Jan 3rd- No Limits- the foreword- Chris Ritchey

I  start another decade, recent months have been very  hard, some of the situations I  have blogged about some may  not ever come to  light on this blog. I am waiting … I have spent most of December deciding on how to  proceed . I am definitely  going to  “try  and finish” the book NO LIMITS as it pertains to  my  son. Although 10 ish chapters have already  been written I have had to  decide how to  proceed. I have made the decision to not only  publish in paperback form  eventually  but I may start serializing  each month on this blog. Here for your edification ( readers who still bear with me ) is the foreword  of NO LIMITS!!!!!!


By Loraine Ritchey

“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “

Foreword- NO LIMITS

Brave words from my son, Christopher, on a fall day, his 4th year at Cleveland Institute of Art. I had met him for a meal in Tremont, Ohio. He was so very angry, one of his projects had met with resistance and indeed censorship. His anger and frustration spilled out:

Why were his thoughts not being accepted in a very community that accepts so much more than the general population? Why would he be censored in the very open environment of an art college where nothing it seemed was untouchable?

After all, his fellow students went outside so many politically incorrect boundaries. Had he gone past where even those of his peers were feared to go? Had he come up against the self-imposed limits of a society of his peers?

I never did find out what the project was that caused the censorship and his anger that day. In true Christopher fashion, he changed his project to another, an “Anti-Political Correctness Campaign– complete with displays and posters He used the situation to “speak out” and “show” those who believed themselves to be followers of the out of the box thinking, they were still inside a box, even if the box they had made was larger than most, their walls maybe be transparent yet there were and are walls.


freedom of speech by Chris Ritchey

As I ponder the wisdom of writing the events of life ans we know it and death as we believe it to be, I know there will be questions I cannot answer, events I cannot prove.

I am opening myself, my family and my son to a world of naysayers, negativity and ridicule. I will reach the walls with this book. I will push aside and through the walls my peers in this “community”  and others have erected for themselves and for me.

Ironically although  I have always written the truth whenever I have sat at this keyboard and its predecessors I probably   won’t be believed , explanations will abound, logic ( as we perceive things to happen)will come into play .

I have hesitated for months, even years, to tell the story from my self-imposed box. I have written millions of words on my personal blog in the 10 years since my son died. https://www.thatwoman.wordpress.com . I have written his story, I have opened myself and my innermost thoughts and feelings. I have told the tale of cruelty, searing pain and thoughts of suicide. I have exposed myself in ways not many would without fear. So then, why is it I hesitate to share all of our story, a story of continuing love, strength and astonishment?

What could be so dangerous in opening up a world of hurt to my loved ones? Why would a love that continues cause such angst and trepidation in those of my society?

Society? Oh they can’t hurt me, I am beyond their pain, their laughter The sound of laughter to one who rarely laughs is just pleasant echo of what once was. There should be laughter in the world, I do not begrudge laughter or being the source of humor. The disbelief , I don’t care whether they believe or what they believe, so many believe so many different things, worship so many gods, those slings and arrows will not penetrate my being there is an armor in “knowing” The insults and negativity that will come as the story unfolds will bring the comments-

Why not my loved one? Why them? It is the grief, she wants money, she wants her five minutes of fame, and she always was strange. , needs medication, exploiting her son. They are just consumed with grief, hallucinating.

Yes! I can hear those raucous voices, tinged with the cynicism, of organized religion or lack of religious beliefs. So why martyr my family on the pyre of society? Why open this family to those who would wound?

I HAVE to document what happened to this family and my son, for the sake of my daughter, grandsons and future generations. I have be brave, as my son was brave. I need to tell this story of a mother’s nightmare, of a love that reaches through the barriers of disbelief, of hope. I have the need to document and yet there is a fear my son will once again be negated in death as he was in life by those of “beliefs”.

Every night I see one of my son’s “projects’ from his graphic design course as it hangs framed upon the bedroom wall. It was a small project

Take three words and make the visual connection. Timid- Confidence, Aggressive- coupled with Past, Present and Future to tell a story.


It is the “future” graphic which nags at me, his future was not to be. The cartoon character of a snow boarder explaining his future and the word “aggressive”. I looked at the artwork through tears for weeks as it hung, along with other projects, on the wall. It wasn’t until I looked very carefully one day whilst dusting; I noticed written faintly on the bottom of the snowboard “No limits” and yet I too, have limited the truth by omitting a truth from my writings on my blog..

It is time to  tell the story  so long in waiting no matter the consequences….

