Dec 3rd- crumbling walls- Chris Ritchey

Although  I  write about you  every  3rd day  of every  month as a way  to  release my  grief, love of you and so  you  are not forgotten, December 3rd is looming. The dying days that start at Thanksgiving – the day  I sat alone in the waiting room as you  were put on the vent.  I  relive that day  and that intensive care waiting room  every  year  dreading I won’t be able to  hold myself together amidst all the joy  of turkey , pumpkins, pies and laughter.

The circus that ensued  that terrible Thanksgiving Day  at the Cleveland Clinic thanks to “those others” (Lombardi)  who  finally  came to “wait”, share  dry  turkey  and cold mashed potatoes and discuss recipes whilst you  were fighting for your life  sickens me still. I  could never understand their reactions of party hearty   , picnic time- it is a wonder they  didn’t bring celebratory  wine. Respect and kindness to  your family as we tried to  deal with the losing of you   certainly  wasn’t on their menu .

artwork Chris Ritchey

It starts with  Thanksgiving  , the defense walls are reinforced , more to  protect others from the volatile emotions that are churning within me. They  deserve and need their happiness, they need not be reminded of dying days. I so  wish I  was  strong, I  am not.

These days leading up  to  the day  you  died leave me , even after the years of trying to  train myself to  avoid the trigger moments, weak and bereft of control.  I had a relative who  used to  take to  their bed when there were situations they  couldn’t handle. There is no  respite for me  there in amongst the down pillows. I lay  awake fighting down the  emotional agony  of remembrance of those days .Finally  exhaustion will bring sleep  but the mind  continues and all the building of walls to  keep my  emotions and thoughts in check are breached. Down pillows  become wet with tears.

Honestly  I  don’t know how my  heart has kept beating, there are times choking back sobs I can’t breathe.  but your  beautiful sister and two  little boys  whose excitement  at the season acts as an antidote  enabling me once again to bear the unbearable.

 

Your Chris Miss presents to  Gavin and Braedyn will once again be delivered  and I will reinforce the walls ….. I love and miss you  every  day  but  December 3rd will find the walls tumbled into  nothing and I will hide from the world until I  can function again.

Artwork Chris Ritchey

“Heartbreak is a heavy  burden to carry as a soul weakens”  I  love you  Chris

December 3, 2018 at 12:29 am 1 comment

Not forgotten- a reminder- and a Victory -Lorain

Photo Dan Brady

The lines of communication were broken and entangled, opinions of just what is “historic” and what is not – were bogged down in who  “remembered ” and who  forgot, who  said what and who  did what.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/11/10/lest-we-forget-lorain-administration-forgot/

A battle commenced in the hearts of those that not only  have loved the “Dark Angel”, Miss Victory, Lorain’s Angel, whatever name she was known by.   People rallied , historians, writers, council people who  had voted NO to  the sale of her place of honor, the possible movement to  “monument row ” at nearby  Lakeview park. Social media lit up  with  a resounding NO!!! Articles appeared in newspapers , on-line .

https://www.morningjournal.com/news/lorain-county/for-sale-lorain-s-victory-park-land-and-monument-honoring/article_935a5b0c-e170-11e8-8c44-63b43d01ce65.html

https://www.morningjournal.com/news/lorain-county/lorain-clarifies-victory-park-plans/article_033d711c-e44a-11e8-b253-5fbd76a0277f.html

Photo Karen Ferraro

The consensus of the general  population  was the “Dark Angel” should remain in the place of honor in  perpetuity . Lorain, in the past,  has had a history  of moving and get rid of its tangible history  as if it is some “outdated décor” put away  to  be stored in pieces parts or demolished. But the latest ideas found a community  saying not this time.

I  am proud of those who  stood up, researched,  reached out to  government, and wrote of their displeasure  Matt Nahorn, Dan Brady , Diane Medina , Mary  Springkowski , Jeff Sigsworth , and hundreds of people on face book pages.

I am glad to  say  that after not only  was her “sentimental  worth ”  acknowledged  but also  her “historical” worth.

Thanks has to  go  to  Mayor Ritenauer  and Port Director Tom Brown because they  came together ( as government should)  to not only  save that little park but to  honor those that  had kept her and this country  free , through  all the wars that followed  the war to  end all wars. It is a victory  for  common sense , historical worth  and yes for sentiment.

