A Letter – A Legacy – Nikki to Chris Ritchey – sister to brother

December 15, 2009 at 5:23 pm 30 comments

NOTE:I am sharing this letter that my daughter has written to her brother – an epitaph ? a eulogy? an expression of overwhelming pain and hurt.

Public in OUR grief- the only way we can have some closure – a healing perhaps- how do you say goodbye when your own closure has been cruelly denied …..

I am writing today to my little brother. This is more of an apology to him. Nikki

I am sorry Chris that I could not save you from all of your pain in these past 22 months and even in your passing.

During these months you were really there consoling me, telling me “it will be ok Nik.” You fought so hard for your family and in the end I was unable to do the same for you.

Over these past days I am remembering all the wonderful memories we made together.

When we were kids we would play all day long in Uncle’s pool with all of our friends screaming “Marco, Polo” driving mom nuts. Then in the winter we would ice skate on that same pool or practice skiing across the street at Irving. We were always outside till the street lights came on and mom would yell out the door “Nikki, Chris time to come in.”

My fondest memory was the night before my wedding. Our cousin Tony was there with us. We all sat in the hot tub that was in my room.

I don’t know how we all fit in there but we did. We laughed and laughed that night. We never went to sleep. We stayed up talking all night long. You and Tony massaged my feet,

we ordered room service- of course all on Mom and Dad’s tab.

I developed a huge swollen eye. Both you and Tony tried to ice it for me. We then had to call Mom to bring me tea bags. She was so mad, “What did you three do last night,” as Tony hung out the window trying to have a smoke. Who knew 7 years later that would be the day you would be cremated.

After I was married we still stayed close. I moved to Avon where you hung out with us. We bought a hot tub and many a late nights were spent underneath the stars.

Then I moved to Maumee and again you came to see me every weekend you could. Then I finally moved back to Lorain. You were there house hunting with me. We found a house not far from Mom and Dad’s. You were still living there at the time with them but everyday was spent at mine.

You had your own room and I never complained when you didn’t make your bed or when you left your wet towels on the floor.

We would go to the beach down at Beaver Park with Misty and Jax all the time that 2007 summer.

Then 2008 came with bad news. But you handled it with true Chris style. You were getting married that summer.

The night before you got married, again it was you, Tony, and me. Again a hot tub, laughter, and another sleepless night.

As you left my house that morning you stood outside the limo before getting in and just said “I love you.” I watched the limo pull away as my little brother left to become a married man.

It wasn’t 5 days later you were back at my house with me asking “can I come back home to your house.” Of course you were welcomed, this was your home. This is where you felt the most comfortable.

You went through all of your treatments like a champ. Never complained once. You came home every chance you could. Even after getting out of the hospital from a stem cell transplant you came home the next day to see your new nephew, Gavin.

You bought a 4-wheeler this year. You spent so much time out in the woods behind my house with Jim riding for hours. I have never seen you so happy as when you would jump on that ATV and take off. You would come home with mud up to the handle bars- like a pig in shit- you loved it!

I guess I must get back to the point of my apology to you. I tried to bring you home once again. I tried to make your wishes known, that this was your home, where you laughed, drank, played, and felt the most comfortable.

You spent more time here with me every chance you could than any old stuffy closed up apartment that you hated. You loved it here.

Every time you came over the first thing you did was go outside with the dogs. I am so sorry that I can’t bring you home to the outdoors where you belong.

I tried Chris but I was lied to. I was denied you, my own flesh and blood. Some are trying to make it seem like we didn’t have a special bond between us.

We will always have a bond. Blood is always thicker than water. We didn’t have a vow of till death do us part. We will never part.

You may have been taken from me physically not once but twice in this past week and in my heart I know where you are at.

You are here with me, what you always called home, sitting on my back porch outside underneath the starry sky, where you wanted to be. Know that I love you more than life itself. I am so sorry little brother…so so sorry.

Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, men of substance, weddings and funerals, Women of Worth. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Something wicked our way came WILD HORSES- Chris Ritchey

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dan Given  |  December 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Nicki, I am sure Chris will be by your side everyday and every night. Never doubt that he is watching and I am sure he has “your back” for all that is yet to come. No one knows a family member better than a mom, and in this case a sister. Above all else, remember that your brother loved you!

  • 2. Michael Hines  |  December 15, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Nicki, NOBODY can steal, brake or trample on your memories hold on tight to them we are sorry that you are in the place you are it is a very cold and crule place to be. Please know that you all are in our thoughts every day with much love and many many hugs.

  • 3. dave cotton  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    I wish I could ease your pain.
    One thing I know is the truth of what you said about never being separated from Chris. Your bond is very strong. He is, and will be, with you in more ways than we can understand.

    Thinking of you and your family!

