Posts tagged ‘Fathers’

Lorain Dudes- the Boys of Summer- Father’s Day 2013

Father’s Day in this family – is one of those bitter

chrischest2

http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/fathers-day-2011-time-passes/

and yet sweet anniversary days. Nikki’s father and my husband will be once more “missing” and missing memories that should have been.
nikki and dad

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”

jIM AND KIDS

These two noisy , rambunctious, full of the joie de vie , energetic, “run you ragged” gifts of pure love. They are always READY TO ROLL-
readyto roll

Hey Nog!!! that isn’t a pacifier -it is my “mouth guard :)

MUM- ERRRR I MAY HAVE SOME ‘SPLAININ TO DO
Braedyn Monkey  man

I THOUGHT YOU WANTED THE DRAPES DOWN AND I WASN’T TRYING TO ESCAPE… OK I’M BUSTED!!!!!

SHOPPING
WE SHOP TILL ‘YOU DROP


Daddy’s Little Helpers

we can help

The Water is fine- Nana come on in

splash collage

We love to share ( well sometimes)

sharingcollage

Dad took “ME” Fishing and helped build my first monster truck!

gavinjimcoll

Ahhhhhh BUT he showed “ME” how to Power Nap!

babysleep

fathersdayJim

June 14, 2013 at 11:40 am 4 comments

Dedication Ceremony- Eric Barnes – Heroes Walk-The coverage

Thanks to Joe Bock from Lorain City Schools Channel 20 who uploaded to You tube

Further update” More pictorial coverage from Mark Teleha

http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=1483

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

Photo Roger Brownson

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
http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=1435

Photos by Lisa Miller on the Lorain 365 Blog ( one of the Morning Journal Media Bloggers)also on her blog Busters House


http://bustershouse.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/scenes-from-eric-barnes-heroes-walk-dedication/

http://lorain365.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/veterans-day/

The thoughts and photos of Dan Brady- who designed the Commemorative Booklet – of Brady’s Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia
http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2012/11/eric-barnes-heroes-walk-dedication.html

Chronicle Telegram-

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.”

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2012/11/12/heroes-walk-memorial-trail-dedicated-on-veterans-day/

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.”

Photo Lisa Miller

As always click on photos to enlarge and thank you everyone who made this dedication memorable –

November 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm 13 comments

“Father’s Day” 2012 – garden of gifts- and undying love – Chris Ritchey

Father’s Day 2010 -2011
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/fathers-day-2010-ritchey/

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.
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/dec-4th-how-cold-is-cold-lombardi/

I didn’t feel like writing anything after that post of June 7th 2012 -
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/a-memory-of-vipers-chris-ritchey/
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.

The Touch- Chris Ritchey


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 are fairies in the bottom of the garden – thanks to a small boy with a love of all things mystical and magic.

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 a frog

who teases daily his dog- Misty

and of course a “ghost in the pond”!
http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/the-ghost-in-the-pond/

I cannot but give him the words of his son in his last note we received from him
a gift of love remembered :

June 17, 2012 at 10:43 am 1 comment

A Year passes ——–

Moon beams - Chris Ritchey


As revelers the world over celebrate 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.

Remembering a light lost- and a love that does not fade

-
GABRIEL MILLER a special moonbeam December 31-2009

December 31, 2010 at 3:34 am 4 comments

Long time passing- Gone to fighting – Part 6

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five


The last ship my father was on was a hospital ship in Belfast- my mother can’t remember the name – he didn’t have to start the ship or run it – he was there to survive . The injury from the HMS Speedwell caused an ulcerated stomach injury- the ulcer perforated. He was out of the action in 1945.

The day VE day was declared he was in Ireland with my mother- He was 27 years old and had lived through a world of carnage , my mother just 25 had seen more in her young life than most 25 year olds of today could even imagine in their wildest nightmares. Is it any wonder they are called the “Greatest Generation”.

How I wish I could talk to my father- my grandparents – the time wasted – the opportunities missed to talk…..HOW IN WISH I COULD TALK TO MY SON …… those of you that still can – do so !!!!!

My exploration of this tiny part of my son, Christopher’s, heritage made me realize where he got his strength from- because he was strong. He tried valiantly to fight his own private war with the obscenity that is Cancer.

I wish I had the strength I have rediscovered of my parents and grandparents- I always was proud of our heritage – the tenacity of will of my countryman and ancestors.

I was brought up to uphold those principles- but I am lost – the enemy he fought was not of flesh and bone but an enemy without a cause- even an unjust cause.

When my father died – my son purchased a pure white rose-bush and planted it at 5 am in the morning – the time corresponding to my fathers funeral in England that July day. Chris was 11 years old as he planted the bush he had chosen for his grandfather. He checked that rose-bush by the willow tree and garden wall and was incensed when it fell to “poison” by the overspreading of “Round Up” by the “landlord” and tenant next door in that dilapidated house.