Yesterday  the Port of Lorain and The city  of Lorain issued  a joint statement  saving the “lady”

 

Instead of angst and turmoil   and he said ,she said, the coverage this morning is one of thanks , thanks to  those with who  served , are remembered and those whose passion fought for  a Lady  of Victory”

https://www.morningjournal.com/news/lorain-county/victory-park-will-remain-intact—city-port-craft/article_9b2df8d2-e5e6-11e8-beb8-9759a69bb824.html

http://www.chroniclet.com/Local-News/2018/11/12/Port-Authority-may-take-control-of-Victory-Park-veterans-honored-in-Lorain.html

Thank  YOU  LORAIN!!!

.

 

November 12, 2018 at 4:22 pm 2 comments

Lest we Forget – Lorain Administration Forgot –

Well I  finally  am angry  enough  to  write , because that is what it takes to  get my  fingers flying across a key  board.  This was not the Remembrance Day  post I  had planned .

Lorain’s  tangible history  is almost extinct. I  have given up  for the most part  because the interest in tangible history  is not a priority  in Lorain. If it is not maintained, knocked down , bastardized  or moved about , it becomes  a photo  in file at the Lorain Historical Society  on 10th  street.

Tomorrow is Armistice Day  , all over the world  but Lorain Ohio, the administration under Mayor  Ritenauer, Safety  Service Director Dan Given and Chief of Staff Phil  Dore decided in their “wisdom” that a little park ” was not worth  the upkeep and had no  historical significance” . Now to  fill in readers NOT  from Lorain but elsewhere in the country  and world that come to  this blog.

In April 1922 this town decided to  honor the Great War’s war dead and injured  they  put their heart , soul, money  and pride into  a little V shaped park , commissioned a statue  and the town gave due honors :

Photos courtesy  of Dan Brady

Please access Dan Brady’s blog for the “historical research ” and story  about the little park that became Victory   Park https://danielebrady.blogspot.com/2012/05/ninety-years-of-miss-victory.html

Photo  Dan Brady

Apparently  this little  tiny  memorial park demands too  much  upkeep and was lumped in with  other “vacant and overgrown lots in their mind.

 “The city’s position is that we own hundreds of parcels all over that we’ve acquired over time,” Given said. “Why are we sitting on these things, maintaining them, cleaning up junk when we can actually make it productive?”

Photo Lorain 365

So  the wheels started going round and round and talks were ongoing between “Veterans Groups” not with  any  transparency  apparently  because I  live with  a veteran and I  had to  tell him what was happening .

Ironically   it was to  me  “that woman” to  whom Dan Given and the city  came to  get the information about the “historical significance” to  that V  and the statuary . I  duly  got them all the historical significance and the who is who and how a city  remembered  in 1922 and for the past 96 years.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/victory-no-longer-empty-handed-v-for-volunteers/

How annoying then to  read from the Morning Journal www. morningjournal.com  today   the Chief of Staff  of the City  of Lorain quote :

He said the city also went out of its way to ensure the property had no historical significance for WWI and found none.

“It just so happened, that whoever funded the statue, put it there,” Dore said.

 

 

Did this man read any of the information given objectively  or did they  just cut and paste  to  fit what  the intended purpose to  do  away  with  a “nuisance” hand it over to  someone else.

I  can taste my  anger at the moment. They  reached out to  Veterans groups  after the DAV post  reached out to  them but not the community  that  Mayor Ritenauer  was concerned about . The agenda for Monday  Night’s City  Council meeting  slipped this item in

Item G- ord – authorizing the Safety /Service Director to  advertise for bids for the sale of two  parcels no  longer needed for municipal purposes.

The city  council then went into executive session to  discuss this   with  council members – of course not only can’t the community at large   attend this session but Council  members in their wisdom just voted on the matter when they  came back  to  the floor.

Dissenting Votes,

 

 

 

Mary  Springkowski, Greg Argenti  and Josh Thornsberry. the rest could not apparently  decide to  send this to  at least a committee so  the “community  could have its say?

NO! in their impeccable timing of the Administration and Dore and Given one week before NOVEMBER  the 11th they  decided this little park  ” Dore:  had no historical significance for WWI and found none. LOOK AGAIN PHIL!!!!!!