  • 4. Dawn Becklake  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Nikki & family. I loved your story. As a family of 6 siblings we also know that bond – we are so priviledged as not many have it – we lost one – Jill – and the rest of us although scattered about the UK and with a span of 23 years from young to old are in constant contact and usually know, by intuition when any are troubled, sad or need contact (even though we all have totally different lives). Dad used to say it was like a grapevine – ‘5-minutes and we all knew if there was a problem – or even a bit of scandal.’
    Its hard to believe you have all been put through this after the awful 22-months you (& chris) have suffered.
    Thinking of you all. Hang on in there and keep thinking of that bond you had. Nobody can take that away. XX

  • 5. thatwoman  |  December 15, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Sent to Nikki via an email
    “I am so sorry. Beautifully said Nikki. Your brother is you and you are your brother. Time and space can not change that. Please tell us more when you can about the one of a kind bond brothers and sisters share. The bond you shared with Chris. I am sure he is watching over you now and will be pulling strings for your whole family. I know your family can turn this adversity and circumstances around , your writings of the best life stories Christopher lived can not be taken away. And by sharing these wonderful stories your closure will be a journey not just a earthly ritual . And reading it becomes a lessen to all of us in how precious every moment is . You are a family, you are a family of artist and as every artist knows there is more then one way to sculpt, paint or compose. There is more then one way to grieve . There is more then one way for closure. Persevering the beauty of your brother’s memory through the stories he lived is a wonderful way.

  • 6. Mark  |  December 15, 2009 at 9:14 pm


    I’d only met Chris a few times, and never had much of a conversation with him, other than a few “how you doin’s? and such. What I was able to see, was exactly how much his family meant to him. Whenever you, or your Mom and Dad were around, you knew there was something special between all of you.

    What I will always remember about Chris, is the smile he had on his face, and the joy he obviously felt when he saw your Nana with the blow-up doll at the winery. That absolutely tickled him silly. The look on his face will be forever burned into my memory. He was ecstatic at seeing her having such fun.

    I cannot begin to imagine the pain that you and your family are going through, but know that we are all here in case you need anything.

  • 7. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  December 16, 2009 at 1:05 am

    Beautifully written, Nikki . . .

  • 8. Mark  |  December 16, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Loraine asked me for the photos of Nana (Mum) that I took at the winery. I’ve just added them to the original post from May of ’08. The link is here: http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=124

    If you change your mind, Loraine, just delete this.

  • 9. thatwoman  |  December 16, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Not bad for a 90 almost 91 year old woman .she had so much life and laughter still left to her ….I have watched as the news of Chris death has creased her doubled her over but that part of his journey she can at least understand where there is life there is death.after 90 years she can relate to that…. but what has caused a terrible terrrible wrenching in her is what she doesn’t understand .a denial of her grandchild to say goodbye in our beliefs by one those that profess to love….that is what is ( in my opinion) shattering her already broken heart…. she keeps saying “this pain is all so unnecessary “

    And you are right she was the hit of the night apparently and Chris blew up the pictures you sent at the time and put them in a card to her… she claimed Nikki was to blame because she ordered a pitcher of something that tasted like Kool aid and she was very thirsty ….. The winery invited her back anytime she wanted to come 🙂

  • 10. Rich Robbin  |  December 16, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Nikki: There is nothing that anyone can say that will heal your pain, your mother or father’s nor Nanna’s. Just know that we are there for you ..anything, ANYTHING, we are but a phone call away! These are nothing but GOOD MEMORIES nobody can steal from you. We have so many fabulous memories of you and your brother growing up. Those are our memories and nobody can take them away either. You have all been a part of our lives and nobody can take that away either!

  • 11. Bill Sturgill  |  December 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Dear Nikki,
    Thank you for sharing the pictures. You do not know me, but I’ve had the priviledge of getting to know about you and your brother thru your mom’s different writings. What can I say other than I must be a fan.
    Your pictures gave me smiling faces to add to the memories in the places of my heart. I have to believe knowing both families, that you both will have closure at some point in time. My wish, is that it is sooner than later. As always my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family, but i must say I would remind you of what your brother Chris said. ” It will be ok Nik”. Time may lessen pain but the good memories will grow fonder.

    Bill Sturgill

  • 12. cityworker  |  December 16, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Nikki, I saw Ernie yesterday. I was shocked at what this has done to him . I know what Lorraine meant about choking on his own emotions, I saw it myself. I am sorry this has happened to you and your family . You are all in our prayers.

  • 13. WILD HORSES- Chris Ritchey « That Woman’s Weblog  |  December 16, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    […] Faith has been broken Tears must be cried Let’s do some living After we die […]

  • 14. Pam Burton  |  December 17, 2009 at 3:17 am

    Nikki, you likely won’t remember me as I have not seen you in many years, I am Harriet and Barney’s daughter . I wanted to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all. Thank you for the beautiful photos and notes about Chris.It is very easy to see what a special relationship you had. I am sending along hugs to you all.

