The Broken Pack™: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss

Your Heart's Voice: Sibling Love, & Loss: Renée / Robert

January 24, 2024 Dr. Angela Dean / Renée Greene Murphy MS Ed Season 3 Episode 8
The Broken Pack™: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss
Your Heart's Voice: Sibling Love, & Loss: Renée / Robert
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Your Heart’s Voice: A conversation about Sibling Loss , Intuition, and Living with Loss

In this episode, of The Broken Pack: Stories of Adult Sibling Loss,  host Dr. Angela Dean talks to Renée Green Murphy, author and surviving sibling, about losing her brother Robert in a tragic automobile accident. 

  • Renée shares her experiences of grief from sibling loss and honoring Robert through her award-winning children's book, Your Heart's Voice.
  • She describes the overwhelming grief, the unfathomable pain of sibling loss, and the emptiness she experienced after the sudden death of her beloved brother.
  • Renée highlights the ways in which she has kept her brother's memory alive, including through his bartending videos and her own writing.

In the interview, through her work, and in the ongoing promotion of his work as The Crazy Bartender, Renée's love for and continuing bond with Robert is just as palpable as the pain of the loss.

Links mentioned in the show & How to connect with Renée:

Renée’s website: http://reneegreenemurphy.com

Renée’s Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorreneegreenemurphy?igsh=cHNlb3dsM216ZTA1

Her book, Your Heart’s Voice, on Amazon: https://a.co/d/isR17Un

Robert’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robgreeneofficial?igsh=MWRvaDVpMTZ0bzZzMA==

The Crazy Bartender YouTube: https://youtube.com/@crazybartenderofficial?si=jusoGH1CwIgnqT0M

Robert’s website: https://www.robgreene.com

Support the show

If you would like more information or to share your own adult sibling loss story, please contact me, Dr. Angela Dean, at contact@thebrokenpack.com or go to our website, thebrokenpack.com.

Please like, subscribe, and share!

Please follow us on social media:
Facebook: @BrokenPack
Instagram: @thebrokenpack
TikTok: @the_broken_pack
YouTube: @thebrokenpack

Sign-up for Wild Grief™, our newsletter: https://thebrokenpack.com/newsletter

Thank you!

Angela M. Dean, PsyD, FT

Credits:

The Broken Pack™ Podcast is produced by 27 Elephants Media

"If Tomorrow Starts Without Me" © ℗ 2023, 2024
Written by Joe Mylward and Brian Dean
Performed by Fuji Sounds (feat. MYLWD.)
Licensed for use by The Broken Pack™

Dr. Dean:

Hello and welcome to the Broken Pack, a podcast focused on giving adult survivors of sibling loss, a platform to share their stories and to be heard. Something that many sibling loss survivors state that they never have had. Sibling loss is misunderstood. The Broken Pack exists to change that and to support survivors. I'm your host, Dr. Angela Dean. In this episode, I spoke with author and grieving sibling loss survivor, Renée Green Murphy, about losing her brother, Robert, in a tragic automobile accident. We explore how she's honored him in her award winning children's book, Your Heart's Voice. This book is on intuition for children. Renée's love for Robert and the continuing bond with him is palpable in our conversation and in her work and in her connection with her family. Take a listen. Before we get into the conversation, I was wondering how you wanted to introduce yourself to our audience.

Renée Greene Murphy:

My name is Renée Green Murphy. I am a mom. I'm a sister. I'm a wife and I'm now a children's book author of a book called,"Your Heart's Voice," which I decided to write last year after, my little brother passed away in a car accident in New York.

Dr. Dean:

Thank you for that. Before we talk about losing Robert and how you're doing, what would you like the audience to know about Robert?

Renée Greene Murphy:

there's so much I could tell you. you. know, He was, bright light. Anyone who knew him, adored him. We run into people all the time to this day who they just stop and they start crying when they start talking about him. They smile simultaneously as they cry, which is real. uh, It's a thing. and it's because he touched them in a way where they are still, mourning and and grieving in such a profound way. we're all just in a standstill. Still, We still can't believe that it happened. I know that there's a process with grief. I don't know what stage I'm at. But, but I know that I'm still, not fully accepting. And everyone I run into, they almost feel similar. Whether it's clients, the customers that he had at the Italian restaurant he worked at, or his preschool friends, or his family, or, My children's teacher that I didn't even know knew him and would sit at the bar and talk to him and her mother and father It's just it's astounding How many he touched on such a deep deep deep level And the commonality and everything they say is how much he they just loved him And he was like a magnet for joy and peace and laughter and love

Dr. Dean:

Like a wonderful human being. I think you had said at one point in our conversations before this that he also had a online video, this bartending,

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah, So it was called The Crazy Bartender. It's here now, it's on YouTube. He, during Covid, flew to Miami, Florida during the lockdown. And one of the things Robert was, very vocal about was his freedom and everyone else's freedom. They're not going to take it away. And so while we were locked down in New York, he got on a plane and went to go see his best friend in Florida who lives in Brickell, which is a beautiful city of Miami, and Robert slept on the couch for a year and shot The Crazy Bartender, which is his channel where he teaches everyone, the public, how to make his gourmet cocktails, his signature gourmet cocktails that he created from scratch and that he made and sold in his Italian restaurant that he worked at on Long Island. So he made that commute back and forth weekly.

