Posts filed under ‘Fathers’
The domain in the garden past the pond
is a place I don’t frequent- it was and is your father’s “area’ and like his basement not a place I care to go or for which to take responsibility. The Weeping Willow hid a lot of his sins- but that too had to go last spring.
I still kept to my end of the garden and closed my eyes to the time it was taking to get the garden back into some sort of order. The truth be told I no longer had the “energy to fight the blight” that is the male idea of “need.
But one day , late last summer , I could stand it no longer and I had to do “something’ to tidy up. I moved the wrought iron trellis which had been leaning up against the garden wall. I positioned the trellis by the side of the garage over the curve in the pathway by the boat. Hopefully this would hide the “boat” from my view, a job the Willow did so well. I took the grape vines that were in abundance and tied them up on to the trellis. Then, as I precariously stood upon the step-ladder, I turned toward the garage to tie in the next side of the trellis. My eyes became fixed , not really taking in what I was seeing – they saw where you had left your name in paint on the garage wall.
Unexpected, as it was, the effect was instantaneous I felt my knees buckle , my breath catch, and those eyes that have cried so many days and nights filled once more with tears. I was transported back from the present once again, in the memory of my mind, to another place and time where once again we walked, talked, hoped and waited in vain for a cure ………..no work of art ever touched me so profoundly as that signature .
Oh! the explanation is simple enough you were , that spring , helping your father to paint the side of the garage – but everything went wrong – cancer and chemo put paid to painting but not before you had taken a brush and used your energy to write your name in the old paintwork.
Your father told me that he couldn’t bring himself to paint over your name so there it has stayed these many , many months, unbeknownst to me, as I never venture past the pond if I can help it. .
I can still see the energy you used in the writing of your name , the pressure of the brush to wood, the adding of paint to the brush as you proclaimed “you were here at that time” .
Not being an artist or an art critic, I was always a little perplexed when I would hear ” the energy of the brushwork”- but here it was – not a Van Gogh or even a Boccioni http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umberto_Boccioni
or Julia Watkins https://www.facebook.com/pages/Energy-Artist-Julia-Watkins/69027658560
Just a young man on a warm spring day leaving his mark on the garage before he painted over it -something that never happened. Yet, seeing your name, left there these many months brought home once more how I much I still love you , a love that grows and doesn’t diminish , miss you, your laughter and your energy
My heart is in pieces and I miss you more than life itself………. and yes it is “Hard” harder than I ever thought possible to bear.
Gabriel’s Last Day by his mother- Lisa Miller
This post from Lisa is honestly and terribly beautiful in its torment and shows a mother’s love for her child- and how those that grieve try to walk upright- her last two paragraphs are ones that every mother who has lost has experienced …
As I walked through the automatic doors of the CICU [cardiac intensive care unit] for the last time, the hallway appeared to stretch itself out before me, becoming endless. I stood up a little straighter and set out to make that endless walk through the hospital and across the street to the safety of our room without completely losing it in front of everyone along the way. Little did I know then what good practice that was going be for my new future.
* * * *
It has taken me four years to tell you the story of Gabriel’s last day. I remember every moment of his final two weeks in the hospital – and especially his death – as if it just happened. His death literally took my words away and society reinforced my silence as a condition of being allowed into the land of the living. After all, the grieving are so much easier to deal with when they keep their sorrow to themselves.
I was reminded of that by a relative on Christmas Day this year. His boisterous “Merry Christmas!” greeting to me was met with as much of a smile as I could muster and I said “Something like that. Thanks, same to you.” He quickly responded “Well, this is a happy holiday for everyone else.” I sarcastically thanked him for that friendly reminder and went on to endure being a spectator to the festivities (again) and being reminded at every turn who was missing (still). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year indeed.
Gabriel’s smile was bestowed for a just a briefness of time , but it remains in the hearts of his mummy and daddy . They, in turn, share with us a small smile sparkling in the darkness, given to those that pass a certain spot where a tiny tree brings light for just a little …… remembering the child of light …………
As this year passes once more it is a reminder there is a missing moonbeam, whose silvery light is lost to our world but the spark that flared into a flame of love brighter than any ray of the sun continues to burn in the hearts of those that loved their moon beam and basked in the light of his smile
December 31st with song, laughter,food, fireworks and noise makers they will not notice a small light is no longer shining this year.