  • 15. Tony Hines  |  December 24, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    could not say it better myself


  • […] Gavin. He is unable to be part of your life in the way he wanted to be, but he loved you just as he so loved your mummy . Your first Christmas had a “Chris Miss present” under the tree and whilst it was a […]

  • 17. VI -(pers) – Chris Ritchey « That Woman’s Weblog  |  June 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    […] Quote from Angela Marie ( Lombardi) Ritchey “I” was Chris life. he was the happiest when he was with “ME” and if you deny that then you didn’t know your brother.….” […]

  • 18. joyce Smith  |  June 4, 2010 at 1:55 am

    For Angela…. Mrs. Ritchey Jnr. – you appear to all of us, a very hurt and angry young woman – a doctor no less, and as unprofessional as you come across in the past seveal months, one has to be thankful they have other doctorate taking care of them as it apppears you can be extremely insensative and disrepectful to others. This will only gain you a reputationn! You obviously have / had the lack of home-grown love and devotion to those who mean the most to you – or supposed to have! Chris… had/ and still has the love and devotion of the folks who meant the most to him – passed on down thru Nana and doting parents and sister- brother-in-law and bless him wee Gavin, who will only hear stories of his best uncle in the whole wide world. Angela, for the good of yourself, please turn off the “revenge” button – you are going no where with it, and your whole vendeta towards Chris’s family with all of your tricks etc will only be hazzardous to your own health.
    I have some-one like you in my own familiy’s situation… and believe me he is now paying the price… Reach out Angela – it can be very rewarding

  • 19. Loraine Ritchey  |  June 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you Joyce for all your support through everything even travelling all the way here for the fundraiser…..monies used to pay for a burial etc. that excluded his family ..I am sorry about that , nothing I can do.

    But I don’t want anymore “reaching out” from her or hers, it is too painful dealing with the consequences.

    I was just reading of the shootings in Cumbria and the fiance of one of the victims of that terrible event… she said of HER fiance …… HE was MY life , HE gave ME so much happiness….

    a bit different from the quote from Angela when speaking about Chris

    “I” was Chris life. he was the happiest when he was with “ME”

    Says a lot about the “reasons” for things happening this was not about Chris but her.

    Anyway I am taking a few days off from the blog to ponder life and spend with my daughter and Gavin and rest if I am allowed….. Love Loraine

  • […] wrote everyone letters, sharing Chris thoughts about them and such. Some of the things I said in Nikki’s and Loraine’s letters, they will not […]

  • […] Chris died and my beautiful daughter was in so much pain – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/a-letter-a-legacy-nikki-to-chris-ritchey-sister-to-brother…I wanted her to have this little item of beauty crafted with love- a treasure- from the one we […]

  • […] Nikki and I decided that a fitting “living reminder” (because Chris was not about death and gloom but life) to say thank you with a Leadership Award in his name. He too had received a leadership award from LCCC. Chris worked hard and found his creative niche both on the LCCC soccer field and in his classwork- both of which culminated with his BFA presentation for Cleveland Institute of Art. […]

  • […] artwork Chris Ritchey As you are locked in this terrible place you are denied your final farewell- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/a-letter-a-legacy-nikki-to-chris-ritchey-sister-to-brother…your closure snatched from you […]

  • […] boy who runs at life- just like you. But cards have been sent- not to you – not to me- Your sister has sent once more a scholarship on this day to Lorain County Community College and thank you cards […]

  • […] that is not the case and because “thought and consequences” of how decisions may affect others was not even considered in the telling and secretiveness surrounding the lifestyle change of the […]

  • […] miracle”. Remembering another day when my son’s future wife tried to come between brother and sister- she nearly managed that time- a time before the obscenity of cancer entered his life. I thought […]

  • […] You go down on your knees for forgiveness, whether to your God of choice, your King , Queen , potentate , ruler . You go down on your knees to beg, to show respect, in some cultures to pray – other cultures require you to curl or prostrate yourself. Sometimes you are forced to your knees by evil, by the weight of the burden you carry. I watched my daughter fall to her knees hearing her brother was dying, we both ended up on a waiting room floor- on our knees- arms wrapped around each other clinging on to false hope , huddled in our misery and disbelief. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/a-letter-a-legacy-nikki-to-chris-ritchey-sister-to-brother… […]

  • […] be announced. I knew it was going to be hard- I put on my “armour” and my sunglasses. Nikki went with me , we took Braedyn – Gavin spent the day with Poo […]

  • […] Quote from Angela Marie ( Lombardi) Ritchey “I” was Chris life. he was the happiest when he was with “ME” and if you deny that then you didn’t know your brother.….” […]

  • […] First his mummy leaves and comes home with “a ” Braedyn- Oh! not so bad at first doesn’t do much but sleep- but then this bundle of love wants more and more – going from being an only child to being two is hard just as going from being two and now being an only child is so hard. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/a-letter-a-legacy-nikki-to-chris-ritchey-sister-to-brother… […]

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December 2009

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