How appropriate that it rained the day they died, October 13, 2005. Nobody who they ever met would have wanted sunshine on a day like that. Because when Shauna and Meghan were taken from our lives, so was our sunshine. There is no shortness of words to describe what Meghan and Shauna were to their friends, their families, and most of the people who met them.
For the entirety of their short lives, the Murphy girls had only to smile in order to bring happiness in to the lives of the people around them. They were beautiful – beyond beautiful – they were the almost identical, long legged, blonde haired beauties who caught everyone’s attention on the street, or as they spent their summer days together on the beach. The Murphy sisters were two years apart in age, but never far apart from each other in their daily lives. Between the two of them, they shared their clothes, their secrets and their friends – and with the rest of the world, they shared their love.
Shauna was 17 years old, and although young, there is no shortage of words to describe her. She was a talented gymnast, a longtime Girl Scout, a dedicated athlete and a great student who spent her last weekend finishing her college essays and taking the SATs. Shauna had no problem making friends everywhere she went – her social network extended across boundaries of age and location. Who wouldn’t want to befriend that outgoing girl with the beautiful smile?
Meghan’s 15 years were filled with similar accomplishments. She played soccer, basketball and lacrosse for Algonquin Regional High School. Meghan was a consistent honor roll scholar and, undoubtedly, had a great future ahead of her. She loved animals, loved her family, and loved her life. Like her older sister, Meghan was a magnet for laughter and fun. She was compassionate, caring and loyally devoted to her family and her friends.
Anyone who saw Meghan and Shauna on the street would know how beautiful they were on the outside. And one would only need to talk to them briefly to know how beautiful they were on the inside. Perhaps the only consolation we can find in this tragedy is the knowledge that neither Meghan nor Shauna ever took one day of their short lives for granted. They had the greatest joie de vivre in the world. As we look back on two lives cut far too short maybe we can learn something from Meghan and Shauna – the most we can do is attempt to emulate them from this day forward, and like them, savor every moment we have. Because on October 13th we all learned the harshest lesson, in the hardest way: that life is short, and death does not discriminate. It takes the young and the beautiful, in their prime, as well as the old and frail. Nobody is invincible, and we must always work to protect the gift that is tomorrow.
So the rain continues… And once the sky clears, many of us will continue to live with a storm cloud over our shoulders. Because when Meghan and Shauna Murphy left their family and friends that night, they took with them the brightest ray of sunshine in many of our lives. They are loved, and will continue to be loved, by their family and their friends, until the day we see them again.