But in a home in Lorain, a mother and father dread this New Years Eve, they will not celebrate because all the fireworks, lights in the sky cannot make up for the “light they lost” – their precious moonbeam -who shone so brightly for just a little while and radiated such love and truth as to shame the dark.
December 19th- As I type this morning, once again watching the sunrise over the twinkling lights of the neighbors Christmas decorations lighting the now bare branches of the cherry tree, I am reminded of another December 19th. The day the Lombardis , your bride Angela http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147 , the Vykas , Gonzales, Zaworskis and Gotts and Father Divas took you my son, to their “family plot” without your kith or kin .
It was an act ( in my view) of pure selfishness,vindictiveness and without pity.
“Your name was RITCHEY , NOT – Lombardi , Vyka , Gonzales, Gott or Zaworski . You were taken to their faith and their closure, denying your family even the “time of your interment in their selfishness.”
As someone said
“it is like Chris’ family didn’t exist”
That day, just a week before the celebration of Christmas, a day of celebration, where they dress in their finest, attend a church and profess to their God they are worthy of taking Him and His Son into their hearts. They celebrate the “Mother of their Church “
http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20091221/mary-mother-of-god-begins-anew but have taken- seemingly without a thought to the consequences of such an act, of inflicting further pain to another mother.
The Memorialization by Bereaved Parents Project- gave me a chance not only to share my son, his story and to realize I was not alone – there were others who walked the path who needed……….
Memorialization by Bereaved Parents
The death of a child is a devastating loss that has a profound impact on parents and a families . Prior research has found that maintaining /continuing bonds with deceased children is common and can be very beneficial.
This project sought to understand how bereaved parents maintain such bonds through memorializing their children as well as the meaning they find in doing so. Participants were asked to provide photographs that depict how they memorialize and remember their children thus allowing participants to provide the visual images of their choosing that capture unique aspects of their experience……….
Their children died from a variety of causes , including illness, accident , murder and unknown causes. All of the participants are female and are diverse in terms of age ethnicity, religious/spiritual beliefs and sexual orientation.
These mothers , including myself , all have the need to remember “out loud” in their own way; whether it is leaving tokens of love at the last tangible place on this earth that holds their child, a special place to go and reflect or call out to the silence “WHY” ?
The need to have their son or daughter remembered for a life that was lived, no matter how brief . The need to have a repository , if you will, of the love that was for that son or daughter that was theirs alone. A love that still flows from a mothers heart , seeking the child for which it was meant.
When the Lombardis, your bride and the “creatures of control” took you away into that place of deceit and cowardice – for not one had the strength to speak of “pity” for your family. The death of human kindness on that day led to the birth of my own memorial. A place where I revisit your life, your story and I can cry my tears and shout WHY? to the morning sunrise. I can remember you and let your art speak ….
I have only words to describe , it is a terrible thing to live out your life without the laughter of your son , incommunicable to those who have not felt this grief’s slashing ferocity. Words are inadequate………
Dr. Joanne Cacciatore http://www.drjoanne.blogspot.com/ and of the MISS Foundation
spoke recently of a woman Käthe Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945)
“I will never forget the first moment I saw her work. I felt something inside me stir. It was a connection to the abyss, to the darkness of grief- I knew Kollwitz had seen something that I had also seen. I felt she, too, was a keeper of the dark secrets.
Kollwitz birthed art of the soul, from the depths of traumatic grief so frightening that few dare allow themselves to really see it. During WWII, her art (perceived accurately as anti-war) was banned by Hitler. She witnessed, first hand, the horrors of war and lost far too much because of it: Her grandson, named Peter after her dead son, lost his life in war too.
Look at her work. I mean, really look at it. “
ED NOTE: Kollwitz’s work can be raw and full of truths it can scream the most primordial scream and does
She wrote of her son:
[I] made a drawing: the mother letting her dead son
slide into her arms.
I might make a hundred such drawings
and yet I do not get any closer to him.
I am seeking him.
As if I had to find him in my work.
And yet everything I do is so childishly foolish and inadequate…
I am shattered, weakened, drained by tears…
Yet new flowers have grown up which would not have grown
without the tears shed this year.
Men do not know the souls of one another.
Only the galley slaves know one another,
who side by side are chained, and gasp for breath.
Father’s Day in this family – is one of those bitter
But his daughter has given him, her father, two special gifts and also given them to the special man in her life and in so doing the gifts of “Father’s Day”
Hey Nog!!! that isn’t a pacifier -it is my “mouth guard
I THOUGHT YOU WANTED THE DRAPES DOWN AND I WASN’T TRYING TO ESCAPE… OK I’M BUSTED!!!!!