Dr. Dean:

oh

Renée Greene Murphy:

And I remember, in the thick of COVID, us his family being like, what are you doing? This is crazy. In the very beginning of COVID when we didn't even know what was really going on. He didn't have a care in the world, he followed the rules in terms of you have to wear a mask on the plane and all of that, but he wanted to live and he did what he loved which was, teach others, to immerse himself in his talents while being loyal to his customers back in New York. And that's why he would fly back every single week. I'm not even exaggerating. He did that for first year. And then the second year he ended up getting an apartment, his own apartment, and, lived down there at SLX in Brickell. And so if you go to the Crazy Bartender channel on YouTube, you'll see we uploaded about 52 videos. Some are behind scenes, but most of them are his drinks. He made, for instance, like the Manhattan, he'd make it three different ways. He'd have three different to it, and that was of his signature way. But the rest are just all his unique drinks. A Fortunada is made after my mother, which is a chocolate Godiva martini. My mother's name is Fortunada. Chitalian. I know you and like the lemon drop, but like not the typical drink you would get in a bar. Everything was from scratch and he really just took great pride in his drinks. He was, not just a mixologist. He was an entertainer. He was very, very, very talented. He was an actor. He could do no wrong. there were so many things he could do. He was the captain of a baseball softball team for years. ball hit him in the eye once. and lost some of his vision and still went back and played the game, years later. He was just unbelievable. I know that sometimes people, they speak so highly and so positively of their loved ones, sometimes in a grandiose way, but everything I'm saying is, is not even an exaggeration. He really was. this way, And I could say that as his older sister, I, have two other siblings, there was four of us. Robert was the baby. He was, Just so special and he looked at life in such a special way that the three of us didn't really look at life as,

Dr. Dean:

Yeah.

Renée Greene Murphy:

He was just much friendlier and happier than we than we were

Dr. Dean:

Mm. How much older than him were you?

Renée Greene Murphy:

I'm I'm eight years older and the oldest is my brother Ryan who is 10 years older Robert was 10 years younger than him. And then sister is, three years younger than me. so five years, she was three years older than him.

Dr. Dean:

Mm hmm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Robert was named my dad. So he was the junior. He was an he was a, he was a, they weren't planning on having a fourth, Let us put it, let us, let's put it that way. Because Ryan was ten at the time. I remember when my, when we, it's, it's so crazy out there. We actually told this story. I wish I had the picture. It's downstairs. we have a photo, which I'll send it to you. It's the last photo we took as a family. And it was in April. He passed away in May. We were sitting at my sister's kitchen table. It was her son's birthday. And my mother just said, Oh, intuitively. Someone take a picture. I have all my four kids together at the same time. And so That photo is the photo we use all the time in regard to Robert because it's the last picture of us and the most recent, before the accident. And at that, at that table, moments before my mom said that, actually I don't know if it was before or after, we talked about this moment that I'm about to share with you, which was the day we found out he was born. how crazy that we just like randomly, and I remember getting off the bus and my mom was like waiting for us and she said we have an announcement and I think we were waiting for my dad to get home from work. He's a New York City firefighter and a fire marshal for 30 years. And at the time, he was a Firefighter, I think, just going to be promoted and, Ryan was at the table and Casey and me we went around the table and we had to guess what the surprise was. And Ryan thought it was a dog and I was like, no, I thought it food. I don't know. Don't ask. And my sister was like crying, because she was the baby. And we were laughing and then there's a photo of us. At the table and we're all cracking up laughing the same day where we took the picture of us and we're cracking up and like crying like we're like Drinking but like laughing so hysterically because it's so funny and looking at us like thanks And that was the last picture we took right after that. We're all smiling at the camera, but that all happened like in the same Afternoon, so I remember vividly when they told us I was so excited. He was like the little baby I would like with diapers and we would dress him up and hide him in the laundry And

Dr. Dean:

As an older sibling would do, I imagine.

Renée Greene Murphy:

born with a collapsed lung. So he was a miracle baby I don't know if I told you this the first time we talked My dad was, in, as I said, in the city. he was, Robert was born out here on Long Island where we live, but he was born with a collapsed lung and they had to rush him to the city. I think near Presbyterian, I don't remember which hospital, but like the best one for children's. I think it's New York Presbyterian. and, He had a 5 percent chance of living. he was the sickest baby in the hospital, my dad said, and my dad stayed with him for weeks. And my mom was on Long Island, they had to take him away. And, had just given birth and then, healed and had to come home, but my dad stayed with him in the city. And then my dad always tells the story that On Good Friday, we're Catholic. my grandma Mary, which is my mom's mom, her name is Angel Marie. She, told my dad,

Dr. Dean:

That's okay. Take your time.

Renée Greene Murphy:

she said, go to church and pray. It's Good Friday. Miracles happen. And he did. My dad's very religious. And when he got back to the hospital, he prayed like at the local chapel and the doctors said to him, it's a miracle. his lung is working. And he went from 5 percent chance of living to, making a full recovery. And was released, I don't know how soon after, but, yeah. he was perfectly healthy after that. he even smoked, which I used to yell at him for, ironically enough. But he didn't have a care in the world like that. He wasn't, like I said, freedom. He wasn't, he just lived life. He just life. he ate what he wanted, he, he enjoyed life. He had a million friends. you just. Just lived life, enjoyed life, really, to the fullest.

Dr. Dean:

What was your relationship like with him?

