My only son- Chris Ritchey-

December 7, 2009 at 3:40 am 55 comments

Chris – self portrait

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.

Christopher had a temper, one he shared with his mother, I understood his temper as we both shared the same “trigger mechanism”.

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.

Yes, he in his short life touched so many hearts , so many people- accomplishments on the soccer field,

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.

Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, men of substance, Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Anguish , Anger and Unbearable Pain The “Bear-ing” up in an unreal reality

55 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pam Burton  |  December 7, 2009 at 4:05 am

    Loraine I am so sorry for your loss. I still remember Chris as a cute little boy on the deck at mom and dad’s. He was so absolutely adorable. Please know that I am thinking of you during this very sad time. As a mother I can only imagine how horrible this is for you. My prayers are with you all. I am sending along many hugs.
    All my love,

  • 2. renee dore  |  December 7, 2009 at 5:09 am

    Share your thoughts and we will read and listen. We can’t feel the pain you and your family are going through but we will read and listen. Words are difficult to come by to respond. Our sympathy to you and your family at such a painful time. Renee

  • 3. dave cotton  |  December 7, 2009 at 6:23 am

    A beautifully written portrait of your son! I wish I could ease your pain. My heart aches as well.
    All my best to you and your family

  • 4. Lewis LaCook  |  December 7, 2009 at 7:26 am

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. My thoughts are with you in this trying time.

  • 5. Judy Hines  |  December 7, 2009 at 7:52 am

    I have just arrived at work, a cold rainy day in North Devon. Very fitting for the news I have heard.
    I am so so sorry for your loss and send my love and thoughts to all of you over there.
    I have no other words.

    Judy XXX

  • […] Please visit Loraine’s site. […]

  • 7. Anne Hayward  |  December 7, 2009 at 11:34 am

    To you Loraine and Rich on the loss of your son, to Nikki on the loss of her brother and of course to Auntie Vi on the loss of her beloved grandson.

    Hold him close within your heart
    And he’ll stay with you forever.


  • 8. Cathy DeAngelis  |  December 7, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Dear Lorraine and family…much love to all of you. Keep Jesus in your heart and you shall feel comfort. Love, Cathy DeAngelis

  • 9. Palma Stipe  |  December 7, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Dear Loraine & Family,
    I pray that you will be surrounded by peace & love….
    Blessings to all of you.

  • 10. Alex McGuire  |  December 7, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Loraine, Rich, Nkki and his beloved wife, Angela.

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss – you must all be devaststed (I have an inkling of what you’re going through). I know that when I heard about Chris, I was devastated and so sad. I never met Chris but I felt I knew him through you, Loraine.

    Chris was mentioned and prayed for at my local Church, St. Aloysius on Sunday.

    Please accept my deepest sympathy,
    Alex (from Scotland) xx

  • 11. anne molnar  |  December 7, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Dear Loraine,
    Life is so fragile, we ask why, why a life so young, full of hope, energy is taken away. It is not for us to question. When Chris was on the ventilator, and could not speak, he heard every word that was said to him. Yes, time does heal all sorrow, but never, never will he be foegotten.
    Please print your letter, and send one to the administration at the Cleveland Clinic. In my many years of nursing, that behavior was uncalled for, especially from the nurses as you described. in your letter. When time permits Loraine, call me and come to my home for a lunch.

  • 12. Maureen Smith  |  December 7, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    A beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your son!
    So sorry for your loss, your in my prayers.

  • 13. jeannette  |  December 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    i am so sorry for your loss. there are no words. my heart aches with and for you and your family.

  • 14. Tom Skoch  |  December 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    May the peace of God that passes all understanding be with you and your family, Loraine. Please accept my deepest condolences.

  • 15. Sharyn Hinman  |  December 7, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Dear Mrs. Ritchey,
    I am so sorry for your loss, and all my colleagues here at Wyse join me in offering our condolences. Although Chris was only here at Wyse for a short time, he made significant contributions. And hearing today at the memorial just how much he valued his work here at Wyse made me so proud to have hired him. He had many friends here. And he will be missed by all of them.
    Sharyn Hinman

  • 16. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 7, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Anne thank you and thank you to everyone but it wasn’t the nurses or the medical staff who made the last week of my son’s life such a travesty for me but extended “family” members and I am sure for the others in the waiting rooms who also were in pain and terror for loved ones. We should all remember that waiting room are just that and not social gathering places, no matter if the intent is one of support… there is a time and a place and ICU waiting rooms aren’t the place.