Well I  beg to  differ, there are still relatives of the American Legion Commander instrumental in organizing  those honors ( see the article from 1922)  who  take pride in the Historical Worth  of that little Park. Once the city   sells it to  whomever the Veteran Organizations decide that park can be torn down ,statues moved to  monument row at Lakeview Park where they  are totally  out of context.  or destroyed  . We Only  have “their word” this won’t happen in the future and forgive me but that isn’t good enough

The plan isn’t to go in and disrupt the entire community and move monuments,” he said. “But when we have veterans groups that their sole purpose is to honor the people who lead us in war with their bravery, it’s our obligation to listen to them.”

Been down that road before : Once bitten twice shy!!!!!! and so  glad Mr. Given when YOU  were on City  Council you  didn’t “listen to  the Vets Council” when they  wanted to  give away  the 200 year old park on 4th  to  make way  for “Condos”

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/veterans-memorial-park-thanks-for-the-memories/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/veterans-memorial-park-faulty-memory/

The mayor said ‘hey, I don’t want a nasty storm over this whole issue. If it’s good for the community, it’s good for the community,’” Given said

quotes from www. morningjournal.com   article Lorain Clarifies Victory  Park Plans .

 Well maybe if the “Community” had been informed though   discussion   there would not be the blog post, the social media  outrage at this “deal”

 

Never has so much blather been uttered by  so  few to  cause outrage to  so  many!!!!

There is a “shame in this ” that shouldn’t be forgotten. Oh  it will be forgotten yesterdays news!!! Lorain  and her “non historical worth  will move on” BUT as long as there is an internet  and this blog is archived  ” the “memory” of this debacle of decisions” will live on!

NOTE: I  welcome any  op ed for the city administration…. and this situation has earned the not so  coveted  Notorious Opponents of Exactitude Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 10, 2018 at 3:50 pm 6 comments

Nov. 3rd- tale of two – grief- Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey Source

Just three days after I  wrote the October 3rd  remembrance of you  your Nana joined you. I would like to  think  that you  were there for her. I  know  how much  you  loved her.

It has been almost a month and the grieving for your  Nana is so  different. I feel like a vessel full to  the brim with  sadness but inside this vessel  the grief at the loss of you  and of my  mum meet . The grief I have for you  plunges , rolls, rises up and is pushed back down. It takes will power not to  drown in its depths but it can overwhelm me at times. It is  cold , tearing at my  brain, heart and gut taking pieces of me as it rages on. It is a monster  and no  parent should have to  feel its presence.

Your  Nana , I so  miss, I spent every  day  with her for the past 34 years , she was part of all decisions made as a family. And for the past 8  years shared this roof and kitchen. There are many  things that will bring tears but somehow they  comfort  as release. It is a gentle grief. Nana had lived a full life – fuller than most- her 99 years apart from the past few months saw her enjoying life, having her wits about her  and  good health. She had grown tired  wanted to
“get off the planet”  more and more as her health deteriorated. Her passing was with  dignity, love and was  understandable. She embraced the “transitioning” -her life force spent  not from disease but just being old. and wearing out. Her passing was logical, the grand order of things and the grief I feel does not leave me questioning WHY???? or looking for answers.

 I understand the loss of my  mother  but not the loss of you  and my  heart and brain rails  against the WHY!!!

Source Chris Ritchey

 

 

November 3, 2018 at 1:24 am 1 comment

Sherrod Brown and Hospice THANK YOU- Lorain

This blog has been all about death  and dying recently – more so  than usual. It has been a long 6 months since my  mum was put under Hospice Care. I have to  give a shout out to  Mercy New Life  Hospice – Kolbe Road. https://www.mercy.com/locations/specialty-locations/hospice-care-palliative-care/mercy-new-life-hospice

because their nurses and aides helped me keep  my  promise to  my  mum that she would stay  in what became her home here with  us.

It was NOT easy, anyone that tells you  that being  a  “carer ” 24 hours a day  7 days a week will not leave you  drained, frustrated , emotionally pulled in so  many  directions has not walked that path.

I found myself having to  do  things for my  mum in those last weeks that I   hated doing and she hated having done. She could tell by  my  face  that I  was struggling with  things. I  was never cut out to  be a nurse , never wanted to  care for the ill but you  do  things you  never thought you  would  because of love.  There were times I  didn’t think  I  could keep  my  promise as lifting and being “on duty” 24/7 took their toll physically, my  husband and I  were the walking wounded to  begin with.  Thank  goodness for my  daughter who  stepped up  to  the plate on more than one occasion.