The Water is fine- Nana come on in
We love to share ( well sometimes)
Dad took “ME” Fishing and helped build my first monster truck!
Ahhhhhh BUT he showed “ME” how to Power Nap!
This should have been a post about the before and after of the Eric Barnes’ – Heroes Walk. Instead I once again am reduced to blinding tears. Misty , who some of you know used to be my guest blogger from time to time ,
who literally saved my husband from himself, grief of such depths from which only she could rouse him.
She was fine yesterday morning , she did her rounds chased a couple of pussycats before her breakfast , sat out on the balcony in the sunshine surveying her territory. It was late afternoon when my husband said –
“something is wrong with Misty she had slowed way down
Could it be she had eaten something ? Had she been eating Tetley’s food again ? Maybe she need to have a walk to get the juices flowing. Even the word “walk” which used to send her in a frenzy of
YES! YES! YES! YES! ME! ME! ME!
tail wagging and jumping behaviour was only 40 percent of normal. They left for their walk and I went to a function with my grandsons.
When I returned home both Misty and my husband were not doing well-
Something is definitely wrong- Do you think she could have been poisoned?
Her symptoms were more of “bloat” but she didn’t seem to have a distended stomach- the decision was made we went to the Emergency Animal Clinic -
Misty’s large and loving heart was surrounded by blood- there was a tumour and somehow I gathered from the vet – to be perfectly honest I couldn’t really tell you what he was saying – his mouth was moving but I heard those words 60 per cent chance the tumour was cancerous and I was immediately transported to another waiting room in another time I couldn’t hear anything . The nurse came in it was now about 11 p.m. with my daughter, whose eyes too were red and crying.
What I did gather, as we waited, all three of us now awash with tears – this tumour had caused the bleeding around the heart – a bit like an aneurism. Pericardial Effusion
So once again a decision to say goodbye to a life – one that had given us so much in her short time here – who had mourned with us- kept us close and safe. Misty is no longer here this morning to chase her squirrels and terrorize the feral cats or hunt the forbidden frogs. She, like her master before her, will not feel the Christmas snow .
Oh Misty Morn …………………………
Thanks to Joe Bock from Lorain City Schools Channel 20 who uploaded to You tube
UPDATE: further coverage on the LCS Channel 20 and from their face book page http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.405441606191922.93572.147298438672908&type=1
The sun warmed the earth and air the young people of Lorain High School Marching Band and the Lorain High JROTC, the representatives from the United States Marine Corps, The United States Army, Unites States Air force, the United States Navy warmed hearts. It was a morning of tribute to the young by the young as they stood proudly honoring the young men who gave their lives- the ultimate sacrifice.
The coverage for the dedication can be found in the following links . The area media also has to have our heart-felt thanks, their coverage of the project as it progressed reached out and their readers sent in donations. Without such generosity the project would have been “less”.
This is phase one of the walkway more to come.
In the meantime please view the videos of the morning taken by Mark Teleha of Lorain County Photographers Blog
Photos by Lisa Miller on the Lorain 365 Blog ( one of the Morning Journal Media Bloggers)also on her blog Busters House
The thoughts and photos of Dan Brady- who designed the Commemorative Booklet – of Brady’s Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia
Heroes Walk memorial trail dedicated on Veterans Day filed by Evan Goodenow –
“They share pain from a loss that will never go away and belong to a club that no one wants to be part of.”
Morning Journal Photo Jason Henery
Heroes Walk: Pathway dedicated to fallen soldiers by Jason Henery
I’m going to donate my time to make it nice,” Torres said of the park. “I’m glad for my city to appreciate the sacrifice my son made.”
As always click on photos to enlarge and thank you everyone who made this dedication memorable –
Father’s Day 2010 -2011
and out of a self-righteous, sanctimonious, self-serving spite he was punished two fold- he lost his son – those not of his blood took his closure – his chance to say goodbye and they dishonored Chris’ father – this kind quiet gentle man who never hurt or did anyone any harm in his whole life.
Punished by “control”
These “anniversary days” are so hard and yet I know my son would not have wanted them to go by without a mention. June the 7th another memory - one I wished had not happened - the pain that day eventually caused this family cannot be erased .