  • 17. JACKIE MATE  |  December 7, 2009 at 8:11 pm


  • 18. Amanda  |  December 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss.
    You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  • 19. Ngaire  |  December 7, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Keep the words coming Loraine, we’re all here for you and yours at this very sad time.
    Perhaps Chris would have liked to have heard laughter for whatever reason so don’t be angry at what you think was inappropriate, each deal with tough emotions in their own way.
    Share some more of Chris’s life with us
    Your friend in Oz,

  • 20. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 7, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Hi Ngaire.I am not making myself clear actually as to what happened in ICU waiting rooms for days on end.. maybe one day I will speak to such things…. and of intrusiveness but now is not the time…… all I can say is that I feel robbed of my son in more ways than one and it continues … his father is in a terrible way and I am living in an unreal reality that becomes more unreal with every decision made by others……..Loraine

  • 21. Diane Wargo Medina  |  December 8, 2009 at 1:37 am

    Loraine- I have sat here reading all of these lovely words to you and the family, but I cannot find the exact ones I want for you. I agree with Anne, he did hear everything around him, and I know he knew you were there, you know me Loraine, and you know he will find a way to let you know, and that is all that I can say, my heart is too heavy with sadness.

  • 22. Jill  |  December 8, 2009 at 3:40 am

    Lorraine, I am so sorry for your loss, and all of ours – not that we can ever really share this heaviness you feel. May he be of blessed memory always to all those whose lives he touched – and it appears that that is many, many more than will ever be counted thanks to his work and his love for you all. My deepest deepeest sympathies.

  • 23. Ellen Robbin  |  December 8, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    The words that Loraine writes, wrenched from her broken heart and put down as a forever memorial to her dear sweet loving son is the Chris that we all knew and loved. He was not the cold statistics that were reported in the obituary. He was so full of life, ready to take on any challenge that came his way. Rich and I are one of the lucky ones that got to watch Chris grow up and become a wonderful talented man whose compassion and love for his family was ever present in his actions and words. We will always remember when our son Mike met Chris for the first time and a “carrot” sword fight (pilfered from the neighbor’s garden) ensued ending up in a black eye for Chris and a split lip for Mike. From that moment on, they were inseparable. If Chris wasn’t at our house, Mike was at Chris’s or Uncle Kenny’s and Nana’s learning how to swim from Loraine or hiding the peas in his napkin Nana put in their lunch burgers. All the baseball games in the school yard across the street. The times they sat on our porch swing and laughed and carried on without a care in the world. And as time went by and they gravitated towards different schools and different lives, I believe that Mike and Chris were always connected in their heart and soul. We miss you Chris, rest in peace. Ellen & Rich Robbin

  • 24. Tom, Debbie & Rebecca Temerario  |  December 8, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Lorraine and Family,

    Our deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family at this sad, sad time. I cannot imagine the loss you feel right now. Although we have never met personally, you helped our daughter Rebecca a few months ago, and for that we thank you. Children are a special blessing, and Chris was certainly one of those blessings. We would like you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.

  • 25. Dawn Becklake  |  December 8, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Do not know how you did that but what a wonderful story right from the heart. My love and those of all my family are with you, Rich, Nikki, Auntie Vi and of course Angela. I only lost a son at birth so cannot imagine what it must be like to have had 30 years and then have to give them up.
    It is ‘Light up a Life’ here this week (Childrens Hospice) and I go to church and light a candle for Jack and now of course Jill so my prayers will also be with you and yours to give you strength.
    Love Dawn XX

  • 26. Lynne West  |  December 8, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    As I read your words and could feel the depth of your sorry….I wanted you to know how deeply sorry I am for your loss. May you know that those around you will walk this journey with you and support you when you are ready….but will also allow you to be Chris’s Mother trying to find a way to understand and heal. With much love to surround you

  • 27. Joyce Smith  |  December 9, 2009 at 3:25 am

    My dear friend – please know that I am here for you and or Nikki. You need someone to listen to some stories you need to tell, I’m here – I know they will be good ones. I do agree with a previous mailing that Chris could hear you, feel you there when things got tough for him. He knew. Chris’ Dads heart is broken also, his pride and joy, and the bond that a sister and brother have is like no other, especially Nikki and Chris’. Take care of yourself plse, and we’ll talk soon.

