On your knees —–Lady Stuart and I—- Chris Ritchey
The last few days I have not been able to write and to continue the series on Lorain City Schools. Oh! I could fluff a piece – copy and paste- but the situation in which Lorain City Schools finds itself is worthy of more.
People will lose their employment, programs cut, education disrupted. The situation warrants more than regurgitated ramblings from me. You see I cannot walk in that world at the moment I am figuratively emotionally on my knees.
” On your knees Lady Stuart – where you belong”
Jean Schaeffer uttered that line from Maxwell Anderson’s play, time and time again , as she was Elizabeth the 1st to my Mary Queen of Scots. Jean ( Elizabeth would bring Mary to her knees with every performance whilst bringing an audience to their feet.
I have not trodden the boards since Jean passed- there are many reasons and amongst them is the loss of desire to act and the missing of my mentor. Somehow without her presence to guide me , and guide me she did, whether she was involved in a production or not my desire has diminished to naught. I know in my heart of hearts I could give a credible performance but I would be on auto pilot going through the motions and that is what is happening at the moment with my “passion” – play of Lorain”
You go down on your knees for forgiveness, whether to your God of choice, your King , Queen , potentate , ruler . You go down on your knees to beg, to show respect, in some cultures to pray – other cultures require you to curl or prostrate yourself. Sometimes you are forced to your knees by evil, by the weight of the burden you carry. I watched my daughter fall to her knees hearing her brother was dying, we both ended up on a waiting room floor- on our knees- arms wrapped around each other clinging on to false hope , huddled in our misery and disbelief.
Knees – important things knees- I have fallen on my knees three times lately – twice due to loose gravel on the sidewalk acting like a roller skate – it is lucky my knees are padded. Last month I rolled my ankle and twisted my knee.
It hurts, really hurts and just as it starts to go from a sharp excruciating pain every time I walk to the dull ache- I am reinjured – Oh! it is my fault – I get down on my knees and to the floor to enter the world of a little boy – the magic of toys and stories played out on the playroom carpet, a myriad of worlds open to me guided by the imagination of a little boy. The pain is worth it and partially forgotten in that world of a child’s wonder.
These anniversary days of bringing one to ones knees…. You see when I found out that Angela (Marie Lombardi) Ritchey DO was not honoring her word to give Chris’s family their closure in our way – there was nothing I could do that day as I sat across from the funeral director. I read her words that filled me with disbelief that one who is supposed to be a healer could be so callous, cold and self-serving at such a time in a mother and fathers grief at losing their only son.
Oh! there was something I could have done , I could have fought her legally as to the breaking of a verbal contract and I would have except I was told she also could change her mind as to the cremation and her word was no longer to be trusted.- ( I am not sure she even realized she could have changed her mind – she had signed papers BUT she could have) and I couldn’t take a chance that the vindictive selfishness we were experiencing at the hands of her family would not flow over into having my son embalmed and buried – something that would have destroyed what was left of US. I know this is the way of the majority in this town but it is not our way and I am sorry again but I find the embalming ritual and all it means abhorrent and in my beliefs sacrilegious . . I would not presume to tell anyone how to deal with their dead but this is not our way -this fact was known to the Lombardis.
So from that dreadful Friday morning when cowardice,control and lack of compassion visited us from the Lombardi’s until the Monday morning – we waited terrified that my son’s body would go the way of the embalmer and the “Cadillac coffin” with a “great” seal to await for years the destruction by anaerobic bacteria.
the tight seal had let the anaerobic bacteria win the day, and the remains just… sloshed. It seems a great seal will turn us into soup
Sorry to be so graphic but that is what happens, like it or not and for us this is not to be borne – it would have sent me to my knees and I would never have been able to get up again to think of that happening to my son.
Chris on the night of sister’s wedding- one of the happiest nights of her life.
I just couldn’t let my son’s earthly remains become a toxic sludge locked in a silk lined coffin putrifying for decades, so I did nothing , said nothing until he was cremated .
I chose the lesser of the TWO EVILS
Those days 11-12- 13th of December were sheer torture but finally on the morning of my daughter’s wedding anniversary- the 14th we learned my son had been cremated. We breathed with relief that Angela and her “family” could no longer physically inflict the degradation of their “ritualistic belief” (not ours or Chris’s) on my son’s poor body – a body I formed and nurtured from my own .
As we heard the news Chris had been cremated that morning my 90-year-old mother fell to her knees with thanks . Oh! yes the grave continues to be marked by their insulting offerings of beer cans, vodka , cake and tacky tin yard ornaments
and they still fall on their knees every Sunday to pray
But the weight of grief at this time of good cheer is bringing me to my knees emotionally – this is what happens when closure is denied……..
and so I am writing from my parallel world and I am not sure when I will continue to series on LCS. However, please feel free to write your thoughts should you so desire on LCS I will be only too pleased to put them up – that I can do :) .