Chris was in his teens by then- almost a man – he couldn’t understand the selfishness and control exercised by those that can. He was ready to hoist the landlord up on his own roof.

NOTE – on the old WoM I wrote about my father and Chris’ rose- bush- it seems a lifetime ago- and indeed it was-
An Old Cowboy

I know Chris wouldn’t understand or give countenance to the vindictiveness , destructiveness and pain caused to his own family by that of the extended Lombardi Clan.
<
Had they done what was right by his family part of him would have joined his grandfather -over the sea- and a new white rose-bush would have joined the one planted in perpetuity in that place of his ancestors.

Instead the place where they have locked his last worldly remains has become a place of tacky plastic decoration and they dishonor those that loved , formed and grieve for him as our own wonderful Chris.

Chris’ family , dishonored, by those of supposedly civilised and god fearing people –

the wars that continue throughout this world continue because of greed, a separation of ideology and people who wish to control – is this so different on the large-scale than the smaller. It is people

Yes, thanks to the Lombardis, their daughter, their family and in my opinion by their acts of greed, cruelty and control toward this family there is no peace.

I am being reassured that I knew my son as I continue this journey just as sure as I am his mother -

BUT thanks has to go to Dr. Angela Marie ( Lombardi) ritchey for starting me out on this quest for without her cruel words unasked for and unappreciated, without her deeds of deceit as mentioned in previous posts I would not be writing this series In search of my son in Search of me.

A mother understands what her child does NOT say

( an old Jewish proverb)

September 25, 2010 at 11:24 am 6 comments

Long Time Passing- Gone to Fighting- Part 5

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

There comes now a period of great confusion as far as time lines go. I do know that my father was transferred to a hospital as the injury suffered on the HMS Speedwell caused some major issues. Since he was off loaded to a hospital in Algiers and going by the HMS Speedwell’s timeline it was probably 1943. This ties in with the timeline of my father’s next ship the American built HMS Goodson-

My mum had been bombed in London and so was no longer at the Ministry of Information where she had been transferred early on in her job as a telephonist:

“I was to go to the “Ministry of Information, which was temporarily housed at Senate House , University of London, near Goodge Street. We had triple forms to fill out, swearing us to secrecy , never to divulge or talk about anything we might hear there.

Three of us would be required to man the emergency switchboard, which was housed in the basement of the building, this was called the War Room ……..


SOURCE

We used to be able to tell by the sound of the aircraft engine whether it was one of ours or one of the Germans. The whistle of the descending bombs and the explosions was terrifying. This night I did not hear the whistle , nothing, suddenly complete and utter silence. The bricks seemed to be crumbling and falling all around. I tried to hold onto to something, I only grabbed empty space. The air was filled with dust. I realized the house must have received a direct hit and the three people who were near me had disappeared. I tried calling – the silence eerie and shocking. I had bricks, wood and plaster all around me “was I going to be buried alive.”

This was the story of many of those young lovers, the men torpedoed , shot down , blown out of the sky knowing their loved ones at home were also facing the same .

My grandmother , my mum’s mother was living on the east coast.

“My mother was outside her little house on the lawn chopping up the kindling for the fire. Hearing the sounds of an aircraft overhead, thinking it was one of ours lifted her little axe and waved to the pilot only to find it was a bloody German who proceeded to strafe her. She came running in the house scared witless and it took precious brandy in the tea to restore her.

My fathers next ship after the was the HMS Goodson- and American built destroyer escort ship.

The ship was laid down as George on 20 May 1943 at the Boston Navy Yard, and named after Eugene Frank George, posthumously awarded the Navy Cross at Guadalcanal.

She was assigned to the United Kingdom under the lend-lease on 22 June 1943; launched on 8 July 1943; transferred to the United Kingdom on 9 October 1943; and commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Goodson.

During the remainder of World War II, she served on escort and patrol duty in the Atlantic and along the English coast. She supported the Allied Invasion of Europe at Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Damaged late in August by U-984 commanded by Heinz Sieder,

she was returned to the United States on 21 October. On 9 January 1947 she was sold to John Lee of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

My father also ended up in Belfast, but in 1945.

To be continued………..

September 22, 2010 at 11:15 am 1 comment

Long time passing- gone to fighting everyone- Part Three

HMS Vindictive

Part One

Part Two

HMS Vindictive :
The young couple was married June 17th- 1940 the day France fell.

