N. Michael Murphy, 87, died on June 5, surrounded by love. Michael lived his life large—enthusiastic and outspoken, quirky, irreverent, passionate teacher and explorer of ideas, lover of music and beauty and the delicious flavors of life.
Born in Manchester, England, he attended medical school in Dublin, Ireland, where he met his future wife, Marion. They immigrated to the United States with three children in 1961 and had two more Yankee babes soon after. He trained in psychiatry, which led him to his greatest passion—the exploration of living and dying well.
He founded St. Peters Hospice in 1978 and served as its medical director for 17 years, then turned to writing and leading workshops in Love, Loss, and Forgiveness, both here and in Europe.
Reflecting on his life, he wrote, “The ‘I’-dentity I acquired from birth is a stewpot of words, statistics, and descriptions of what I do and have done. It is from these ‘facts’ that I am ‘known,’ and they contain some grains of truth.
“But this is not me. ‘Me’ was born as an original blessing: a loving being whose soul began to warm up when ‘I’ was almost 40 and entered the hermetic underworld of Hospice. There, I was taught about love and loss by patients, their families, and staff, and ‘I’ began to be ‘Me.’
“After seventeen years in the Hospice, my journey continued with the Love, Loss, and Forgiveness Project, and all of us on that camino taught and encouraged each other to expose and share our inner loving beings. The Latin word for Me is ‘Me-us’—my loving being interacting with and belonging to the loving being of others. Meus is love, and love is the only meaning of life.”
Michael is pre-deceased by his daughter Paula. He is survived by his daughter-in-law Deb Burkhalter, daughter Suzanne and husband Steve, son Stephen and wife Kathy, son John and wife Lisa, and daughter Sandra, along with many wonderful grandchildren and great grand-children.
A celebration of Michael's life will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Love, Loss, and Forgiveness Project, c/o Janet Spielberger, 11 Sheraton Lane South Queensbury, NY 12804.