Invisible Black Drape Lifted


by Roberta Murphy

Black Drape

Perhaps I should have put a black drape over this blog on April 24, 2009 because that’s the day Dad died in Encinitas, CA–and my sister Gayle and I became orphans. It’s really tough when the last parent exits, especially if the relationship has been a close one.

Our mother, Edith Michelson, died in 2006. Her husband of 59 years and a heroic pilot of three wars, Retired Lt. Col Robert Michelson, would spend the next three years of his life gently counseling and encouraging the dreams of his two daughters and five grandsons. On a personal level, Bob Michelson in his 80’s also abandoned a lifetime of agnostic views, and to our absolute amazement, developed a wondrous faith in God.

He was also enormously curious about new technologies. Dad was the first person I knew to download Window’s Vista–and wished for stem cell technologies that might one day cure his own illness as well as those of others. He loved our country, watched Wall Street closely, was an Astros and Padres fan, and hated Nancy Pelosi. Dad’s idea of a perfect meal would be a bowl of spicy bean soup and a crusty piece of bread. He was modest, generous to a fault, and promised to be a guardian angel for us all.

We miss him terribly.

And that is probably why my writing gears have been frozen this past month or so. And though our real estate business continued and even flourished, I just couldn’t bring myself to write about San Diego real estate, market conditions or luxury homes–and remain indebted to my husband and partner Mike as well as associates in our company who so kindly aided me and our clients during this personal and unprecedented period of grieving.

I spoke with a Philadelphia food writer a few days ago and she could not understand how I could abandon writing during this grieving period–because writing would be her salvation. I didn’t write because I feared alienating you with my sadness and the process of putting a deceased parent’s affairs into final order. At the same time, I didn’t feel able to write about the things I usually favor because of this big life transition. A simple diagnosis might be writer’s block. And that is something that just has to work itself out.

Those writing gears, though, have begun to thaw and life’s rhythms are returning to normal. Laughter is easier, tears have subsided and reconnecting with friends–and you— is now a priority. It feels good to be home. —Roberta Michelson Murphy

4 responses to “Invisible Black Drape Lifted

    1. I still miss Bob Michelson, think about him daily and wish he were still around so we could discuss life’s events and happenings. Am so grateful for the time we had together.

  1. What a wonderfully written article on the life and death of a beloved father. After losing a parent (my mother ) at an early age, my siblings and I live in constant fear of the loss of my father. The possibility and impending loss of the second parent is ever present.

  2. Juliet: Thank you–from the bottom of my heart.

    I also understand your fears, and can only recommend that you create as many memories as you can with with your father. The time will come when those memories are your greatest life treasures.

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