“He was on leave from the Navy for 4 days. He phoned on the Sunday and we were to be married by special license in the little church on the Ridgeway , Mill Hill on the Monday.
What a day for a wedding France had surrendered and our guests were more concerned with the war news”
SOURCE
After the reception we left Roy’s home to “go away” Where? we had no idea.Uncle Jack had kindly lent us the Humber. As he stood at the door waving us off he said: “You look such a couple of kids no one will take you in” I was silent as we sped along the great North Way – this was June and the last time I had seen Roy was the previous Christmas when we became engaged”



Digging for Victory


After two days my father left his bride – she continued to work for the Ministry of Information and his new assignment found him gone for two years-

HMS Vindictive

July Deployed with Home Fleet at Scapa Flow.

August -Transferred to West Africa Command for support of escorts.
Passage to Freetown.

September -Deployed as Base Repair Ship at Freetown to December

1 9 4 1 Freetown support duty in continuation

1 9 4 2
January- Freetown deployment in continuation to September

October – Nominated for transfer to Oran for support duties after allied landings in North Africa (Operation TORCH)

November – Passage to Oran -Joined HM Destroyer Depot Ship HECLA escorted by HM Destroyers VENOMOUS and MARNE west of Gibraltar. (See HITLER’S U-BOAT WAR Volume 2)

12th Avoided torpedoes fired by U515. During a series of attacks HMS HECLA was hit by three torpedoes and sank with heavy loss of life.

HMS MARNE was seriously damaged after being hit by another torpedo.

My father was one of the young men deployed to repair the engines etc as they limped into Freetown .

I remember once in my flippant youth being a “know it all” about the war during my “Peacenik” days – my father was furious at my attitude. It was one of the rare times he spoke about his personal experiences.

I remember being shocked as he told me of the ship in the convoy being torpedoed- how it was dangerous to pick up survivors because of the U boats and your ship being lit up as a target in the flames. The men covered in oil and fire screaming in the water. He told me of how ( not being on duty) had been ordered to help the Dr. and medics with the wounded as they were brought on board. He was shown how to give the fatal dose of the drug. Those with no hope were triage to him and those without medical knowledge. He spent the last moments of men’s life with them – giving a cigarette and comfort to one chap who had no lower body , his blood stopped by the quarterizing of the fire he had been in. The smile remembered as he said “you ‘ll be home for Christmas mate” whilst giving him the shot that would end his nightmare. A 23-year-old who as my mother had written

“I guess half the charm of Roy was his inability to take anything too seriously . He laughed a lot and lived for the day only .”

Is it any wonder that the next time my mother saw her husband after that 2 year absence had aged beyond his 23 years?

” I imagined Roy would arrive with his hair bleached golden from the West African sun with beautifully tanned skin. When he stepped from the train I barely recognized him. His naval case was battered, he looked weary, tired and half frozen- I went to the nearest telephone box, where I stood like stone and inspected him without his knowing. I decided I just didn’t like him. He looked expectantly up and down the platform, blowing on his cold hands for warmth . Finally all the passengers disappeared over the bridge, there he stood alone and lost – looking- I reluctantly left the safety of the telephone box and walked toward him, his golden curls had turned grey and he had lost nearly thirty pounds since I had last seen him.

Roy was being directed to a new ship the HMS Bellona, for what waters or convoy he would be guarding we knew not……..

To be continued……………….

September 17, 2010 at 11:49 am 6 comments

Long time passing- gone to fighting everyone-Part Two

PART ONE

” Daddy’s on the engine……..”

Ships – my first ship ( transatlantic crossing) was very different – I can imagine- from my father’s first experience. She was a passenger vessel and we had left England for Canada. Being a wee one – mummy and daddy decided to be young and have a bit of a holiday whilst we sailed the ocean that November. They, in their wisdom , put me into the ship’s nursery. I remember being part of a whole group of children entering the nursery doors. I also remember looking around and thinking

This isn’t for me

so in the confusion of the next batch of incoming I slipped out.

I don’t know how long I explored the ship, finally ending up in the bowels to be found by a man with grease and grime on his overalls who sat with me on the stairwell as I chatted about my daddy and how he could make the ship go. I regaled him stories of my hero daddy and with the song
Daddy’s on the engine ( although I found out in later life it was about a train engine but at that time it was definitely the ships I had in mind!

“Daddy’s on the engine,
Don’t be afraid,
Daddy knows what he is doing,”
Said the little maid,
“We’ll soon be out of danger.
Don’t you ever fear;
Ev’ry one is safe because
My Daddy’s the Engineer.”

until some very stern officers followed by two angry but relieved parents escorted me back to the cabin, where I spent a lot of the rest of crossing.

It is difficult to believe that in 1938 a young man of 20 joined the Royal Navy. He met my mother at a dance

We were standing clapping waiting for the band to start up again; a chap , quite well built with terrifically strong looking shoulders and periwinkle blue eyes, with blonde hair, one curl of which had fallen across his forehead, caught my gaze. He came over, whisked and danced me to the other end of the room” My Book by Nana

Her young man passed his exams and he was soon sailing aboard the ‘HMS Southhampton ‘

Her battle honors can be found here
http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-06CL-Southampton.htm

However on October 16th 1939 a 19-year-old young woman working at the Ministry of Information watched as a report came through the tele type

HMS Southampton

her boyfriend’s ship

Damaged during air raid on warships in Forth Estuary.One bomb penetrated three decks. Casualties.


