“I wanted a perfect ending…Now I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life…is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.” — Gilda Radner, It’s Always Something

If ever there was a story about a couple living in the moment in an inner world of uncertainty and anguish, making the best of it, and coming as close to a perfect ending as can be imagined, it’s Living in Color: A Love Story, in Sickness and in Health (createSpace), Mike Murphy’s beautiful and poignant book about the love affair with his young wife, Margot, and their nine-year battle with her cancer.

While there are enough roller-coaster moments in their decade-long marriage and the last six months of the cancer to keep readers riveted and hopeful, the magnificence of this book is not so much in the story and its inevitable ending. Rather, it is in the telling, the way Murphy so vividly describes his love with Margot, the way they process what is happening to her — happening to them — and how they go about dealing with it.

NOT ELIMINATING BUT RISING ABOVE PAIN AND SUFFERING

From a medical perspective, in the final year, they make the decision to give it six months rather than six weeks, which means scratching and clawing through every step and procedure if it will prolong Margot’s life. In effect, Margot’s message with this decision is that “life is not about eliminating the pain and suffering that comes with the human experience; it’s about rising above it.”

In a way, that starts when the two meet and fall in love, having to confront the complications of each being in an existing marriage. “‘You and I’ is simple,” Murphy writes. “It’s love. It’s a gift. Everything else is complicated, but not that. We didn’t plan it, but now we have to figure out what to do about it.”

Unusually, Margot also frames her cancer as a gift. “It’s what I’m here for,” she says. “I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I feel like I was born to have this path and this destiny.”

She later writes in her blog, “It has enabled me to look at parts of my life that were painful, forgive myself, and love who I am and the way that I am … It’s a beautiful unconditional love.”

Murphy sees himself as the “quarterback” for Margot’s care, having the benefit of lots of “coaching” from top-notch medical professionals, family and friends. But ultimately, along with Margot, of course, he has to make the decisions and manage the game clock on her.

A BEAUTIFUL EXPRESSION OF LOVE IN THE DARKEST OF HOURS

There’s plenty of reminiscing throughout the book, everything from the trips they took and the laughter they shared, to sneaking out of the hospital only to remember they had no car to get home. The bonding moments are so clear and real that they make readers feel as if they are sitting on the edge of their bed hearing the dialogue firsthand. 

Murphy has provided us with a beautiful expression of love — a love that grew even stronger during the darkest hours. He has given us a moving account of one of life’s greatest challenges and offered insights from his wife in her final moments that are so comforting and inspiring that they can help people cope when confronted with their own mortality or when others close to them face death.

The lessons are many, perhaps one of the most salient in Murphy’s quoting from Corinthians: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

You can purchase Living in Color here.

Founder of the Love from Margot Foundation, Mike Murphy started the movement in 2012 to honor his late wife Margot Murphy. The foundation is dedicated to support underinsured and low-income women suffering from advanced cancer with emergency funds, health education and resources much needed in their efforts towards healing and recovery. 

Mike is most passionate about helping people learn how to move from scarcity to abundance through a unique methodology he has used to create his own successes. His story, documented in the bestselling book Love Unfiltered, is one of dramatic transformation from a destitute, alcoholic, runaway teenager to business maven and community leader. He draws from his experience as an entrepreneur who has built solid multimillion-dollar businesses, notably auto dealerships and commercial real-estate. Visit https://lovefrommargot.org.