A Path to this Moment…

Reflection on conception, an unwanted
soul cast away because of greed. An
image of the future, lost in time, starvation,
did not kill the seed.

It lived, did not go away, destiny or fate,
Life without love surrounded by hate.
Yoke around the neck at birth, emotional
Scars during its journey on earth.

Tomorrows’ path long and steep, search
The past, a need to prove why hurt and
Anger ran deep. Truth in abandonment
Can be found, sanity and sorrow closely

And then they say “goodbye”.

Ann Johnson-Murphree

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The Declaration of Losing…

Losing is easy, winning
is a learned ability.

The day I was born was a loss
that was not easy, as my mother
in so many words declared “get it
away from me”!

I would learn that love does not
always grow within the womb, the
effect of my birth was that I
learned the ability to endure being

My daddy brought me back home after
three years of me living with his sister
in hopes that my mother would learn to
love me, that day was a loss.

The winning lesson learned from my
non-caring mother was that we must
accept many things in life, things
we cannot change.

Life is filled with mischances, the
loss of a love, a parent, and of
innocence, the loss of a sibling and
a child.

The declaration of losing is learning
to accept fate, overcoming hardship
and survive.



The Difficulty of Believing in God…

Believing in God creates an everyday fight

between the mind and spirit; a fight that feels

like a predator riding beneath the clouds

hovering ready to pounce on its prey, life.

Believing that God has set down in life’s book

a predestine path to walk is a struggle between

faith and doubt.

The disbelief in God leaps out of the undergrowth

of insecurity and becomes a poison racing through

the veins of trust, and the pathway through life

becomes lost in a thicket of mistrust and betrayal.

Get off that path… In the realms of God’s majesty

is the wondering world we live in, the heavens are

the air we breathe, and the joys of life.

Stop being a victim, create your own joy, measure

your blessing, and do not let the predators define

who you are, you can believe in God without proof.

The injustices placed in your path are lessons,

resist learning and you will miss the delights placed

in your true path.






A Liar’s Life

Standing in a graveyard alone;

to mourn, to stare at the mound

of dirt; at the  shell of one who

loved but a few, the seed of

kindness never sowed, love they

did not seek, now silence lies

beneath.  Entitlement is all that

remains, grief, no greeting,

unwanted presence, gestures, tone

and looks in death there was joy

and greedy ploys.  Gluttony bloomed

before the setting of the sun, looking

for more to take, life took on a forged

tongue.  Open jeers, false deeds, honor

lost, the price of greed can be at a great

cost.  Roars the misty breath of strife

destiny has finally caught up with a

liar’s life.





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Tongues of Fire..

The mind in a caged sleep, tears shed,

the thoughts of false caring that others

portray is a lie.  Their spitefulness in

thought held captive the sleeping mind

not allowing it to wake.  There are those

that cannot be trusted, they show concern

for their own selves and their own greed.

They are always on the prowl to take, take,

and take.  They cause pain to the minds of

the blameless and find in it joy, their tongue

of fire knows not the truth.  Yet, they will ask

you for your prayers, to engorge their own

needs.  If they touch your life, it will never be

the same.  Run, Run, Run…



A Patchwork Life – Part 7…


Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life…

I cherish every moment that I am with my children; parents are not supposed to outlive their children…sometimes they do and I have to survive for the living.

There would be no difference in my thoughts if my loss was expected; however maybe it would have given me a chance to say goodbye.  Both gone within twenty-four hours, had I known, could I have said goodbye?

I do believe that it would be easier to lose control, let grief take over, let God’s will be done.  To control ones emotions in grief means living moment-to-moment, coping, giving full attention to not letting others see you grieve.  Redefining one’s self is not easy either, it means that you have to continue to be in full control, reality and death is an unwelcomed visitor.  One individual said to me recently, death puts your loved one in a better place.  Wrong…the better place is here with me!  I have to accept God’s will but I do not have to agree with it.  I question, I question, I question…do we evolve from nothing, live, die, return to nothing; unless you have experienced death, you cannot answer how you feel about it.  Death shakes the very foundation that the belief in God is built on; as a former “Sunday school teacher” for a decade, I have to be truthful and say faith is a heavy burden for me to bear.

If this is God’s way of teaching lessons, he has been throwing the full load at me since birth, with the heaving hitting being over the last four years.  Was I born to feel the wrath of God from birth?  Commenters…I do not want an answer to that question.  I do not want religious quotes, verses or advice; I do not want to be told that those I loved and are gone still live among us.  I do not want grief counseling.

I know that I am not alone, that there are many more going through my situation.  I know life is not fair.  I want the pain to end!  I want life restored, to stop the spiral of doubt.

Nonetheless, it is time to end this series, has my words been a cry for help, a prayer to God, neither, I had hope to find an answer to my continued punishment throughout my life in this exercise in writing.  I will continue the search for the answer in the life story that I am about to undertake and will I be able to or have time to complete.

Although I know that there are no answers for me, I ask that those who are grieving try to accomplish what I was unable to do.

Try to find those that will let you talk about your grief.  Share positive and happy memories, if possible.  I hope that those around you will accept your emotions.  Allow time for the numbness and disbelief to end, if possible.  Do not hurry your heart.  Embrace your faith if you can; move forward in your healing.

If you find that you cannot heal, forgive yourself for not being able to heal, to believe and to want answers.  Forgiveness of self is important, maybe the most important thing that you can do.