To be continued … Chapter  One 

January 2, 2020 at 11:32 pm 2 comments

Dec 3rd – TIME of our Life- Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Every  3rd of the month I write a tribute to you   my  son , I  have  written , apart from the other memories of your passing  over 120 posts. I write to  release the pain that builds, to  take the thoughts out of my  mind and put them on paper, or in this case on this blog. If I didn’t they  would consume me more than they  do  and I  would not get any  relief. The tears I  shed as I  write drop  onto the desk  and over these many  months the varnish  has all but gone  – a surface worn away  by  my  tears.


Other self by Chris Ritchey

How can that be possible? How have 10  years passed? How can that be?  You  see for most of my  nights and days I am back in time , to  a time where life and death  and selfishness have trapped me, and not only  me  your father is on this same journey. I dream of you  but you  always have cancer and I  am always searching for a cure or help, then I  wake  there is a moment of relief that it was just a dream and then I  realize  I  have woken to  my  nightmare, there was no  cure no  help… I  am in reality……………..

The diagnostic box- self- portrait Chris Ritchey

I am reminded of H.G. Wells and The Time Machine , I feel like the lead character sitting in that machine , only the lever is not controlled by  me but by  a profound grief, that is stronger than any  will of mine.   I  sit in place in my  own device  as I  watch the world around me go from the future to  the present.

photo -self -Chris Ritchey

Every now and then I leave the machine of grief and experience the world of the present, happiness comes , anger comes, passion – very  rarely, duty to  others is limited and they  are the ones I  hold most dear. That is why  although  it is now 10 years this December 3rd. since I last saw  your face, kissed your cheek,  held your hand and lost ME. No  longer Loraine, but a facsimile   who left this place when you  did . The unbearable is borne  tempered by  love of your family , sisters, nephews  brother in law and father. Deep breaths  and the conscious and sub-conscience  effort by  the brain to  hold back the excruciating  emotions that wrack the physical body.

Anger at those that through  hypocrisy  and selfishness ( Tim Sue Lombardi, Angela (Lombardi – Ritchey) and now Murphy – and their family  and church ( Father Daniel  Divas  whose wickedness ( in my  opinion)  perpetuated  and took whatever compassion with  them in their  act of callousness. not to  be forgiven- then or now  





but that same anger also  has kept me upright.


The 10th  anniversary marked by   the yearly  posts of December 3rd  and as the new year dawns once again to  finally  finish  the book- NO LIMITS.

Starting a new chapter both  literally  and figuratively  -not the regurgitating of posts- but of your life and presence in the present………..

The Touch- Chris Ritchey

Your words ring through  my  mind  and indeed is part of the forward in the book

“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “

freedom of speech by Chris Ritchey











My  time here in this world  grows shorter as the days continue – I have to  finish this book and publish – as “truth  is definitely  the daughter of time” and time is running out…… I  love you  and miss you  every  moment of these days  and oh so long nights  no matter the  year I find myself existing……


December 2, 2019 at 11:01 pm Leave a comment

Nov 3rd – Museum of the Heart- Chris Ritchey

This is an old house, and I  am getting old.

I am comfortable in this house because it reminds me of the homes of my  family, the people  I loved with  whom I  shared my  early  years  growing up in England.

The fringes on lampshades , large cabbage roses in a vase on the table and on the walls and bedspreads.

Then there was always chintz in the old cottages and especially  in my  grandmothers’ abodes, the wealthy  one especially, along with  velvet winter drapes , changed to  chintz in the spring  I always thought of her living room with  silks and overstuffed furniture, brass reflecting the firelight as a bit of an Aladdin’s cave. Yes! due to  drafts and no  central heating drapes and curtain were changed out from spring and autumn. I  used to  do  that in my  younger days, slipcovers going over the couch  etc. when summer arrived.

When my  mother had to  leave her home in England , she brought with  her  the things she loved. When she finally  had to  move in with us


We had to  clear away  a lot of things  – six rooms  did not go  into  the two  rooms we were able to  give her.


Still some of the items she could not bear to  give or throw away. Those items that didn’t fit into  her new living space had to  be introduced to  the rest of my  house.

One of the reasons I  have two  antique cocktail cabinets, one a wedding present from my  parents and one my  father made.

A couple of years ago I featured in a magazine, Pulse.

The writer/photographer came to  interview and as she went through  the house she exclaimed

OH this is like a museum!!!

To tell the truth  I  was a little taken aback.

No!.this was my  home, yes some of the things are antiques  having come down through  family, probably  not worth  a lot but you  would find them in most “cottagey type homes” in England.






