My only son- Chris Ritchey-
How do I begin to tell you of the great emptiness that fills me , of the icy coldness that clutches at my heart that deepened every day as I watched my son slowly lose his grip on his life force?
The terror felt with every new statistical readout on the monitor – hope dissipating with every recorded breath and heartbeat until there was nothing left of my son.
There should have been time to say goodbye but being hooked up to a ventilator for days meant his voice was still , the paralyzing drugs robbed me of even a squeeze of his hand to let me know he still could hear my voice to know that I loved him.
People eating and laughing and sharing news of the day in the ICU waiting rooms whilst waiting for my son’s last breath left me disgusted and full of anger. The Gypsy Caravan that attended my son’s last days was to me abhorrent and tasteless and not of my culture or his and robbed death of dignity .
I read his Obituary on Saturday in the local paper. Was this my wonderful young man whose life was put into so many cents a line? Was this MY Chris – I could not let that be the last words written about my son so I have composed a letter which I hope will be a more fitting epitaph to one whose passing has broken a mother’s, father’s and sister’s heart.
The Unbearable Pain of Being
I read my son’s obituary Saturday – a few lines describing a young man who was so much more than a husband, brother, friend , hunter, sportsman and employee.
Chris’ last 22 months on this earth found him on the cruelest of journeys, one fraught with hope turned to despair on almost a daily basis in the last days. My son bore this cruelty with a strength of character and body that even I, his mother, found remarkable.
But before the Cancer , there was a another life-one of great happiness – He was funny , sometimes “dark” in his humour, he did not suffer fools gladly .
He and his sister shared a remarkable bond – almost twin like- they would take on the world together . When he was young it was his sister who stood up to the bullies and any adversity and when he grew he supported her and fought with her any battles that came their way.
He knew he was loved and he loved in return. He would buy a Christmas or birthday present and then not able to wait until the day for you to see it – he would have to show it to you right then and there.
starting the LCCC Club Soccer program after graduating High School- coaching training camps for young players. He received numerous scholarships for soccer and his artistic talent . He received two Cleveland Addy awards in his short career with Wyse Advertising . He would have been one of the best had his life not been cut short.
His friends know how special he was – he had some truly wonderful friends and I believe he too was a good friend.
I said goodbye to my son last Thursday – but my heart has not been able to let him go – he was one of the only reasons for being – I ache for him – I look for him- I cry for him – my son who was so very much more than a few paragraphs in an Obit column-
He was- Chris – a multi faceted personality who gave us incredible joy and love and expected nothing in return .
I will see him on the street signs in our neighborhood, the logos, the television commercials he worked on, Settlers’ Watch – the Welcome to Lorain Booth at the Port. And my heart is sore pained within me because I will no longer hear his voice, see his smile or feel his strength.
My life has been broken in two – my happiness wrenched from me with the death of my child, my son , words cannot convey the crushing depth of my sadness, the void that cries to be filled and the torrents of tears that I shed that bring no relief.