A Place of Echoes- Chris Ritchey
SOURCE ( ED note please check out Leonnie Isaacs poem that goes with this artwork.
In the Don’t Ask- Don’t Tell- Don’t Ignore post and answer to
How are you ?
Most days I try to get through but then there are days that I am not sure I will make it through
There are no good days , at least I haven’t found any as yet, but there are people amateur and professional that have tried to give me a good day or at least move on. We have, as a family, had loads of advice. There is always a question I ask to those of the professional kind.
Have you lost a child, a son
Did you watch your child die -take his/her last breath -watch as their heart stopped- did you scream silently for them to hold on, not to die , even though you were the one that had to make the decision to let them go?
Do you know what it is like to relive that moment every time you close your eyes?
NO???? Ok! then well sorry but unless you have lived that you cannot possibly , even though you have years worth of “academic knowledge” help me because you cannot relate.
This is like nothing I have ever known- I have no words that adequately describe what is happening to me .
One Dr. (a lovely person) who is childless, told me
I smiled, thanked them for the advice and came home.
Take down from your house all photos, reminders of Chris put them away out of sight. Put the things that are most meaningful to you in a drawer and leave them there then when you want to remember go to the drawer relive your memories you get them out and then shut them away again.
As I walked up the path to the front door, through the wrought iron gate Chris had helped me choose and put up , to the pair of lions that flank the steps I once again saw the chip on the nose where a naughty little boy had tried to change the shape of the lion’s nose, still visible .
The front door where the welcome bells ( a mother’s day gift) scratch the wood- And I hadn’t even made it into the hallway where a little brass lion sits , a
I am sorry for defacing the lion
There are hundreds of reminders in this house, gifts, photos, artwork. I checked there isn’t one room including bathrooms-( candles too pretty to burn) ) not one wall that doesn’t hold some reminder of the baby, toddler, child, teenager, and young man who called this house home 27 years.
I wandered from room to room -I would need a storage unit, I haven’t even touched on the attic and basement. And then what would I keep in that drawer?
As I wandered realizing the daunting task that was ahead of me, the bricks on the fireplace caught my eye -
Yes the day of the “lion’s nose” had also found him trying to leave his name on the mortar of he brick, it is still there – first left as reminder to him NOT to do such a thing again, then forgotten with a “I must get to that” and now evidence that the child existed at all.
Which drawer? Would I choose the one where resides an envelope with a nugget of coal and some pencil flowers? Another I am sorry gift made for me after he had been particularly naughty. The homemade flowers delivered by dirty chubby hands looking for a softening of his mothers face, which he didn’t get until he handed her an envelope saying “if these don’t warm your heart ( the flowers )maybe this will” as the nugget of coal fell onto a white rug- but my heart was warmed and the smile and forgiveness followed.
In my world the scenes of “past life’ are so real , the colours, the voices, even those terrible last months and days, are with me – We all know about split personalities , various people living in one body/ brain.
I experience split lives, going through the motions of the present, simultaneously living the past- as it comes unbidden to the fore.
I can see the toddler as he stood at the top of stairs after finding out he could get out of his crib. I see him on the kitchen floor when, at two in the morning, he had decided he wanted more of the chocolate cake , this little boy cross-legged face full of cake looking innocently up from the mess he had made
The archway into the dining room where he would jump up and hit it as he grew leaving handprints on the off white wall. The dining room floor he helped me refinish whilst his dad was away just a 4 years ago. Even the damned ivy that is growing over the windows once again, he was supposed to cut it back for me. As it grows, it is a constant reminder of his not being here.
I sat on the couch where he had sat dazed and afraid ( although he tried not to show it) the day the Drs. told him you have cancer.
“Dad come up and kiss me goodnight”- Mum I need a drink., How come Nikki isn’t in bed?
Children’s laughter as they tore through the house playing their games. The bedroom ceiling fan he chose. The fish ,frogs and even Misty which drawer do they go in ? Which reminders are not as important as others?
Do I move out the house altogether? I see him in the street signs , I see him at Settlers’ Watch , I see him playing over at Irving , the baseballs and soccer balls lost on the roof, the broken window ( they never fixed just boarded over) all those years ago.
I see him on the storefront windows, on television, his ads, his design on signage in Cleveland. I am reminded every time I see a soccer ball, a Nike commercial, Adidas,
everytime I vacuum I look at his logo on the machine. I see him in my daughter’s eyes, in her smile – my grandson’s hands . The very sign on our street designed by my son.
No there isn’t a drawer that can contain and lock away my heart memories,
Photo Mark Teleha -artwork Chris Ritchey
there isn’t a storage shed anywhere in the world large enough to lock away and hold those memories.
My parallel world of the past cannot and will not allow confinement .
There truly are days that I wonder if I will make it through until tomorrow but I suppose the day I don’t is the day the heart memories and echoes will no longer cause the smiles, the wishing, the whying and nights of crying .
“In search of my son- in search of me.”
Part One - In search of my son- In search of me
Part Two – Tourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three - Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four - In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks
Part Five - Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six - The Unfinished Portrait
Part Seven- The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight- When Premonition Becomes Hindsight
Part Nine- When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a) – There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two