Renée Greene Murphy:

Uh, like, a big sister, protective, friend. My family would, go on vacation with him. And The last day I saw him was in Miami because we were on vacation. we loved, like, where he lived. He lived in the most beautiful high rise, building in, in Brickell. It was like gold. It was gorgeous. We had idea how beautiful it was. He didn't, rave about it. he wasn't, about it. he would just say it's, nice. And, we no idea how nice it was until we got there. We wed The February before he passed with my older brother, thank God, Cause I still have videos of like, of taking the video around the apartment because I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was. the elevator right to his room his own And then when you walked in, he had this beautiful balcony, but there were three balconies. His roommate had his own balcony, Robert had his. it was February, the Christmas tree was still up. That was his roommate's doing, but it was just like, beautiful. Everything was decorated. It was pristine. Robert was not a neat freak. And the whole place was like, you couldn't see one morsel of, lint. And the bathroom. And I just remember, videotaping being like, Who cleaned this place? who did this? he never even made his bed at home. And I was like, I need to show mom. And and I was like, taping And he's I did. And he's just laughing. Cause I guess the roommate was like, I hope he doesn't see this, but like a little OCD with keeping things clean. But that's how he was. He like, did it for his roommate. You know what I mean? When really, was not in his character to be like that. At

Dr. Dean:

he didn't do it for siblings or his parents. Yeah.

Renée Greene Murphy:

No, my mom would do that. but, Ryan came to that trip. That was February. And then, we were just in, in shock. We went back the next year in February again. And then, and then we went back in, in April. So I remember, again, I'm very intuitive. When when we came back from that February trip the second time, we were like laying out at the pool, and I have a picture of him in the pool with my kids, and Robert didn't even swim, but of course he went in for them. He's like them on his arms. it's a beautiful pool at his apartment, and it's in their bedrooms. but I remember leaving that trip and saying to my husband, we gotta go back. And he was like, we just spent lot of money. And I was like, but we have to go back. it's just so peaceful and beautiful there. we'll just stay at Robert's the whole time, not like sleep there, but instead of being at the hotel and staying there, we'll just stay in the city, go to Roberts every day. And, meanwhile, my brother was working in Long Island. He wasn't even, never worked in Miami. He just shot the video and would fly back. And at this he was working at two different places on Long Island. He left that job that he was working at for 11 years. And he ended up working on. In the Hamptons and then in another town. So he had two jobs. He was driving a lot, which was also making us nervous. And, I just, something told me, I said to him, we gotta go back. And he's Like a month later, we were just there, and I was like, yeah, we have to go back, and we did. And, Robert at first wasn't going, and I remember my husband was like, my bro, my husband was like, best friends with Robert. And I remember my husband texted me, a couple days before, and he was like, Robert's not gonna be there, and I was like, what? And I texted him, and I was like, Robert, we're getting on a plane, what do you mean you're not gonna be there? And he's like, I have to work, and I was like, you have to be there. And then, a minute later, he texted me back, okay, I'll be there. that's just how he

Dr. Dean:

Mm

Renée Greene Murphy:

He just made things happen, he was so flexible, so easy, he was the kind of friend that just dropped things for his friends to be there to do it, he was the easy going, laid back opposite of most would say. and he did, he flew there just for us, and we spent a couple days with him. eating all around Miami. He had a bucket list with his best friend Dave that I initially talked about when he first moved there of visiting the top 100 restaurants in Miami. his goal. And they got to 80 before he passed.

Dr. Dean:

hmm. Mm hmm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

would photograph and videotape every single restaurant and every meal. all over his Instagram, it's, you could go to it right now, Rob Green on Instagram. and it's, it was still food, most of it. a lot, some of it's like music and baseball and softball and politics, but most of it is capturing all those great restaurants. So when we go visit him, we'd go to the restaurants, and then we'd just chill with him. When I went back that second time, that was the last day I saw him. I remember he left before us, so we were like spending the day at his pool, some man like won, Again, it was very nice where he lived and some man won two million dollars on Bitcoin. He was like drunken in the pool. That's how I know that. And he was like announcing it. And he looked at us, my family and my brother, and he was like, drinks on me, anything you want. And was like buying us lunch and Robert, wasn't even fazed, was like laying there eating his chicken fingers, drinking a drink. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Not like fazed, just remember looking over at him and just like thinking wow, he's just so just so chill. like he doesn't get like easily excited. And, he was like talking to my dad on the phone about like my dad picking him up from the airport. And, we left soon after that. So we had to say goodbye to him. I, Kate downstairs and I hugged him and I said, I love you. So it wasn't the last time I spoke to him, but it was the last time I saw him. And I, I, to this day, I have dreams of him and he's like always hugging in my dreams. And I feel like it's because of that last day I saw him. I distinctly remember, the feeling of hugging him that day. and, and so I have these dreams and, and he's in them and he'll hug me it's that same feeling. You know how you remember feelings in life? know, like a scent, like your, your five senses, bring up the memory, but it's oh, brings back a feeling. I I always remember that feeling of when I I was hug him and say, I love you, be safe.

Dr. Dean:

Are you able to draw on that when you need to?

Renée Greene Murphy:

I mean, I, I do. And then I, and then I break down and cry and I, and I think about how much I miss him and then I'm not gonna be able to hug him again. But, I, I am grateful that I, that I, that, I did, some people don't have that opportunity. They're not speaking, right?

