A golden treasure was lost to us in 2012, transplanted to the eternal garden, where she will bloom without hinderance.
Susan Murphy Milano was more than just a woman; at times she seemed like she was one and one-half a person in one body.
She shared her life story with me, and I will share just a bit of it with you.
She made sense of her suffering; something I struggle to do.
As a child, she suffered horrific child abuse; the worst that any human being can suffer, at the hands of the man designed and created to protect her. As she grew to fight the abuse, her young life was dedicated to protecting her siblings from the abuse; even taking the abuse upon herself to save another.
Because of the abuse, she was led to seek shelter with a family, who bowed before Christ, and who's steadfast love for each other created a longing within her. She longed to be loved, but she also longed to make sense of her suffering.
She continued, as a young adult, to suffer from the horrific assaults of her childhood. It was a poison in her soul that she had to fight, and fight she did. The poison finally took her life this year, but as I think back, if cancer ever feared anyone, it had to fear Susan.
Susan found some solace in her success in the business world, but it did not fill the empty void within her. This void was heightened by the abuse she suffered. She found comfort nowhere but in God, through the Person of Christ. This is her testimony, offered freely and without reservation. She was unashamed of her faith, even while being thoroughly ashamed of all of those who use faith as an excuse for wrong doing. She prayed for guidance in what she should do with her life. Whatever it is that she was to do, she would put her hand to it, with all of her strength.
She then tirelessly took up the cause of abused women.
She shocked me with her attitude. It was bold enough, yes, and energetic enough for two people, but it was honest enough to make me stop and listen to her.
I had, up to Susan, less than good experiences with Domestic Violence Advocates, in my work. I admire what they want to accomplish, but honesty must be the driving factor.
I found that an underling hatred of men often clouded their judgement. Many of them found a friend in a venomous prosecutor in Maine, who never saw an innocent man anywhere. This is not justice, and this is not protection of women. This was something Susan wanted nothing to do with.
Thinking that they are helping victims, some advocates will stretch the truth on sworn affidavits, in order to get a judge to sign an order of protection for a woman. Later, when the same woman allowed the man back into her home, her children were removed, based upon the sworn affidavit. Statement Analysis helped me sift through truth and deception. I was able to show some that the strongest affidavits do not need to employ persuasive language; the truth of the threat of violence, for example, is powerful when it is presented without qualifiers. The pronoun, "I" reaches deep into the mind of the reader of such an affidavit, and judges want honesty.
Susan loved the truth. Susan despised deception and the only deception she found necessary was what she did to the abusive male who wanted to find out where his victim was hiding. It was there that Susan's careful planning shined brightest.
Susan invited me to help shoot a pilot for A&E. She thought she could put together a series of shows that would be both educational and entertaining; and she said she would publish my book.
She left a voicemail for me, but due to the busy life of family and two jobs, I did not call her back in a timely manner. She called again and laced into me for it. Her urgency frightened me, but she then confirmed it for me: she had stage four cancer.
How I wish, today, I could hear just a moment of her angry voice, and her driving passion, and her laughter at my reaction.
I'm jealous of those who knew her longer than I did. She had wonderful, caring friends who worked with her professionally and privately.
Susan wasn't afraid to be wrong; she was afraid to stay in a wrong position. How I admire this trait! She was both humble, and confident, strong, yet vulnerable, and it was time.
Why was she taken from us?
Why did she suffer?
How does a loving God let someone so special, suffer so badly?
Susan herself can answer the latter question; I can answer the former.
Susan told me that without her suffering, her drive and strong intellect would have never allowed her to see a need. She called for the Physician because she knew she was ill. Those who do not know they are sick, do not make the call. Her suffering, she said, was what drove her to Christ.
As to why she was taken from us, I think I know the answer.
I think that, perhaps, her Savior said that He would no longer be without her, and at that moment, she became absent from the body of suffering, and in the presence of eternal glory.
It is our loss, but Heaven's gain.
2012 was a year where a sister in the faith made it across that final river, safely home, and awaiting us.
Would you consider, in 2013, reading "Holding My Hand Through Hell"?