Note as I write this part of the story I have just watched on The military Channel ” The Man who Designed the Spitfire” again little life coincidences. The Spitfire first saw action on that October 16th 1939 protecting the Royal Navy and my Dad.

http://www.deltaweb.co.uk/spitfire/into_act.htm

On 16 October 1939, Junkers Ju-88s of 1/KG 30 led by Hauptmann Helmuth Pohle attacked British warships in the Firth of Forth. Nine of the Ju-88s were intercepted over Rosyth by three Spitfires of 603 Squadron, each of which attacked Pohle’s aircraft which was hit repeatedly and crashed into the sea

His brother who eventually lost both his legs as a Battle of Britain pilot flew spitfires. As a tiny child he would give me pennies to slip into the holes in his “tin legs” to keep me amused at family gatherings. At the end of the evening he would take off the “shoe” and I would be given my store of pennies.

HMS Southhampton had taken under my father’s care of the engines a King and Queen to Canada, searched for German ships, in the first days of the war including the battleship GNEISENAU,

patrolled the North sea, convoy duty to Malta and finally was torpedoed Jan 11th 1941 , too damaged to continue she was sunk by her own off the coast of Malta.
My father had left the ship by that time and was on his next ship

the HMS Vindictive…………

September 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm 4 comments

Long time passing- gone to fighting everyone


It is peculiar how one thing in your life segues into another. The series of “In search of my son- In search of me” would never have been written if it hadn’t been for the actions of my son’s wife and her family.

I would have after they had had their ceremonies and we had had our closure stopped writing this blog.

I would have closed the front page with a goodbye .

I would have grieved in private-

I would have walked the woods of his special place, watched the seasons change and mourned my son.

I would not have searched his artwork to hear his voice, I would not have doubted our relationship -

I would have slipped quietly into my non ending night.

That was not to be and in some respects the “Princess” opened up a whole other world.

Chris and his sister, Nikki - on the happiest night of her life

As readers know I started exploring who my son was , what made him- HIM.
I went on a “genes journey” and in that search I came across ancestors I hadn’t thought of and some of whom I didn’t know existed.

The other part of my life that probably wouldn’t have changed is my escape from grief, I still cannot pick up a book for reasons I will explain in another post. I can only watch certain television programs so that the triggers don’t happen as they are “debilitating” ( Chris trigger word)

I tend to watch HGTV and World at War ( as I know the outcome) on the Military Channel. I also try to see if my uncle’s and grandfather’s ( WW1) faces are ever pictured.

I was watching an episode the other day when they were showing a ship , the HMS Southampton as she steamed into New York Harbor on the Old King and Queens visit in 1939.

Frank Watson Wood (1862-1953).

Wait a minute! My father was the on that ship – He was the Engine Room Artificer Officer 1st Class . I remember him telling me of that trip.

But I bet like most of you when your parents talk of the good old days you didn’t pay much attention .

I called my mum and she came over and I asked her write down the ships my father was on from 1938 until 1945.

You always think of your parents as being “old” at least I did – it was only when my mum wrote “MY Book” a chronicle of her life to a certain point that I thought of my parents as being young . Chris actually designed the cover of that book.

I realised that my father was only 21 when he ran the engine room of that destroyer . 21 !!! years old…. ( some things never change do they the wars are always fought by the very young)

‘If Hitler could have been there for five minutes with me, he would have finished the war.

‘He would have realised that he has got to take every Englishman and twist him by the neck – otherwise he cannot win this war.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1307321/The-hell-beneath-inferno-As-bombs-fell-families-fled-underground-But-life-beneath-streets-squalid-nightmare-wasnt-safe.html#ixzz0y5eHRN5t


I have his medals hanging on the dining wall – well what is left of them
Apparently I used the box when I was little girl to collect caterpillars and some medals went to pin my dolls dresses that I used to make out of handkerchiefs.

I decided to do a little sleuthing on his ships and the where and when.
So mum and I started the internet search .

It was a poignant and sharing experience for both of us. I highly recommend a walk down memory lane with your parent - you will both gain from the experience.

I will share our afternoon in the next post.

Where have all the young men gone?

TO BE CONTINUED——–

September 12, 2010 at 4:50 pm 6 comments

Father’s Day 2010 – Chris Ritchey

Chris and his Dad

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.

I look at the pictures as each in turn entered his world.

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 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-

She only knew a tiny fraction of “Chris” – the husband for so short a time – but he was a son first and last.

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

June 18, 2010 at 10:46 am 5 comments

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