After posting the latest June 7th 2012 piece I went into the “black hole” – the worthlessness of that wedding day which legally enabled selfish control makes my stomach turn. I have to hold onto what my mum says :
Chris at least had a wedding day – and maybe not much of a married life but he had one and he got to experience life and in-laws
Experiencing the “in -laws’
(ED Note- pity about experiencing the Lombardis and co and more is the pity WE have had to experience them.) If there ever was justice one day the father of the clan Tim Lombardi should know what it is like to walk in the shoes he “designed” for Chris’s father.
I didn’t feel like writing anything after that post of June 7th 2012 -
I always wonder when this blog will finally finish, you see I have no notion of when I will publicize the last post.
My emotional world is disabled – I am crippled. It takes so much to bring me back from lethargy, bitterness toward those of “self” and the futility that permeates my world where for the most part-time has stopped and only a little happiness and laughter finds its way through the maze of grief. Then a shake of the head with disbelief or to be roused from the depths through anger or the need to help as the phone rings , an email sent and the need to “journal” has brought back into being this blog again.
Father’s Day 2012 – Nikki and I cannot give Chris’s father the gift he most desires- no one can- I cannot turn back time and stop it at a place where his son was well and healthy and even if I could the joys of grand children would then be denied. I can only give him the memories of his son and remind him of his “undying love”.
There is a fountain of love – carried in on a June day 2008 by a young man with hope as a thank you for all we had done –
and of course a “ghost in the pond”!
My lovely Uncle John managed to make it to 100 years old…..
however it was the cake that nearly “off’d “ them all, as his son Terry wrote to my mum :
I thought I would you some photos of Dad’s birthday , together with a piece of the cake.
You’re lucky to get anything at all, when we set it on fire it went up like a dry bonfire. Quite a surprise, set off all the fire alarms and the heat was terrific. The candles melted all over the cake as did the roof of the model car. We had to put it out quickly and remove some of the burnt candles , that’s why some of the candles are missing in the closeup of the cake.
Dad thought the whole thing was hilarious, which it was. Despite the heat Dad managed to blow out most of the candles. Andy, Nicol and I managed to put the rest of the fire out. Only slight damage to the cake itself. However that model car will never look right again .
Glad you had a Happy Birthday Uncle John – sounds like you had a “flaming good time”/
I have reprised the post I wrote last year- because “nothing has changed” - the pain hasn’t lessened of losing Chris- we have not had our closure- our goodbye- the wound is still raw and bleeds – It is an injury only known to those that have lost their son- their child- their reason for being
The anger at the Lombardis and the control of 19 and Angela ritchey DO is still there because their deeds like death are still there. You don’t get over deceit, greed and selfishness easily when it is combined with the death of your son.
But by the same token love does not diminish either and this year another ride into the wilderness on the 4 wheeler remembering his son…………
“This is a man who may stumble and fall but this is a man who tries”
(paraphrasing King and I)
This is very difficult piece for me to write, I want to pay homage to the man, the father of my children, without touching on the boiling . raging white-hot , beneath the surface anger I am feeling towards those that have hurt and robbed him of his peace.
I am not sure if I can do that considering I am a “writer who writes through my emotions and life experiences.”
What I see this week leading up to Father’s Day is a man aging beyond his years, his face creased with pain , scarred by loss and bewilderment , hair that was turning silvery now shot with white. Shoulders that were broad and held his children aloft at parades and festivals now bowed with the great weight of worry re the cancer and compounded by the grief he now carries. He is changed -this man- this father.
He was the quiet parent, never the disciplinarian and the few times he would try to raise his voice to naughtiness his efforts were met with giggles and mock contrition. He never spanked and always put both his children before anything and anyone else.
He seemed too young to be a father, but in actual fact was in his 30′s . We had been married 8 years before Nikki made her presence known- from that day forward this quiet and gentle man was there for his children , always in the picture and never taking center stage.
He was given a son , who was more like his mother in temperament , a temperament never quite understood by the husband but the father tried very hard to understand his son and his ways. He accepted the child, the boy, the man for who he was and was so proud of him.
He treated both children the same – always_ loved them both “intensely” .
Never one to be overt with showing his emotions or feelings he expressed his love by always putting them first. Every Sunday the Dad and his two pride and joys would go to McDonalds for breakfast- it was their special alone time and every Father’s Day Nikki and Chris would take him to McDonalds.