And then all of a sudden she was gone, my  job was gone as well, it has taken many  days not to  listen for the sound of her “chimes”  calling me upstairs  to  help  her. Not to  look at the clock , not to  wake at 3 in morning and get up  and check on her. The days of trying to find something she could eat or might tempt her to  eat  put aside. Tea was her elixir of life in this house.

I am grateful to  the Doctors , nurses and aides because those last months  she and I  didn’t have to  worry  about  the prescription coverages, the medical bills.  WHY because she was covered  by  insurance and why  was that ?

Regular Readers will remember this time last year I  was fighting the gatekeepers . Kasich  , the Governor of Ohio , had done away  with  the  medical program under which  my  mother was covered and paid into  for decades. People who  should have known a way  forward  did not help this 98-year-old woman , bureaucracy  abounded and for months I  fought and cajoled only  to  be turned away  by  the local Social Security  Offices ( Medicare) – Job and family  Services – all this is documented  and one day  I will write in-depth  the whole sorry  fiasco.  I was at my wit’s end for so  many  weeks – I  was helpless – ME who  can cut through  the crap  to  solutions  stymied , lost in a healthcare limbo,  not knowing where to  turn next.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/the-gatekeepers-keeping-us-out-part-one/

On November 6th  we will be voting , I am in a quandary  as to  how most of my  votes will be cast BUT there is one person who  will receive my  vote as well as  that of my  family  Sherrod Brownhttps://www.brown.senate.gov/

 

 

Why????  because his staff in Lorain and “his” caring , expertise and knowledge of the medical system, federal programs   cut through all the gobbledegook I  was facing  and pointed us in the direction of HELP when not one other agency  or politician  would or could.

Still the confusion  with  bureaucrats and up jumped Muppets of Medical abounded  BUT  now I  had people with  knowledge to  help  us through  and that was totally  thanks to   Sherrod Brown and his offices.  Because of that my  mum  and I  only  had to  deal  with  “dying” and could  access the medical assistance she needed .

So  yes this is a political “Vote For” post  but I know in my  heart of hearts this man and the people he employs CARE  and cared when I  needed the help  the most.  I  am not a Democrat or Republican  and haven’t ever before asked anyone to   “vote For” but I  am doing so  now and I  take this plea  very  seriously  please vote for Senator Sherrod Brown thank  you ………..

October 28, 2018 at 5:21 pm 1 comment

The Dance ended- the room emptied- Mum 2018

 

Will you  write about me? What will you  say? You  won’t forget me ?

Yes mum I will write about you , but not an obituary  after all how could I put into  200 or at the most 450  words the life lived for 99 years ?  I could fill that space with  just the last 5 months.  I did write a special post on your 97th  birthday  which  covered some highlights  of your  life

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/in-the-pink-97-years-and-counting-mum/

My mum is gentle , sweet, never sees the bad in people ( sometimes a failing), can bake for Britain, loves people with a depth beyond knowing, always makes excuses for their not so nice behavior, and has a strength to her that has sustained her for 97 years.

I don’t know what I  will say  I never know until I sit down at the keyboard  but I  am sure  nothing I  can write can do  you  justice to  people who  do  not know you  or know you  well.

You  won’t write the bad bits will you? I  didn’t put the bad bits in my  book

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-everyone/

“ROY (  my  father)  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”

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-everyone-part-three/

I promise  I won’t add to  what I have already  written and you  have already   seen and read. I have written reams about you  every  birthday for the past 10 years, your life with  us, I will not add to  what has already  been written of those times .   BUT  mum those bad bits and terrible times were your finest hours the adversity  and pain you  faced  showed your absolute courage and strength of purpose.

‘No  , not the bad bits that only  you  know…

Ok mum  but what about the artist that wanted to  paint you  nude?

NO certainly  not I only  found out in time he wanted to  paint my  breasts as a back splash for the hot and cold taps in his kitchen .

There are hundreds of people all over this world whose lives you  touched in your 99 years.  You  always found the good in even those that hurt you and caused life changes , you  were  so  different from myself. I could never forgive those that caused you  pain. I  did put up  with at least one of them for your sake, you  never made or wanted fuss and confrontation.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/what-are-they-thinking-the-thought-process-stops-here/

 

The only  people you  never forgave was the Tim and Sue Lombardi  clan and their offspring ( Angela Lombardi ( Ritchey) Murphy, ( she has a steel rod up  her back were your words just a few days ago , very  cold)  so  unlike you but they  caused this family  great hurt and in your words were unconscionably cruel to  your loved ones  in the passing of your long-awaited grandson Chris .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

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

It was the only time you  didn’t tell me to  “forget and forgive”, probably  knowing as well that is never going to  happen.