( Horse Brasses, warming pans , brass or copper kettles and fire fenders ( very  useful)

Some things are old not antiques just remembrances of holidays, gifts through  the years. Then there are the things my  children made or purchased for my  birthdays , Mother’s Day  etc. and finally  your artwork Chris. You  work hangs along side , pride of place on the walls  with  the portrait of the old lady  –  circa 1785,

and paintings and water colours from your great – great grandfather  and great great uncle.

Fairyland painting by Jack Stokes

Oil by  Jack Henry Stringer


Nana’s needlework pictures . These are things I love and live with  and yes! use everyday and try  to dust at least once a week……….. .

Today , as I  was thinking about this old house and a “museum piece” I realized that although  a few years ago I  had decided to  de- clutter- out with the old…..life got in the way  and your dying – leaving me just your work ,

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey


and then my  mum having to  spend her last years here and all the things she loved coming with  her,. Artwork and items made by  my  father came with  her. The little gifts from Braedyn and Gavin, Nikki I  realized in some way  it is a museum – this old housea museum of my  heart.

I love you  more each  day  that passes and I am as proud of you  as I  ever was…. you  are still in my  heart and home…………

Reaching out- art work- Christopher Ritchey

November 3, 2019 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

How does your garden grow? Part Three


Part One – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/08/18/how-does-your-garden-grow-part-one/

Part Two – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/how-does-your-garden-grow-part-two/

I  haven’t had much  time for “writing” ,what little time I  have had has been trying to  get the ponds and the garden winterized.  The large pond that had to  be Heron proofed needed to  have all the floating vegetation taken out . This meant all those water hyacinths and water lettuce  had to  be removed. They  had protected the fish  from the evil eyes of the Heron, denying them breakfast, lunch  and dinner.


The pots and shrubs , such  as the raspberry  bushes  that had seeded themselves around the edges had to  be taken out before their roots compromised the liner.

They have done their job of denying the Heron a place to  land  The Yellow Water Iris cut back. This was all done because  the frost would blacken and kill the plants in the pond and cause toxicity  as they  decayed.

The water is crystal clear thanks to  three pumps and an aeriator , clear enough to  be seen by  those high  flying angels of death  to  my  fish . I  am crossing my  fingers they  are “fishing elsewhere”.

I was surprised after losing half of my  fish  to  the Heron some must have still managed to  procrerate. In the clear water I  saw at least 4 tiny  black  fry and three larger fish  that had turned to  gold/orange. So life goes on in the pond.

My Mothers Day   Ghost Koi  present from Chris 10  years ago  continues to  remain the King of the Pond.


The one thing I was pleased with  was the fact that I  was able to  pick some of the wildflowers (  that are still blooming) this autumn bringing memories of those two  little boys sewing the seeds with  abandon.


My  mother’s balcony, this time last year, got the minimum of clearing away. I  threw away  most of the smaller pots but never got around to clearing out the dead petunias and pansies.

With  all that happened in Jan/Feb/March  and April with  health issues and hospitals I didn’t do  anything on the balcony  apart from placing  a pot of pansies  in remembrance of my  mum. I certainly  didn’t have the energy to  plant up  the remaining window boxes and plant stands.

I was amazed  when I  went to  put out the seat cushions the Petunias, yellow Daisy types flowers  and Pansies had come back from the previous year.

Well, I  was flummoxed , February’s winds and temperatures had seen us losing  the ornamental plum and lilac bush  that were well established. How could such  delicate petunias and annuals have managed to not only  survive but to  flower beautifully  in abundance ? Once again the answer came not from the supernatural but from Monty  Don. https://montydon.com/

Apparently  my  2nd floor  balcony  faces south and the house has protected the pots and plants from the winter winds , coupled with  the fact the frost stays lower down and the fact I didn’t have the energy  to  dump  out all the pots before the winter as had been done in previous years.  I  have left the boxes and the grasses that also  survived . Weeds they  might be but I  did notice the birds had  a lovely  time eating the seeds all winter. In fact I  left one window box to  the birds

The hedges  clipped beautifully  by  my  neighbor has become a sort of Hotel for nesting pairs of Morning Doves, Cardinals, and dozens of sparrows.


