No Answers My Son- Chris Ritchey

May 3, 2010 at 10:57 am 4 comments


Rain drops, cold and opaque plummet to earth only to be blown collectively against my den window. They cause a cataract effect to my eyes that are looking out of my self-imposed prison. My eyes, that search through the veil of liquid grey for the green and blossoms on the branches of trees- newly decked out in life . I search for a path to take me for a brief moment from the cold bleakness that surrounds me.

Pondering life questions has become the main focus of this aging brain in the past months. There are times, when during interludes from grief a quiet and stillness reigns, I think the answers are there -just out of my reach . I can feel them tantalizingly close and then they are gone like quicksilver.

Five months have passed, in mortal time, since I last held your hand , stroked your brow and sang to you.
Yes, I sang – lullabies of your childhood – as the man whom you had become lay quietly dying. I didn’t know in those last hours what else to do .

Your Dad told me that when he was on a vent and paralyzed after his heart surgery he could still hear my voice and knew I was there and it gave him comfort and assurance knowing that I was there and would be fighting for him. He said to me, as we waited in frightened disbelief that last week , our world crumbling about us :

I knew as long as you were there , I knew you would not let anyone give up on me and would fight anyone and anything that got in your way- that you would speak and fight for me .

I wanted YOU to know I wouldn’t leave you alone or ever give up. Nikki and I promised you that Sunday at her home , we would move heaven and earth for you and that we would never leave you alone.

I talked to you until I was hoarse, I was running out of things to say – I wanted you to know you weren’t alone. I know that sometimes I made no sense at all. I kept thinking, he will get off the vent and tell me

“Mum -I just wanted you to shut up”.

I wish I could have heard those words. I would have given anything to hear those words.

I watched your heart rate on the monitor , the only way you could communicate. I watched to see if your heart rate would calm or steady or rise to tell me if I was causing you distress or comfort.

I wish I had the answers. I know the “clinical” answers as to “why” - but the reasoning of this great waste of your life remains elusive.

The veil of cold grey and yet life-giving rain separates me from the blossoms and newness of life , locking me in a world I don’t understand .

A Greater Plan”???? For me – there is no plan or reason that is good enough or great enough that required the sacrifice of your young life. You died not for your country, freedom or to save another . There is nothing that can convince me that your death by this insidious obscenity of a disease was for a reason!

And WILD HORSES couldn’t drag me away
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb3XAP0c8WU

“Let’s do some living after we die”

Scholarships in memory of Christopher David Ritchey
Cleveland Institute of Art
Lorain Arts Council

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Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, death, grief, Love, opinion. Tags: , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ngaire  |  May 3, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    You’re completely correct Lori, so senseless and cruel, my heart bleeds for you and yours. One of my dear friends (a wonderful piper and fabulous organiser, a man with a quiet calm, died of same some years ago) – the hurt never goes away and I remember him at many and various times with great pleasure and draining loss and also ask the questions as you do. Your eloquent words take away that feeling of being ‘on your own’ – there are others who feel also. xxx

  • 2. Ngaire  |  May 3, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Oh, and as an addendum to that, Chris has the wonderful scholarship named after him and my friend has a bridge!

  • 3. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Ngaire, it is funny you should mention “pipers” as yesterday I came across a photo of Chris at the Ohio Scottish Arts School, tuning up and playing the pipes…..

    Chris Dad tried to get him interested in piping when he was young and he had taken chanter lessons with a couple of the best…..but “football( soccer) got in the way and the decision was for soccer, which kind of crushed his Dad.

    Anyway all of a sudden after a couple of trips with us for Nikki’s dancing ( in highschool) he all of a sudden decided he wanted to go to the Piping school that summer, in Oberlin …. we had to rush around getting him a kilt and chanters and a set of pipes….. his dad was thrilled …only to find out that on the trips with Nikki he had met a “dancer” ( well endowed at that :) from a couple of states away and she was going to the dancing school hence the sudden interest in Pipes again……..always a method in my son’s madness as well… :) I had forgotten that time until I found that photo…. the romance was short lived that summer and soccer came back on the horizon .still have a very expensive set of pipes though….. :( Loraine

  • [...] I look at my daughter I see a little girl with big blue eyes and a ready smile for her mum. I saw not the man wracked with cancer and disease hooked up to machines as my son lay in that hospital bed but a little boy whose chubby little arms reached across the [...]

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