July 20, 2010, was a Tuesday; I was notified that my daughter Charlotte was being transported to Meriter Hospital…my daughter Terri and granddaughter Elizabeth were in route as well. They had found her lying on the floor of her living room. When I got to the hospital, she appeared to be awake, alert and although vital signs were not normal, my fear subsided. We waited through the night for changes, changes for the better. On Wednesday, July 21, 2010 her doctor gathered her family into a room, his diagnosis was that she would not live another day. I was in shock and do not believe that I have recovered since that day. Charlotte has been gone:
Her passing was peaceful, our hearts continue to mourn, her life is among the pages of “Flying with Broken Wings”, and she lives on in our hearts.
Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree
An excerpt from Flying with Broken Wings
Charlotte was nine-months-old when I finally got enough courage to tell my husband’s father Carl and stepmother Bobby about my crisis with Charlotte. They came to visit that day, Charlotte lay listless; they wanted me to explain what had happened. When I finished both were infuriated.
My family doctor was their neighbor; and Carl did not understand how the doctor could turn out his grandchild. Well, he did not own everyone! I told him that I doubted he knew that she was a grandchild of Carl Murphree, adding…
“They didn’t know she was the granddaughter of Carl Murphree”.
I could not stop the jerking of my body; the involuntary spasms of a panic attack.
“You should have called me, where was Charles”?
“I told them that Charles said he did not have time to deal with her”.
“Well he will be doing something now!”
The words walled in my throat like the damming of a river; someone was going to help Charlotte and me. Carl immediately called his personal doctor in Hartselle, Alabama telling him that he had an emergency. He walked into the bedroom woke Charles demanding that he dress and go with us to the doctor.
Unfortunately, we drove in separate cars, Charles was angry that I involved his father; we rode in silence, I knew that his fist would do the talking when he was ready to discuss what I had done, told his dad. Fear settled into my stomach, I always paid dearly for situations such as these; disturbing Charles’ life!
No one would ever see the blue marks on me; he always hit where nothing would show. Instantly the side of his fist buried itself into my stomach and ribs. He did not care that there was a baby in my arms or that our oldest child was in the back seat.
The doctor gave Charlotte a through physical; as kindly as he could, he said that he believed the fever had damaged her brain and that it may be irreversible. He called a specialist in Birmingham, Alabama; and made an appointment for the next day. I sat in his office, my mind exploding, I felt anxious, fearful, I felt drugged, and I could not control my thoughts. My mind kept screaming “irreversible”!
We rode home in silence; Carl had told Charles that he would go to Birmingham with us. I put the children to bed and during the remainder of the night; Charles welded his wrath upon me. His fist did the talking I did not feel anything!
Within 24 hours, we were in Birmingham where we stayed two-days; a team of specialist’ in pediatrics’, neurology, orthopedics and mental health fields ran test.
I had the best that Carl Murphree money could buy, but I would find that the best would not be enough to give my child a normal life. If money could have given her what she needed her, Paw-Paw Murphree would have paid the price. He was a womanizer, and knew well how to get what he wanted, legal or illegal. In those long ago days the name Murphree put fear in the hearts of most men who had to deal with them.
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