A Letter – A Legacy – Nikki to Chris Ritchey – sister to brother
NOTE:I am sharing this letter that my daughter has written to her brother – an epitaph ? a eulogy? an expression of overwhelming pain and hurt.
I am writing today to my little brother. This is more of an apology to him. Nikki
I am sorry Chris that I could not save you from all of your pain in these past 22 months and even in your passing.
During these months you were really there consoling me, telling me “it will be ok Nik.” You fought so hard for your family and in the end I was unable to do the same for you.
Over these past days I am remembering all the wonderful memories we made together.
When we were kids we would play all day long in Uncle’s pool with all of our friends screaming “Marco, Polo” driving mom nuts. Then in the winter we would ice skate on that same pool or practice skiing across the street at Irving. We were always outside till the street lights came on and mom would yell out the door “Nikki, Chris time to come in.”
we ordered room service- of course all on Mom and Dad’s tab.
I developed a huge swollen eye. Both you and Tony tried to ice it for me. We then had to call Mom to bring me tea bags. She was so mad, “What did you three do last night,” as Tony hung out the window trying to have a smoke. Who knew 7 years later that would be the day you would be cremated.
After I was married we still stayed close. I moved to Avon where you hung out with us. We bought a hot tub and many a late nights were spent underneath the stars.
Then I moved to Maumee and again you came to see me every weekend you could. Then I finally moved back to Lorain. You were there house hunting with me. We found a house not far from Mom and Dad’s. You were still living there at the time with them but everyday was spent at mine.
You had your own room and I never complained when you didn’t make your bed or when you left your wet towels on the floor.
We would go to the beach down at Beaver Park with Misty and Jax all the time that 2007 summer.
Then 2008 came with bad news. But you handled it with true Chris style. You were getting married that summer.
The night before you got married, again it was you, Tony, and me. Again a hot tub, laughter, and another sleepless night.
As you left my house that morning you stood outside the limo before getting in and just said “I love you.” I watched the limo pull away as my little brother left to become a married man.
It wasn’t 5 days later you were back at my house with me asking “can I come back home to your house.” Of course you were welcomed, this was your home. This is where you felt the most comfortable.
You went through all of your treatments like a champ. Never complained once. You came home every chance you could. Even after getting out of the hospital from a stem cell transplant you came home the next day to see your new nephew, Gavin.
You bought a 4-wheeler this year. You spent so much time out in the woods behind my house with Jim riding for hours. I have never seen you so happy as when you would jump on that ATV and take off. You would come home with mud up to the handle bars- like a pig in shit- you loved it!
I guess I must get back to the point of my apology to you. I tried to bring you home once again. I tried to make your wishes known, that this was your home, where you laughed, drank, played, and felt the most comfortable.
You spent more time here with me every chance you could than any old stuffy closed up apartment that you hated. You loved it here.
Every time you came over the first thing you did was go outside with the dogs. I am so sorry that I can’t bring you home to the outdoors where you belong.
I tried Chris but I was lied to. I was denied you, my own flesh and blood. Some are trying to make it seem like we didn’t have a special bond between us.
We will always have a bond. Blood is always thicker than water. We didn’t have a vow of till death do us part. We will never part.
You may have been taken from me physically not once but twice in this past week and in my heart I know where you are at.
You are here with me, what you always called home, sitting on my back porch outside underneath the starry sky, where you wanted to be. Know that I love you more than life itself. I am so sorry little brother…so so sorry.