Archive for January 22, 2010

Viking Funeral- the alternative cremation

Sketch by Chris RITCHEY

Note ( just a reminder- RITCHEY – not Lombardi, Vyka, Gonzales, Gott or Zaworski)

It has been 7 weeks since the essence of Chris left this world due to the cruelty of cancer to go where, I am not sure ?

Oh ! I know where his earthly remains are unfortunately – locked in a box beneath the cold grey Ohio clay due to the “cruelty of control”.

My nights are still the stuff of nightmares. The days are filled with tears and longing for what can never be.

Chris deserved so much more from life and from the lack of dignity at his demise.

He was “courageous” through all the treatments – he tried to protect his family from his pain. He never complained about the hand he was dealt- for months he carried on doing what was required, no matter how much he suffered. The only time he became emotional was when he was told he had “no hope” except for a trial of a drug that was closed to him in Cleveland.

The evening of his death, in between the wracking sobs and disbelief, I knew the type of “goodbye “ I wished I could give my son- one fitting the bloodline of his heritage ,

The romanticism of a warrior’s farewell- that is what I wished I could give my son .

The last time my mother saw Chris , as he was headed back to Texas for treatment, he had grown a beard. I wasn’t keen on the beard but I understood why he grew it – because he could!

For many months the chemo had robbed him of hair. He had ,after many weeks, been able to grow his hair again.

My mum didn’t recognize him ( as he had been in Texas for many weeks).


she said upon walking into Nikki’s great room as he stood looking out at the woods

Oh! you look like a Viking and that is how I shall think of you as a Viking!”

We laughed, but I remembered her words as it was the last time she saw her grandson.

Her Viking, appropriate – for many years he was a Viking, as he attended Irving School- home of the Vikings.

And then there was the art project that took the art award – A Viking ship –

The project had to be constructed out of things that could be found in the forest, and all natural . The core of the ship was a tree branch , the dyes used made of crushed berries found in the woods, the sail was a piece of deer hide, stripped and tanned , the wood burned to give depth.

Chris loved the outdoors, the air , the music of the wild. He loved the Texas sky , he loved “fire” ( so much so that when he was little we had to take a trip to the fire dept to have the firefighters explain to him the dangers of his obsession with flames.)

Chris – Morocco

Yes, if I could have , I would have given my son a true Viking Funeral , a ship pushed into the waters, archers with flaming arrows launching their cleansing flames into the air, his body released into the sky, to be as one with the air and the wind and the stars.

Unfortunately only in “another’s parallel universe would this be possible.
As WRY Reflections wrote even in this universe can you imagine the paperwork and possible cost?

Service Rate
Homeland Security license $15,000.00
Bi-State Seacoast Cemetery Association right to inter permit $3,100.00
Coast Guard security $5,000.00
Marine Patrol security $3,000.00
Docking and piloting fees $2,500.00
Ship to burn (up to 35 feet) $15,000.00
Extended burn time (2 hours) $1,000.00
Barge for funeral party (up to 40) $3,500.00
Wagnerian music $500.00
Costume rental $2,500.00
Professional video $1,000.00

No unfortunately I couldn’t give Chris the funeral I believed would honor him. Chris was cremated ( thankfully )and it is that aspect of “morph” that I will next explore

To be continued

January 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm 19 comments



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January 2010