My heart will forever be like a patchwork quilt, keeping memories alive, my heart keeps breaking and I keep trying to mend it piece by piece, I hope that my experience; my words will help others in some small way with their own losses throughout their lives and let them know that healing in your own time is not wrong.  Whether you have years or only a short time, love yourself through these tough times that life brings to you.

My thanks to all who have read and commented on these grief post.

© Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life.Part 1-7.2014.apatchworklife.annjohnsonmurphree

A Patchwork Life – Part 4


Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life…

“Who am I now?”  I keep on searching, in truth I may never fully know, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, griever…

As a child when taught about death, it was not that God needed us back or that our mission in life was over; only taught to believe it was a natural process in life, we would live in the sky with our grandmothers and grandfathers; we are born and we must die!  This did not prepare me for what I would feel within and what effect the death of a loved one might have on me.  Taught to be strong, not cry if hurt within or on the outside, to be strong one did not show emotions; if one must grieve, grieve alone.  It was the “way” of my family throughout time; my great-great-grandmother who walked the long dangerous road called “The Trail of Tears”, taught this to my great-grandmother who help raised me!

This may explain my views toward grief, my actions toward grief of all heartbreaking situations within my life.  Since it is not dictated by rules or absolutes, each of us are unique in our own way, our grief is also uniquely our own.

The loss of my father, whom was the subject of my poem “The Chickasaw Farmer”, brought me to the brink of suicide.  He never showed any emotion toward me, no affection; but he was the second strongest individual in my life; my great-grandmother being the first.  He had raised me almost in the role of a single parent.  When my great-grandmother died, he showed strength that I wanted to emulate; he said that “Ma” would not want us to cry, it was not the way.  When he died, I had no one to remind me of the way he taught me to follow; I had no one to support me, I cried, then it ended and I would no longer let it go beyond my throat.  It suffocated me, choked me, I could no longer live without the only person in the world that had concern enough to care for me.  This unrelenting grief lived within me for eight months.

Each time I reached the edge of nothingness my father would speak within my mind and to my soul; his words were clear, “Be strong, it is not your time”.  During these months, I did not show this grief to anyone, I cared for my children, worked and existed; after the eight month, I came to terms with myself and I existed!

Changes were emotion, physical, thoughts, behavior and spiritual; I shut down within, in thought I searched for answers, I socially withdrew from everyone but my children and I questioned my own spiritual convictions.   How long can grief consume one, my father will be gone thirty-seven years on January 27, 2014.  The pain of this loss is unbearable, the mind fears these coming days, and I question is the way actually the right way?

The loss of my children…only four years ago; there is still numbness and disbelief, tears that flow unseen, locked within never to exit, a fog of anger and helplessness, sadness and depression from which there is no relief; but I must survive.

Therefore, my heart continues to be like a patchwork quilt, in keeping the memories alive, it, my heart, keeps breaking apart and I keep trying to mend it piece by piece, I hope my experience; my words will help others in some small way with their own losses throughout their lives.



A Patchwork Life – Part 2



Living and Breathing a Patchwork Life…

I have never believed that I should be immune to grief; I have accepted that my living a life in a constant state of unhappiness conditioned me to believe that it was normal; I had not labeled it grief.  Before my children my world was to exist, afterwards I had happy moments; life for me consisted of keeping my children happy and safe, if possible.  Then later with children, grandchildren and work suddenly came retirement, being alone, and I had to stop and think about how I got to this place, this questioning place.  There is a time to search and a time to give up (Ecclesiastes), so the search continues in my life.

The dynamics of my life no longer made sense, I could not identify with what this stage of my life should be; alone, old, a storehouse of memories that could only be defined as constant grief.  With this life style being “normal”, the means of processing it could not be accomplished in any normal way that I knew, any way that I could find in books, talking to others; I had to begin a journey that I did not have a “lifetime” to prepare, the need to seek the answers and understanding is now urgent.

We must live within our own schedule, we all experience grief, it is impossible for us to define it in the same way.   Whether a lifetime or moments, days what causes grief is many times the same; the death of grandparents, parents, children, friends, death comes in different forms, but it all results in three words; it is final.  When we lose our place in a family or have the lack of one, divorce, misplace a friendship, it all results in dealing with a grieving process.

It seems that happiness and grief go hand in hand; my mother never wanted me, she never gave hugs, kissed or told me she loved me; this has caused me a lifetime of grief.  Yet I have had to be happy that she allowed me to come see her once a year!  When she died, I did not suffer the grief of her dying as she had lived a long life and on her terms; I grieved because I had never heard her say “I love you”.  Standing over a mound of red southern dirt brought this home to me, she had thrown away her chance to tell me and I had no more time to continue to try to get her to say it.  One might say you need to let go, you must forget…unless you have never heard your mother or father tell you that they love you, you may not understand.  Nevertheless, that child in me cannot heal, so I allow her to grieve, and I have given her permission to heal in her own time, if possible.  After all, somewhere within she is still that child who wanted desperately to please, to hear that she mattered; and the grown up must now search for the answer too, “Who am I now”.

My heart continues to be like a patchwork quilt, keeping the memories alive it keeps breaking apart and I keep trying to mend it piece by piece, I hope my experience; my words will help others in some small way with their own losses throughout their lives.  There are others, I know that I am not alone!