before committing suicide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I grew up in an enviroment where my father tried to kill my mother several times while all we children were in the house. On the outside looking in we looked like the typical family. Maybe even better! But behind closed doors heat violently beat her to a bloody pulp from before I started kindergarden to the time I graduated high schoohl.

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