Dr. Dean:

Right.

Renée Greene Murphy:

interviewed a lot of people and, and you've heard so many stories, but sometimes you don't get to, you could have a good relationship, but maybe you didn't get to be able to, leave off on a good note on some level and I, I had that, even though I didn't know that would be the last time I was able to hug him and say I love you.

Dr. Dean:

Mm hmm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

and as the last time I saw him, I spoke to him on the night that he passed through text. It was actually the last person I texted. but I'll always remember the last day I saw him and I, I do, I value that and I, I do hold on to that. I'm grateful for that.

Dr. Dean:

Do you want to share about losing Robert?

Renée Greene Murphy:

what it feels like, it it feels and it feels like, being punched in the stomach and in the heart. It feels like a piece of you is ripped out and you have to just get up and, keep going. there's, there's okay days, mixed with. Harder days mixed with moments of what I find to be laughter now. And I do try to, find something to be, grateful for, whether it's my son making me laugh or, my daughter's happy about something. Uh, to daughters. I, try to, find one moment a day, that I can control, that I can be lighter about and, and maybe laugh about to balance the

Dr. Dean:

hmm. Mm hmm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

I do find that as days go on, that's like a strategy I'm using,

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. It sounds like it's a helpful one to find that balance because Unfortunately, grief is a marathon, without an ending.

Renée Greene Murphy:

especially because happy. again, I don't know what it's like to lose somebody who was depressed or, hated life or, and, and I'm not wanting to compare death or grief. I know what it's like to lose somebody who absolutely loved life and wanted to And, instead of looking at. Life now, like I hate it, I try to mimic on some level even if it's 1 percent And remind myself of how much he loved life and lived life to the fullest And that that is what life is meant to be for is to lived not You know, curled up in a ball, dying, and hating, and full of constant negativity. And I think that's, such a hard battle, That's such, a hard struggle. because it's, it's easier to, look at life that way when you're so crushed and hurt.

Dr. Dean:

How long has it been since you lost him?

Renée Greene Murphy:

20 months. I try not to look at, the timeline. I get very anxious. There's some things I can't do. Counting down that is hard for me, and he's great. Those are two things I can't do. I could talk about him. I could write about him in my book. I could, I could be interviewed. I, I've been interviewed a bunch of times by my local paper. I, I could be, like, interviewed and stopped in the middle of a store and talk to complete strangers and and cry and, smile about Robert, but those two things I can't do. The timeline and the grave.

Dr. Dean:

Mm hmm. When I think, and I've talked about this before and posted about it, this whole math timeline with grief, especially when we're supposed to have this person in our lives for

Renée Greene Murphy:

I think that's one of the biggest things with sibling loss. And again, you know what that's like. Like You, you feel like your siblings are, they're cut from the same cloth and they're supposed to be with you during this journey, right? Even if your sibling might live in another state or, across the country, they're usually similar in age. And you expect them to be here as opposed to grandparents and parents who eventually, you know, pass because they're 30 years older, right? And so that's part of the shock, and also that he was the youngest, as I mentioned.

Dr. Dean:

you also mentioned that you, You changed diapers and you took care of him a little bit too, so that older sister role. I wonder how that plays into your grief.

Renée Greene Murphy:

I was always looking out for him on some level. yeah. I don't know why. When that eye accident happened, my, my oldest was, she was only, three, and I remember my husband was, in the backyard, in, in the middle of, cementing an umbrella, he physically couldn't move, and his brother was doing it with him, and I remember I got the phone call from my mom, and I just grabbed my daughter and put her in the car and raced to the hospital. I was the first one there. My father, who doesn't have a cell phone to this day, which is like the most aggravating thing in the world, I think he does it on purpose at this point, was like

Dr. Dean:

I get it. My dad has one and doesn't turn it on. Might as well not have it. Mm hmm. Mm

Renée Greene Murphy:

he had he had one, and it was like, I don't know, he didn't use it, yeah, I guess it was like that, and, so anyway, he was like in the Bronx, and then raced back. I don't know where my mom, my mom's the one that called me. I guess she didn't have a car, and so she needed my dad. I put my daughter in a stroller and she was in the hallway in the emergency room while Robert was in the room. And, we waited for the plastic surgeon and I'm the one that was with him when that happened. So yeah, he, I always kind of like took him under my wing in some way, it was like a balance, like you didn't, I didn't want to be like too much like that because, he was an adult.

Dr. Dean:

And he was your sibling, not your child.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah. Yeah. So I used to call him B and I got a tattoo, which I don't have any. see

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. On your thumb.

Renée Greene Murphy:

uh, And I never thought I would get a tattoo my whole life. I'm not that, I'm not like that. but, I used to call him B. Shabil,

Dr. Dean:

to share why?

Renée Greene Murphy:

Um, my grandma, my, my dad's mom was like very funny and would teach me some words in Italian taught me that word. And again, I don't know. So if he, so I was probably like nine or 10 and he was a baby and I would call him be should deal and he didn't know what it meant. And then as he got older, he like. He found out either I told him or he asked and whatever I remember his face was like bright red he was so embarrassed and I and I Shortened it to be so pretty much, most of his life after that I just called him B and no one kind of knew my dad just thought it was because he was the baby

Dr. Dean:

Clever.