On the other side of the garden where the hedge remained unclipped and left to  blossom  attracted bees  both  solitary https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/solitary-bees.html and honey.    In fact with  the birds coming in to  drink and bathe  in the water fountain that area was very  “busy” all spring and summer

All in all with  just having the grass cut  and the goodness of heart by  my neighbor in cutting back  the hedge , grandchildren planting wildflowers and sunflowers, the garden ,considering our lack  of daily  maintenance  Mother Nature gave pleasure to  not only  the birds, bees and wildlife  but to  me as well. Fragrance of Lavender, Honeysuckle and Roses help to  soothe  the troubled mind and give some peace and energy  during some very rough  times this year

To be continued in the Spring! ( I  hope)

October 20, 2019 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

October 3rd- out of reach- Chris Ritchey


The brieftake a photo  of self  taking a photo  of self……….. and I found that classwork after you passed. I remember, I cried thinking  how at that moment in time  you  were captured on the other side of the window just out of my  reach. I feel that still that you  are just there , a shadow,  just out of my  reach ………..

I felt so  strongly  about the photo I  had it made into  blank cards. I used them to  thank  people for all they  had done after you died and I sent one , pouring out my  heart to  the Vatican . I  was so  confused as to  why  these “strong  faith based Catholics” (Lombardis) and their priest – Father Divas decided to  take from your family  any  semblance of  closure and peace…… I  wanted  clarification on how this was part of a faith  based on love and kindness not retribution and selfishness!


Well I  did receive a letter back which  was published on my  blog. Telling me to  forgive , well not likely  to  happen then or now , not “Catholic”  just “Celtic ”

BUT I remember thinking that somewhere in the archives and files of the Vatican is a letter of heartbreak  with  your artwork  – Just out of Reach– amongst all the millions of papers and prints and works of art.

I love you  my  son that has never gone away  and neither have the tears I cry and won’t  until you  are no  longer out of my  reach………..

October 2, 2019 at 10:10 pm 1 comment

How Does Your Garden Grow – Part Two



Well it has been a strange summer, incessant rain ( as I  remember it ) in June  and then sun , sun, sun and  now September  and I am sitting here on the 22nd of September in the air-conditioning  watching the trees and flowers wilt in the intense heat and sun shine.

I love September, usually because the warm days , cool nights and  some rain  give the flowers their last burst of colour. Not so   in the garden this year. The pots planted around the pond to  keep  out the dreaded  Blue Heron (  my  angel of death) look stringy  and awful. They  did their job but hid the water and fish  not only from the Heron but from me.

Before the Heron


After the Heron

The roses reacted to  the damp and wet and cold in June by getting black spot and another fungus which  meant cutting them back  and giving them medication. My  mini – orchard suffered, mostly  the cherry  trees  they  look decidedly  problematic. https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/yellowing_leaves_and_leaf_loss_reported_in_tart_cherries

There isn’t a lot I  can do  , not being young and agile enough to climb ladders and spray  and prune.  Needs must and my  energy  is used up inside the house at the moment. So  fingers crossed the trees are  strong enough to  survive. The towering Sycamore looked awful earlier on in the spring  with  its blight but after a few weeks regained her leaves and looks healthy enough, so  fingers crossed.

Although  the blossoms on the fruit trees were plentiful and gave much  pleasure to eye I  am afraid, the birds got the cherries ( I managed one  and it was delicious) I  also  managed one plum, a couple of apples and  two  pears . The peaches, although so  heavy   they  bent the branches , by  the time they were full and ripe disappeared overnight, squirrels played havoc and then the Puckwudgies. ( Groundhogs to  uninitiated  to  this blogger) crept under the fence from the blue house and had their fill, same with  the apples .  It was almost like the squirrels were working for the groundhogs!

I live in hope that next year I  can get at least some cherries and plums. The raspberries also  went the way  of the birds but they  also  kept the Heron from landing so it was a tradeoff.

Not all was frustrating , following Monty  Don’s advice https://montydon.com/ I  decided to  have the grandchildren scatter wildflower seeds and sunflower seeds in the unused garden. Apparently  weeds love good soil  but wildflowers  can thrive in poor soil and can out produce the weeds. Well why  not give it a try, I certainly  could not weed this year  and even getting the grass cut on the now double lot has been a chore. Happily,  the boys , took to  their task with gusto only the seeds were sprinkled with  great abandon, not paying any  heed  to  boundaries . Hence wildflowers popped up  everywhere even in the gravel .


And Yes the wildflowers did keep  the weeds at bay, this is part of the garden planted with  the wildflowers


and the missed part … the weeds


I  guess Monty  was right and so  since the wildflowers did their job of  keeping down the weeds and bringing in the bees and pollinators  they  will have an even bigger spot in the garden…………. to  be continued


September 22, 2019 at 11:20 pm 1 comment


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