No  mum we will never forget you , you  were a stabilizing force in all our lives, kind to  a fault, funny  even in those last days trying to  bring a smile to  those having to  watch  the Danse Macabre  .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/oct-3rd-danse-macabre-chris-ritchey/

You  were always so  worried that you  would have to  go  into  a home,

“I am not afraid of dying  it is what you  have to  die with  that worries me”

She hated the thought of a long drawn out death  that she would not be in her own bed. and would be surrounded by  strangers . I promised her that she would remain with  us in this house, in her own bed and she would always be clean and her bedding fresh  but there was nothing I could do  about the months it took for her to  slowly  disappear . She hated the loss of her independence , such  an independent  little soul, not to  be able to  contribute to  the work load around here  but was adding to  it .

Mum tried every  day  to  “help” even when her little body  was less than 60  lbs.

Finally came the days when she was bedridden and needed help  to  do  the simplest task such  as eat or drink, no  longer having the strength . No  longer could she sit among the flowers on her balcony , only  viewing through  the window in her bedroom.  She did not deserve to  have to  wait for her death this way and I  am angry  that she lost the things in dying what she so  treasured in life, privacy, independence  but I  tried my  utmost to  give her the dignity  she so  deserved that was denied my  son, in that at least Nikki  and I  succeeded.

“I am so  tired, exhausted, I know I  won’t see those little boys grow up , I  love them so  much  they  are held in my  heart , make sure you tell them. Make sure they  always have a Christmas present from me.

My  mum  made her arrangements in 1992- and nothing changed -she once again thought of others even those long years ago  , just as she had made life easier for me as her daughter in life , she did so as she passed.  I got to  hold her hand , sing her the songs of my  childhood , songs she sang to  me to  quiet my  bad dreams or pain hoping that it would help calm her journey and take away  the fear we all must face. She slipped past me quietly without fuss or drama , her granddaughters words of love bringing a quiet smile.

No  mum we won’t forget you , how could we you are in your granddaughter’s eyes, Braedyn’s laugh  and Gavin’s kind heart……………..You  are in the collective memory of nieces nephews, some of whom are in their 70’s and 80’s whom you  knew and held as babies, who  came to  stay  with  you  over the years, of friends who became family……  as for me I  cherish your spirit and always will……. til we meet again……..

A mother understands what her child does NOT say

 

 

October 18, 2018 at 5:30 pm 13 comments

Oct. 3rd -Danse Macabre- Chris Ritchey

 

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin /Source 

Once again,  I am locked into  a performance with  death. I am exhausted and angry  as I  watch  this thief of life steal everything that is and was your Nana and my mum, just as I  stood helpless as you  too  were locked into  this grim  dance of reality  that faces us all.

The purloiner  of life has taken the light from her blue eyes, made them red ringed and pale, her smile just a memory ,  as she waits , she has disappeared within her own body  as it stubbornly  clings to  life and the loved ones around her . She is  caught between the notes as the music of death  is played, no  longer having the strength to walk , sit or feed herself  without help , her pride of independence, privacy, modesty  gone , slowly drained buy the vampiric interloper and yet it seems that is not enough-  still the dance partner of death  continues the performance, sapping her of what is left of her , cruel in its movements  as the tune reels and swirls, no  respite or quarter given.

 

The difference with  you, my  darling son  there  was another dance partner , who  lent strength  to  my  body  and soul- that of HOPE.  Hope was my  partner,  the hours of driving, the meals, the days and nights of  care, the medicines  , doctors and trials  would work . Parallel days with  the dance I am  once again intertwined , unable to   find escape cold grasping fingers refusing to  let  me go, crushing my  heart. Another August, September , October and the dance continues , the music raucous and disjointed – a cacophony  of jarring notes , breaking the peace.

October 3rd , the last time you  were home  with  your family, filled with  hope that Houston  would be the answer to  stopping the dance, but hope, although strong in our hearts, was not enough to  combat the “danse macabre” …… and now once again the robber of life  has entered our home and our very  beings..

and ripped from us joy , hope and laughter.  I love you  Chris  and I  know you  will be here for your  Nana  as this final  dance ends…………

Chris Ritchey Source

October 3, 2018 at 10:38 am 4 comments

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