Renée Greene Murphy:

And he every was because he was so happy and everything was like this is literally what he would do That's why I got Beyond

Dr. Dean:

so like the thumbs up.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. That's lovely. what a way to stay connected to that and also some humor in there. It sounds like he

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah, and like even if my kids do something, like one's a dancer and the other is an actor and, my son's always, just jumping around, If they could do something, like I could just be like give them a thumbs up and I feel like it's from me and him, because they know what it means.

Dr. Dean:

nice. and so he died tragically in a car accident and that was not that long ago. Where do you think you are in your grief now? And I know that you've written the book and we'll talk about that, but where are you with your grief

Renée Greene Murphy:

Um, I'm still not, I don't fully accept it still.

Dr. Dean:

Mm

Renée Greene Murphy:

but I'm also not exactly where I was. You know the first, I don't know, six months, kind of a blur. Those were obviously the heaviest, kind of like that zombie,

Dr. Dean:

Right.

Renée Greene Murphy:

slash, you have a ton of bricks on your back feeling.

Dr. Dean:

Mm

Renée Greene Murphy:

I'm

Dr. Dean:

Oh, that's a great way to describe that.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah. yeah, and I'm a mom of three and, my kids are ten, at the time, nine, six, and three, and, I couldn't, you know, like, lock myself in my room. or There were moments of that, but I had to, get up every day and, the year that it happened, my son stayed home with me. He's now in preschool two days a week, but I wasn't ready to let him go and I don't think he was either, So he was with me every day. I spent a lot of days at the beach. I found the only thing, and I don't like to use the word help, because I feel like there's a complete solution to help, Or a positive result on some level, but I think what, assisted my, grieving and, getting through the day was being able to go to the beach, daily, to, meditate, and I felt most connected to him there. I don't know

Dr. Dean:

Do you,

Renée Greene Murphy:

but I did.

Dr. Dean:

I was gonna ask, do you think it's because of those experiences you had in Miami with the beach

Renée Greene Murphy:

Well, ironically, Robert didn't like the beach,

Dr. Dean:

Oh,

Renée Greene Murphy:

So again, being flexible and doing what others wanted of him, to keep peace and be, so laid back. He would walk to the beach, take an Uber to where we were staying in South Beach, because he lived in the city, and would be walking on the beach with black sneakers on, black, joggers, I kid you not, pants, and a t shirt or like a tank top and with a black backpack and would get to the beach with our like beach chair and like he'd have a bag of snacks and he'd lay there and we'd be like take your shoes off sometimes he had sandals but he didn't like the feeling of sand he didn't like the way it felt and he'd be laying there like eating his chips the seagulls would come and attack him steal his chips he'd just be like cracking up he didn't know how to swim so he didn't go on the beach but he would sit there all day with us because we would, my family are beach people, and we'd get like spicy margaritas and we'd sit there and I remember the last trip I was listening to the Johnny Depp trial on my phone I was like telling him all about it, I was so obsessed with it. And he was just like, just listening and, We're just, I mean he liked the sun, he was tan, but. He didn't like the feeling of the sand, but, yeah, I, I don't know. There's, there's something about the beach that, puts my mind at ease, and feel immediately grounded, and the sound of the water mixed with the smell, mixed with the feeling, my mind doesn't feel as heavy there, and that was before Robert. I always loved the beach. And then after I actually feel more connected to him. So yeah, could sit there and just look out at the water and I feel like he's with me. I feel him in my house. Sometimes I smell him, in my house, which I know are signs. Cause I'm like really in tune with all of that. And I get the Cardinals and he sends me songs on the radio, like all of that. I've been to a million mediums, but the beach, I, I feel like he's right there. And During my grieving, especially in the beginning, I was at the beach every single day.

Dr. Dean:

Nice. It sounds like too, and I think we can shift into talking about how the book has helped you, but also you mentioned that you are naturally intuitive and part of going to see him feels like you had to do this for, for some reason. There was some intuition around, I need to go see him. and your book, Your Heart's Voice, which is beautiful. Thank you for sharing that with me. You're welcome. is about intuition for kids. So what would you like to say about that?

Renée Greene Murphy:

So my book, I'll show you guys the cover, it's called Your Heart's Voice. And if you notice Jade, the main character, she's at the beach. all the things on the cover actually

Dr. Dean:

Oh.

Renée Greene Murphy:

there on purpose. but they all relate to Robert, spirituality and my process. So you see there's a red cardinal and there's seagull that was stealing his chips. And on the, on sand, you see there's seashells. In the shape of a heart, the, the sun is setting, and the heart here, which is supposed to signify her intuition, it's the color indigo, which is the color of our sixth sense, and it's our, our chakra, our third eye, and, it's going down to where our heart is, and so the cover emulates intuition and my grieving process, as a whole. Jade is 11, which is also an angel number. It means your angels are with you, and she's also a mix between my, a mix of all three of my kids. She has, dark brown hair, and tall like my oldest, and she has green eyes like my second. Child, Eden. My oldest is Avery, and she's wearing green throughout the story like my son, Sage. So instead of having characters, I just wanted to mix them all into one. Everything has meaning. Also, the turtle might, might I add, right after Robert passed on my trip to the beach, there was a turtle crossing the street in the parking lot, and I'm not a big animal person. I don't like dislike them, but I don't, I'm not like obsessed with animals, and I had to stop. I didn't want anyone to run him over, and we Saved him and my son called him Charlie. We ended up to my dad and put him in the backyard and fed him strawberries. And we gave my mom one job, mom, watch the turtle. It's the turtle, mind you not, not a cat, a dog. She had to just watch the turtle so we can get a big, I think we were getting food, but we also wanted to get something to put him in so that he wouldn't leave the backyard. We were waiting for everyone to get home. And she lost the turtle. That was, about three weeks after everything happened. And my son names every animal Charlie, which is also my dad's brother's name who died in Vietnam, Charlie, ironically. he doesn't know that, but he too is very intuitive. but the story is about, it's about this little girl Jade who learns to listen to her heart's voice, which she finds out at the end of the story is her intuition. And uncle Robert who teaches her. what that is. So throughout the story, she learns three lessons. That's supposed to be me and my husband. one lesson is about cleaning up. Another lesson is about eating her vegetables. And the third lesson is about putting her dad's pen away that she used to draw an angel. And the angel is for her uncle, and could see it's a boy angel. so the book isn't about death, but it's, it, it's what I used during my grieving process. Here she is and she's thinking about, what is that voice in my heart that I keep hearing? have to find out. The next day she goes to see her grandma. My children call my mom happy.

Dr. Dean:

Oh,

Renée Greene Murphy:

And when she runs in, she goes and sees her uncle, that's him.

Dr. Dean:

Mm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

He wore

Dr. Dean:

the New York Mets.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah, he loved the New York Yankees. He was wearing that

Dr. Dean:

sorry.

Renée Greene Murphy:

What?

Dr. Dean:

I said the New York Mets, so I apologize.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yankees. Oh no, he's laughing

Dr. Dean:

I, I don't know anything about sports.

Renée Greene Murphy:

He wore that chain the night he passed. He always had that on.

Dr. Dean:

hmm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

there's uh, that's that picture I told you about, the last picture of us in April. That's, My siblings and my parents. So the artist ended up painting real pictures of my family to make the book that much more personal. And this is giving her uncle the, the angel, which her heart's voice told her to do. And that this is when he tells her that it's your intuition. He laughs. Robert was always laughing. And, there's my dad

Dr. Dean:

Mm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

sitting behind Robert. There's also a picture of my kids. Those are my children.

Dr. Dean:

Nice.

Renée Greene Murphy:

And that's it. That's me.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah.

Renée Greene Murphy:

yeah. I wrote the book, as I said, six months after he passed. I came up with the concept in 2017 after Eden was born, my second child. was like on the treadmill, thinking, talking to my husband, saying, I have to do something. I had stopped working as a school counselor in Harlem, when I gave birth to my first child. It was too long of a commute to go back and forth. And after my second child, I was starting to think about, what else am I going to do? I've been a stay at home mom now. do something. I want to, always wanted to write a children's book. And so I came up with the concept then when I researched that there were no children's books written about your intuition, what it means and how to use it. There were teen books, and there were adult books, there were books written by psychologists, there were parenting books, but there were no children's books, picture books, to show children, because it's hard to come up with the concept and visualize it, and children need that visualization to learn, right? That's why children's books so important. And that's when I came up with the concept, Jade, which means the Jewel of the Heavens. Her name was Divine back then, which is also a spiritual name. And then I put it down, back to it, six months after the accident. Again, the beach, and I needed to channel my grief, and I found, something told me, my heart's voice told me, to pick up my manuscript and start writing again. And so I did. I changed Divine to Jade, and I added Robert to the, as a main character, and then I dedicated the

Dr. Dean:

Mm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

him. And that's him.

Dr. Dean:

Beautiful.

Renée Greene Murphy:

the book is like two fold. One, one piece of it is about my grief, and it's very, very, very spiritual, and way for my family and I to honor Robert and his legacy forever. the other is I genuinely feel like your intuition is your God given gift. We all have it. doesn't discriminate. It's not just for children. My book is also a gentle reminder for adults that this is, something we all have. And I think as we older, as the chaos ensues and life becomes that much more demanding and chaotic, we, we were less clear. And when we're less clear, we lose that voice. And my book is also a reminder for adults, but it's for anyone all over the world to tap into that voice in your heart because it's there to guide you, to help you in your path. Whatever that may be, we make the wrong choices a lot, a lot to learn from them, but it also can keep us in like a dead end and your intuition and your conscience, your gut feeling, whatever you want to call it, is there to make life a little easier, especially for children nowadays. They are subjected to so much on the internet, things that their can't even comprehend, and there's a lot of following going on, talking about things they don't even know about just based on YouTube alone, because the internet is so vast, and it's so easily accessible for them that I, I wanted to write this book to remind children that once you start listening to your heart's voice, and you make good choices, and you tap into your independence, you immediately raise your self esteem. You boost your self confidence and your self worth. That, to me, is One of the most important things in life, is to instill self confidence in our children so that they become self confident adults. You don't really lose confidence if you are a strong, self confident child, right? Whereas, on the flip, if you are, have low self esteem as a child, that's like a lifelong journey that you're trying to navigate throughout It could just make life that much much much more harder. My, my book is also for that purpose, and my brother was very confident and, I think he would want that, he would want this message shared, as many people as possible. So right it's available online on Amazon, on Barnes Noble, Google Play, iTunes, I'm in the process of transitioning, but it's still going to be online and it's in like the local school district where I in Long Island as well as the public libraries throughout Long Island.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I know when I read it, I was, I was in awe of how you took this abstract concept that would be difficult to explain to children, and were able to make it, I won't say simple, but in a way that they could understand it. And so thank you for that. it also sounds like for your grief process, that it helped you stay connected to Robert and honor him in a way that

Renée Greene Murphy:

I'm going to the post office after to mail five books out. every time I

Dr. Dean:

huh.