  • 28. Bryan Goldthorpe  |  December 10, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I did not know Chris, but I know you. He had to be a great person because he had a wonderful example. I am sorry for your loss.

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  • 30. Joe Arendt  |  December 18, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    There are no words that I can say that will ease you pain. I did not know your son but I know you and I can only express my sympathy. If there is anything I can do to help you with your tragic loss please let me.

  • 31. Jon and Maggie Bell  |  December 18, 2009 at 3:40 pm


    Julie has just told me of your sad news. Could you let me have your email address so I can contact you please?


  • […] participate at last years ritual was met with annoyance by his bride. “Things are going to change next year Chris , you will […]

  • 33. Karen  |  January 7, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    I didn’t know your son & I found this because I followed a link. But I know, to an extent, the pain you suffer. Because I lost my youngest son in a drowning accident when he was 2 weeks away from his 2nd birthday.

    I’m not going to tell you that with time, the pain will pass. Because it won’t. But with time, you will be able to think of him without the stabbing pain you feel now. You will learn to live again in spite of your loss. It’s been 27 years since I’ve had to learn that lesson.

    I know it’s hard now. But you can get through it. It sounds like you have a family & they can be the greatest help for you. If only to focus on right now. Please don’t let your grief turn to anger, for that won’t help. Remember who & what your son was & live like he would want you to.

    I will say a prayer for you.

  • 34. thatwoman  |  January 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Karen actually your web page also linked to my latest post on Chris ( small world)

    and I read your post your son and also the anger you felt when you thought the grave had been turfed… so you probably understand a little also of what has happened with having balloons of the dance macabre and hijacking of my son to a cemetery …….Thank you for your thoughts and although I am trying to deal with so many issues and none of them easy . I enjoyed your thoughts on your page Loraine

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  • 37. Laura  |  May 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    My name is Laura and I went to school with Chris @ LCCC and worked with him in the PE Dept when we were both there. I just found out what happened to him this weekend. I am so sorry for the loss. Chris was an amazing person, always there to make me laugh. We had a great time in our ‘discussions’ about Elyria Catholic and Lorain Catholic, me being a Grad of EC. 🙂 I am truly sorry – it is a huge loss for everyone that had the priveledge of knowing Chris.


  • 38. thatwoman  |  May 24, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you Laura , he was amazing and we miss him so much .his smile could light up a room – I think often of those days when he started up the LCCC soccer team. They were good times .. he insisted on spending most of the budget to get the top of the line uniforms for the players. He said that as the guys were playing some of the “rich colleges” they would be in for trash talk on the field so he was going to make sure that when LCCC came onto the field they would be respected for not only their playing ability but they would look like a team to be respected. And they were – they were a great bunch of guys who had to put up with the “team mother” who washed those uniforms and carried the water and the orange slices etc. in her car on the away games…. I wish I could go back in time- I really do ..Loraine

  • 39. Laura  |  May 24, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I remember the great conversations we had about both soccer and volleyball. I was helping setup the volleyball program while he was working hard on the soccer program. It’s amazing to see where the sports are now at the college …. very cool to know how much he helped out with getting the soccer up and running. Always packing everything on to the golf cart to drive out to the field … then back after the game to unload and give some good news and some complaints. Def could always make me smile and laugh.

  • 40. thatwoman  |  May 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Yes you always knew where you were with Chris- never one to hold back from his critiques…. thank you so much for sharing some good memories…. it is hard to think of those lately and every instance to remember happiness is very much appreciated. Loraine

  • 41. Laura  |  May 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I’ve been talking to some of the others that worked here when Chris was in school and we all agree he was def. one of the best. He made stuff fun around here and will be truly missed. Again, I’m sorry.

