Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Remembering Susan Murphy Milano

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"?


18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I will consider reading her book. I've read a few blog posts, one in which she describes her fear for her life while seeking justice for another. Made me wonder how she kept these women from harm.

Trigger said...

I have great respect for Susan and her work. Her courage was her greatest asset. I don't know that I could have been so courageous in her situation.

I have been known to keep secrets and stay silent in the name of fear.

I am deeply saddened by her passing, but I know that she received the crown of life from God for her efforts here on earth.

I'm glad to know that her book is available.

Maya said...

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me.
The Carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality

~ Emily Dickinson

Anonymous said...

I miss Susan, Peter. I finished her book yesterday & couldn't believe that she survived all the abuse she went through. She is an amazing woman & I miss hearing her voice every week. I pray she got to see her kid sister & son before she went home to Jesus. I miss her.

Nanna Frances said...

OFF TOPIC:

Outgoing North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue issued pardons Monday to the Wilmington 10, a group wrongly convicted 40 years ago in a notorious Civil Rights-era prosecution that led to accusations that the state was holding political prisoners.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50332695

VLW said...

I didn't realize Susan was a fellow Christian. How encouraging to learn this! I admired her very much and look forward to getting a copy of her book. I would never have heard of her if it hadn't been for this blog.

Delilah said...

Peter, thank you so much for your post. As always, you hit the truth head on about Susan.

In the years that I was close to her she never backed down in situations where she was standing up for another. She called on her faith to keep her safe during those times. But, what most don't know, in her "real" life she was just the little girl who couldn't save her mother. She lived with that daily battle throughout her life, always strong for others, but hard pressed to take care of her own needs, spiritual, physical and otherwise.

If there was anything good to come from her time with cancer is it forced her to be good to herself, to pray for herself, to find those who helped her walk closer to God, and she did, with you and others. She left this world knowing that heaven was waiting, her beloved mother reaching out to her with comfort.

She was larger than life in many ways, but inside just the child who was searching for someone to care for her the way she cared for others. She lived that Golden Rule bigger than anyone else I've ever known.

Miss her greatly, but she's with us always through all the women she stood in the gap for, and their children, and made sure they stayed alive.

LostNMissing, Inc said...

Beautiful.

On Life, Love, and Truth said...

As I read all the glowing tributes to Susan it only makes me wish I could have known her personally and I feel a tinge of envy for all of you who got to know her.

Sandra Brown said...

I think that was a great summary of Susan's behavior, character, and legacy. Miss her daily....

Donna R. Gore said...

Steve: What a powerful testament to our powerful, yet vulnerable friend. I cried last week when in the environs she frequented at Dr. Akoury's office. Her presence and spirit is still so palpable there.... It is comforting...and yet a difficult place to be... We all regret we did not have more time with her...Such a loss. The best we can do for her and for ourselves...is to carry on with her legacy... Hard shoes...or rather flip flops to fill, indeed!

Donna "Ladyjustice"

Donna R. Gore said...

Peter: What a powerful testament to our powerful, yet vulnerable friend. I cried last week when in the environs she frequented at Dr. Akoury's office. Her presence and spirit is still so palpable there.... It is comforting...and yet a difficult place to be... We all regret we did not have more time with her...Such a loss. The best we can do for her and for ourselves...is to carry on with her legacy... Hard shoes...or rather flip flops to fill, indeed!

Donna "Ladyjustice"

MeagIn Manhattan said...

Dear Peter ~ Beautifully written and I will read her book.

I feel that we are all very lucky now, that we all have a very special ANGEL in Heaven watching over us. Hopefully she can pull some strings with the Big Guy and put some very bad people away, for a very long time....

Most Sincerely,
Meag

Sarah said...

Oh praise God! I did not know Susan was a believer!!!

Anonymous said...

What a strong woman. I just learned of her passing and I am stunned... I began listening to her radio show on the Internet back in the summer of 2011 when I was going through a very hard time thank you Susan for your voice for your strength and for your dedication to helping women in crisis. There is a true void in our world today without you here. Rest in peace.

John mcgowan said...
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John mcgowan said...
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John mcgowan said...

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