Renée Greene Murphy:

mail my book out or I talk about my book, it's, it's an immediate reminder. I include my, my business card in every book because it has my QR code on Amazon, but I also include Robert's. sorry. and we had these made after the past. Again, this is him with one of his professional photos from YouTube channel. but on the back is his QR code to his crazy bartender. So they go in hand. yeah, it's definitely a reminder. every day, my, my purpose right now. And I remember talking to Robert about his life purpose That last day I saw him in Miami, took us to a cafe and ironically, it was called friends. He might have told story. And the logo was the Friends logo from the show. And as we were there, there's a picture of Robert with my daughters and he's holding their hand. Something told me to take a picture of it. My, husband's friend actually put wings on his back and got it painted because it's such a beautiful picture of him with my daughters. But he's walking us to the Friends Cafe. And I remember saying to him, is this like really affiliated with Friends? Cause it's the same logo of the coffee cup. And he crapped up laughing and said, No, this is like a Cuban restaurant. It's totally illegal what they did, but it's also genius. And, and it was, But I remember I sat there across the table and had a 20 minute conversation with him about life, his next steps. All of these things I don't think just happened or a coincidence,

Dr. Dean:

huh. Of course not.

Renée Greene Murphy:

and we were talking about his purpose, and so my purpose right now I think is to get my book into as many hands. as possible.

Dr. Dean:

Uh

Renée Greene Murphy:

Um, and then maybe write two more because everything in my life always happens in three, so I'll probably have two more sequels.

Dr. Dean:

I look forward to those. Are there other things that you want to share about grief or loss or sibling loss specifically?

Renée Greene Murphy:

I heard a quote from, um, The actor that was married to Angelina Jolie. He's a good actor. it'll come to me, but, he, said something like once you lose a loved one, the rest of your life, you equally, feel, Sadness coupled with joy, and you, make that sacrifice for the rest of your lives.

Dr. Dean:

Wait, I know this because I just heard this quote the other day. It was, was it Billy Bob Thornton? It was, I think, yes.

Renée Greene Murphy:

And

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, I, I recently saw that. It is true. Yeah. Mm hmm. Mm

Renée Greene Murphy:

And, then he said, and you're willing to make that sacrifice. Meaning, I just felt happy, right? We, we got the house we wanted to move into or anything, right? You, your, daughter just did so well on this test or, your son got the team he wanted to be a part of. You, as soon as you feel that little bit of joy, as soon as you feel that feeling, you're immediately met with equal sadness. And that equal sadness is your way of also honoring and remembering and loving them, right? right? And that is now your life and that I've accepted more than him not being here. I've I've accepted that reality.

Dr. Dean:

Right. I think acceptance and grief is a difficult thing because a lot of times people think acceptance means approval and it doesn't, they're not the same word, right? And so learning to live with our grief

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah. I don't like the word

Dr. Dean:

it sounds like you're just going.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Yeah. What do

Dr. Dean:

Yeah, I use acceptance, but that's because I have a different view on that. But I think for a lot of people, it's a difficult word. I think, yeah, coping and learning to live with, with the loss and simultaneously, how can we experience loving and living in joy while also knowing that grief has changed us and changed how we live.

Renée Greene Murphy:

And I remember early on, when, when you're in that the tons of bricks on your back, walking around like an empty zombie feeling. People don't know what to say. Whether it's people who have lost someone or not, And I, I mentioned to you before, you should never compare grief, but sometimes you're met with people who say, they, they had lost their grandmother who was like 99 or and, and in your mind you're thinking, that's your path and that's, and that's horrible because Losing someone is horrible. But in your mind, you're thinking, I just lost my 33 year old brother who, who didn't even, who only lived a quarter of his life, it's hard, and you don't want to minimize anybody else's, but then you find that people don't know what to say. And there's also that balance of them saying the wrong thing versus not saying enough versus not saying anything. maybe sugarcoating it or being insensitive,

Dr. Dean:

Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm

Renée Greene Murphy:

I find that saying something is better than nothing. I also never appreciated when people would say moving on, or words like, helped, this helped you, or moving on, moving forward. those things, to me, Make me feel like I'm leaving my brother in the past

Dr. Dean:

moving on, definitely I agree with you on that, because it's moving on quite literally means you're, you are leaving something, yeah,

Renée Greene Murphy:

yeah, and

Dr. Dean:

I like to say moving forward because that's taking that person with us, that movement and moving with grief. I don't know about the help though, like I think you and I disagree on that one a little bit,

Renée Greene Murphy:

what, when

Dr. Dean:

hear what you're saying. about what's helped you. I think, I don't, I have a different viewpoint on that, but that's, thank you for sharing that in, in your mind that, that is also moving on, leaving him in the past.