  • 42. thatwoman  |  May 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Laura I have just received word of the recipient of Chris’ Scholarship at CIA check back tomorrow . I am so grateful to those that contributed . I am going to continue the scholarship at CIA and I have been thinking about one at LCCC ( definitely for a “club sport manager” sort of thing. so I will have to see how the programs are run now 🙂 as I am sure things have changed.

    I want Chris name to contine to be “living” and giving back rather than a carving on a piece of granite….he would hate that I know that for a definite! 🙂

    Maybe you could help in letting me know how things are working at LCCC and any ideas???????? Loraine

  • 43. Laura  |  May 27, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    The sports programs have definitely grown here at LCCC. The Clubs are Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Co-Ed Tennis and Cross Country. The Intercollegiate Teams are Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Fastpitch Softball, Men’s Golf and Women’s Volleyball. It’s quite impressive to look at it all and think back to how it all started and what all went into starting the different teams. 🙂 I still work up there as a Building Supervisor, now, and I can ask and find out anything you might want to know to see what can be done if you want something in rememberance, and honor, of Chris. 🙂

  • 44. thatwoman  |  May 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    I will email you off the blog next week probably Tuesday and exchange contact information and maybe we can figure out where the most need is although you know I am leaning toward the “men’s soccer ” 🙂

  • 45. Laura  |  May 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Totally see about Men’s Soccer. And I will see what all I can do to help out. 🙂 I can also talk to Kathy who is in there with all the sports stuff to see what she has to say and what all would need to be done.

  • 46. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Laura, please say hello to Kathy for me also Chris BFA project was based on soccer “advertising etc.” he did some signigicant art work for that project that combined design etc. I have an idea perculating in my mind…. since Chris also first discovered his love of design at LCCC and was helped by LCCC in a transfer scholarship to Cleveland Institute of Art….. will get back to you on that after Tuesday Loraine

  • 47. Heidi  |  May 29, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Loraine. I just recieved the card and letter you sent to Dr. Cosgrove at the Clinic. Thank you so much for the kind words. I have many times thought of your family. Your family is amazing. The love you share with one another was very powerful. The love you gave Chris while he was in the ICU was so dynamic and so strong, it was simply beautiful. It was a honor to care for Chris and your family. The letter you wrote to the Clinic was the nicest thing I have ever received as a nurse. You reminded me why I am a nurse and what nursing is all about. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the kind words and just for allowing to care for Chris in the ICU. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family always. Thanks again, it was lovely meeting you and your family. Your family is one of a kind. You are the true meaning of a “MOM”
    Heidi RN

  • 48. thatwoman  |  May 29, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Thank YOU Heidi , I just wish things had turned out differently , words cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am to you .. please keep in touch and if there is anything I can ever do for you and the the nurses in the H22 you have “got it!” Loraine

  • 49. Heidi  |  May 30, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Your kind words are enough. I will keep in touch. I am transferring to another Cleveland Clinic Hospital this week. I will continue to work in the ICU as I did in H22. It is 25 minutes closer to home and the ICU is Neuro, Surgical, Medical and some Trauma. It will give me a little more variety to do what I love– ICU Nursing. I will continue to float to Main Campus in the Neuro ICU also as my job allows me. This is what is so nice being employed with the Clinic. There are so many opportunities.
    I hope you are staying strong and taking care of yourself. Your angel “Chris” is watching over you as you did him. I also was hoping things turned out differently. As I stated previously – you are a wonderful Mom and a wonderful person. I was only so lucky to have met you and your family. Thanks again Loraine for your kind words.
    Keep in touch- Heidi

  • 50. Laura  |  June 2, 2010 at 2:54 am

    I talked to both Kathy and Laurie, who is the Dean of the PE Dept. Laurie gave me a little bit of contact info in regards to starting up a scholarship. I want to make sure to get Laurie’s contact info, and Tracy, who handles the start up, to you. So let me know the best way to get it to you and I will pass it along. Laurie agreed that she ‘thinks this would be a wonderful tribute to Chris.’ So let me know and I will make sure to get it to ya! 🙂 And I will pass along the hello to Kathy, no doubt.

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December 2009

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