He “gave away his daughter” on a cold December day to the young man she had fallen in love with – however he could not hide his emotions that day – although filled with happiness for her he knew that life would never be the same as she left our home but not his heart. Both the bride and her father walked down the aisle with tears of joy and sadness.
He danced with his daughter at her wedding to the music of the pipes- The Skye Boat Song- ironically it was the tune I hummed and sang to Chris in his last hours- I didn’t realize that until I started writing and remembering .
He lost his son on another cold December day, not to happiness and a new life but to the finality of death. He stood wordless in that room of unbearable sorrow looking quietly out of the window to the street below. He had come to that hospital overcoming the phobia he had to be with me and his son. He, since his father died when he was 11, has had a morbid fear of hospitals. We all knew that and Chris knew that for his father to go to a hospital was never good news .
“As long as Dad doesn’t show I know everything is OK- it would take a crisis to get him back to the clinic.
So when the crisis came we kept him away so Chris wouldn’t worry and continue to fight.
For a couple of days he stayed just in the waiting room- he was there as my “emotional punching bag” - I called him back to the hospital just an hour after he had left. I was so tired , very little sleep in days , exhaustion and worry had taken their toll -the waiting room gypsies with their inane chatter becoming more and more a problem for me.
I told the father of Chris’ bride why my husband was coming back- I thought, stupidly, that he would recognize the distress being caused.- maybe he would do something. I told him
“he was coming back because I needed him to be my “emotional punching bag” as I had to be able to let go of my feelings” before I “let go ” period!
“You have to do whatever you feel you need to do to get you through “
I just sighed and said :
you should all be thankful he is coming back because I am not sure how much more I can take and continue to be polite’
Whether it went over his head or whether he is the type that only sees what he wants to see, or a gutless wonder – I don’t know – but he is one father that I will not be wishing has a great day after what he enabled his child to do to Chris’ father.
( ED Note: sorry I said it was going to be hard to suppress the anger)
I knew I couldn’t keep my tenuous hold on politeness much longer- I had to release the feelings building up and I knew Chris didn’t need me to vent at them-
just get through this and when Chris is OK we will talk.
Chris’ Dad spent the next days being my “sounding board – emotional punching bag” and keeping me together for Chris’ sake.
He would do anything for Chris including bearing the brunt of my pain as well as his. He too tried making the deals with God – take me not Chris – don’t punish Chris - etc. – I know -I heard him when he thought he was alone.
He lost his only son too- and out of a self-righteous, sanctimonious self-serving spite he was punished two fold- he lost his son – those not of his blood took his closure - his chance to say goodbye and they dishonored Chris’ father – this kind quiet gentle man who never hurt or did anyone any harm in his whole life.
Punished by “control”
He chokes now on emotions that overwhelm him at times , feelings he can’t express , a wound that does not heal. His Drs. ,in sympathy, worry about his condition and the heart they repaired that is breaking but their medicine cannot help or cure.
Every morning , as I make the bed, I adjust the last picture taken of him and his son that sits on the bedside table , each morning it is turned toward the pillow where he tries to find a relief in sleep and fails, eyes fixed upon a photograph. remembering his son.
Last year Chris planned a Father’s Day weekend for this weekend- four wheeling in West Virgina- even that was tried to be taken from him (imho) out of calculated greed ( more on that aspect another time).
He too received a note in his dead son’s clothes- one he never saw – one he will never see – gone into the flames to protect what is left to him of his son. I couldn’t do much to ease his grief but I certainly was not going to have it added to by the “thoughts of conceit by one who claims to have known his son” – She didn’t !-
She only knew a tiny fraction of “Chris” – the husband for so short a time – but he was a son first and last.
She wasn’t there at his birth, through his 3 am feedings, his first smile, his first steps, his first words, all the years of school and sports, and Sunday breakfasts, the tears and picking him up when he fell , the successes, the days of big wheels, riding a bike, the day the bike was stolen, karate, soccer, camping in the back yard, riding a camel in Morocco, playing “catch me if you can” in a hallway at Windsor castle, learning to swim , to fish , to pull a bow, shoot, sharing lobster rolls at the Piping college Prince Edward Island, racing down the ski slopes in Vermont, learning to drive, the talks under starry skies, a man and his son exploring life’s adventures together-
So this father , who continues to stumble and bleed for his son will go on the trip , taking the four wheeler still caked with mud from Chris’ last ride and with him will be a silent rider that is carried in his heart and soul- HIS SON
Christopher David RITCHEY