Renée Greene Murphy:

yeah, Cause I feel like there's like a finite end to help, and I feel like it's a, it's a evolving process of, healing. which I'll never be healed from. So again, no like end result there, I can help you, study for a test. I can help you write a book. I can help you, bring the groceries inside, right? And then it's like it's finished, that finite, like end result. I don't and I think that's why I struggle with that word. But

Dr. Dean:

I hear that. I think of it too as If someone's had a leg amputated or, or something, and grief is often compared to that, they might still need help to function, like with a, a wheelchair or a prosthetic or something. And so I think of it in that way, like what's helping you live despite this enormous

Renée Greene Murphy:

yeah. Assisting.

Dr. Dean:

healing because healing isn't something we can do. Mm hmm. Mm

Renée Greene Murphy:

I also remember a quote in the beginning where someone said at some point you, so you're always going to feel this tremendous pain and sadness and,heaviness, But what happens over time. your heart starts to make room, and it grows, and it makes room for joy again, for happiness again, for laughter again. So this pain and sadness and this heaviness doesn't go away, That's the moving on that we don't agree with. You just make room for the positivity again as time goes on. And that I think also is synonymous with, what, Billy Bob Thornton was saying And some visual, took a visual to

Dr. Dean:

Yeah.

Renée Greene Murphy:

saying.

Dr. Dean:

I like that. I know we're almost out of time, but I wanted to check in and see what favorite memories you wanted to share about Robert.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Robert loved Pearl Jam. If you go to his Instagram, you'll see he was quoting Pearl Jam. Days up until this happened, Given To Fly was one of them. And we ended up putting that on a plaque that we made that we engraved, in a bench that we gave to my parents. he was, As I said, somebody who just really loved life, I loved my kids, loved children, sometimes that doesn't happen, especially with men, if they're not your own children. But,

Dr. Dean:

Mm-Hmm?

Renée Greene Murphy:

loved, his nieces and nephews, was always posting about them on his Facebook. Just, loved his family, loved his friends, had the same friends from preschool. Again, not something you can say often about people, and that. The same unit, and then evolved and met more friends, but didn't let go of, that foundation. he loved good food, he loved good drinks. He loved sports. He loved the New York Yankees. He loved the, Jets, even though he hated them at the same time. and never understood He'd be like cursing at the TV screen, saying how much they sucked. but would watch them, and it was new. Every single player and every stat, with any sport, was very, very much into sports. he was an actor earlier in life. His professor and the director of the theater program came to the way. And that was from 15 years prior. And I remember the professor saying to me, I learned more from him as an actor than he could have ever learned from me. I'll never forget those people that I met that day because they all came through me and my family and my parents to get to Robert and they just all told us. 500 people at his wake, they all told us a personal story of how he touched them. And I remember those stories, and we ended up creating a website, robgreen. com, so that people can share their stories online, and you can go online and read about how these stories were so touching, and it's like an online, online journal. You can write, and you don't want to write, you can just read, but the stories were never ending. The line was wrapped around the funeral home for an hour and a half, and, I, I forgot some of them because we were in that blackout zone, but, I remember a lot. And I remember how generous he was, people telling me he gave them brand new cleats out of his trunk that, he had just bought and they're like, I'm going to keep it in the box. Nike cleats. And another guy said, I saw him at the bar and he was counting his money and he said, they don't pay you enough here. And he like grabbed like a 20 and shoved it down my shirt. And guy was like, I, I remember looking for him because all the wait staff would meet at one place when they all got off their shift and all the hospitality people and they all would flock to Robert. He'd be in the back doing like magic tricks they were like, who is this guy? And he's I'm Rob Green. the greatest bartender you'll ever meet. And he wasn't like cocky. He was very confident, as I said earlier, but not in an arrogant.

Dr. Dean:

Mm-Hmm.

Renée Greene Murphy:

way. People would just flock to him. Like I said, he was a magnet and people that came to the wake were like, I had just met him three months ago and I love this guy. And there were people that knew him for 20 years, 30 years and five months and they were bawling. I will remember how many people he touched and I'll remember all of it. I have way more good. I never fought with Robert. He'd fight with his siblings. Again, something you can't say with a family four or six. we, we weren't perfect, but we fought the other three. Nobody

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. Well, thank you for

Renée Greene Murphy:

fond memories. Yeah. And, my dad even takes my book and, gives it to the mailman. And he, I think he thinks he's like my, my manager or something. to just get it into the public just as much as me. Yeah.

Dr. Dean:

Yeah. I will put links to all of that in the show notes. Yeah. And thank you. And I look forward to staying in touch.

Renée Greene Murphy:

Thank you. Thanks so much. Take care.

Dr. Dean:

Thank you so much for listening. Our theme song was written by Joe Mylwood and Brian Dean, and was performed by Joe Mylwood. If you would like more information on the Broken Pack, go to our website, the broken pack.com. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter, Wild Grief, to learn about opportunities and receive exclusive information and grieving tips for subscribers. Information on that, our social media and on our guests can be found in the show notes wherever you get your podcasts. Please like, follow, subscribe, and share. Thanks again.

Introduction
Robert: A Bright Light
Renée & Robert's Relationship
Renée's Intuition
The Last Visit
Hugs
Losing Robert
Timelines
Renée's Thoughts on Siblings & Sibling Loss
Being Robert's Big Sister
Continuing Bonds with "B"
Renée's Grief Now
Renée's Book: Your Heart's Voice
How Renée Honored Robert & Used Writing to Grieve
More on Sibling Loss
Coping with Early Grief & Challenges with What Others Say
Favorite Memories