Viking Funeral- the alternative cremation

January 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm 19 comments

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


Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, death, men of substance, opinion, weddings and funerals. Tags: , .

Going Green whilst daisy pushing Cremation – THE VIDEO

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grammy  |  January 22, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I sincerely believe that when the “physical” body expires, our essence/spirit goes immediately to reside with God. The remains and just that the remains. Your discussion of the Viking funeral rites brought the soundtrack for the movie of the same name ringing in my head. Thank you for that, it was a great movie (with Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis) and I remember when I saw it the first time, that was how I wanted to go: free, “released into the sky, to be as one with the air and the wind and the stars.” Thank you for that descriptor also. Looking forward to being “reunited” with my best friend when it is my turn to escape this place.

  • 2. truth  |  January 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    My brothers gave my Mrs. Beasley doll a Viking funeral when I was a child……not to make light of anything you’re saying Lorraine but the memory brought a smile to my face. Granted, that was not my feelings at the time. I check everyday to see what you’ve written in the hope that you know that out there in cyber space you have someone thinking of you (a lot of someones) and knowing that while we can’t share your pain exactly, we do mourn your loss and keep you in our prayers.

  • 3. dave C  |  January 22, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    β€œreleased into the sky, to be as one with the air and the wind and the stars.”
    What a way to go that would be!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing these beautiufl images. I wish you could have fulfilled your wish!

  • 4. Ngaire  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:20 am

    We are so lucky that you have so many pics and great stories to tell us of your wonderful Chris. Like Dave I am also thankful for you sharing with us.
    Love the Viking funeral idea, and a special chuckle re the listed costs – OMG!!!
    Wonder how an Indian pyre would go down in the middle of suburbia?
    Your Aussie mate

  • 5. Mark  |  January 23, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Big smile.

  • 6. truth  |  January 23, 2010 at 5:23 am

    What would a special permit cost if we were doing it within the Lorain City limits? Would we be able to something like this at Lakeview?

  • 7. thatwoman  |  January 23, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Hi everyone, I went to my daughters last evening with Nana so shut down the computer. I have so much of Chris artwork, and everyday I am finding out more about my son …. .some things are very special and you would almost think they were done with Gavin ( the baby) in mind….so we frame and remember and hopefully as Gavin grows he will “know” his uncle and who he was.

    How he would have enjoyed seeing his Nana and Gavin last night -Gavin has a “wicked laugh” it bubbles and gurgles and then explodes in a joyful noise .

    Truth : I don’t think we could actually hold a Vikling ceremony at Lakeview or even Lake Erie the Pollution and Permit Police would put a stop to it before we could push the boat out… 😦

    I understood the Mrs. Beasely situation as the reason Chris had to have a sit down with the fireman was he was doing something silmilar with Nikkis stuffed toys.
    He truly never lost his fascination with fire…..

    Dave the closest thing to air and the wind and the stars is to have someone you love and loves you to rleease your earthly remains into the breeze. It is what I wanted for Chris and arrangements had been made both here and in England – before the “committee of control ” decided they had a better way of honoring MY son, … a box in the ground in a place he disliked without kith or kin….. but hey he had balloons!!!!!! … sorry the anger builds it doesn’t lessen……

    Nagaire: I used to have a problem with permits when I tried to celebrate Guy Fawks, here in Lorain…. try telling the City Officials you want a permit to burn a “guy” on the November the 5th πŸ™‚

    Grammy I am glad I gave you a good memory – the only type to have πŸ™‚ in fact I wish you all good memories !

  • 8. Audrey Bruck  |  January 25, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Dear Loraine & Rich and family, I was so glad to find your e-mail and agree that you should have been allowed to have the funeral you wanted for your son.But I believe that from the moment we pass we go right to God and have no further need of our earthly shell so wouldn’t it be truly wonderful if we could have Viking funerals and go up to the sky,the moon and the stars so that our earthly loved ones could be there to witness it.We wish you all peace, truly some peace at last. Our Love to you and yours,Corky

  • 9. thatwoman  |  January 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks Corky – we had some good laughs didn’t we – found some photos the other day that Mum had – who would have thought my life filled with “your” music and laughter and good times , those memories now needed to help me surface a for a little while from my watery depth of grief….. that little boy who loved going back stage at the follies to see the ladies in the chrous line legs πŸ™‚ OOM PA PA Corky!!!

  • 10. Dawn Becklake  |  January 26, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Loraine – as usual a very interesting scenario and love the ‘Viking’ title from ‘Nana’ (Auntie Janet) and you should look to that as Chris ‘being your Viking Son’ who were very brave warriors. How lovely the Vikings were (as all the romantic films portrayed) – don’t quite know if we came from the Vikings or the Celts us lot but most of us are fair so who knows – Dawn XX

  • 11. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I know Paul was doing a family tree ( Hines) but remember Chris and I weren’t all Hines πŸ™‚ There was nanny Bunyan thrown into that mix as well hmmmmmm …..I gave Nikki her diamond ring the other day …you remember Nanny Bunyan and what a tar tar she was I saw that fire in Nikki when she went over the “outlaws” and the “mother of my hell” house to confront them as to why they would hurt her Nana by doing this awful thing … she was asked to leave . what mealy mouthed mincing cowards the lot of them are. ( in my opinion wonder who was in their family tree.certainly not Vikings πŸ™‚ .. not sure Nanny Bunyan would have left though more on that later as I explore our “heritage πŸ™‚

  • 12. OMG  |  January 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    what mealy mouthed mincing cowards the lot of them are
    Lorraine, Tell us what you really think πŸ™‚

  • 13. thatwoman  |  January 26, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Well I would but then this blog would have a XXX rating. Loraine

  • 14. tony hines  |  January 27, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I can only say I was there that very day, and all Nikki said to me was sort Gavin out, and I am thinking christ what do I do with this baby, but typical Hines I gave him a yogurt and he was happy as a sam boy.

    Then Nikki came back and told me everything that had happened, psycho Sue threw her out, cheeky cow, and then by the end of the day so far as I understood there was an agreement at the casket affair, then there was a couple of notes written on paper I remember from my geography class that cheap lined paper, saying things had changed and Chris was to be buried in the Roman Catholic plot.

    Dawn sorry to repeat history but I remember very well the issues you guys went through getting what I must was absolutely rightly yours from your Dads estate, God love him what a nice man, actually now I think of it Chris was very like Uncle Paisey in some ways, very measured with a great dry sense of humour.


  • 15. thatwoman  |  January 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Tony , yup that was quite a day , the casket affair, well I did smile, ( funeral arrangement meeting on the previous Friday) yup took 8 days for that change of mind….) and the way we were told of the news was cowardly, inconsiderate and without feeling to those that loved my son…. Did the Committee od Control not think that we had not already made plans and gone to great lengths to have our own closure in that time.. Once again they in my opinion only “selfishly considered their own you well know….

    Oh and “Physco Sue” ( the mother of my hell) was not a name thought up by any of us , that is the moniker that her youngest tagged her with so if any insult is given they should look to their own once again!

    Yes Chris did share the fmily sense of humour and was indeed “wry” Loraine

  • 16. Tina Kingsley  |  February 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    i have read a viking funeral would never fully burn a body, it simply doesnt burn hot enough and not to mention possibility of air born pathogens and if he was embalmed already those chemicals could leech into the water… however you could have set the unembalmed already cremated body atop a boat (smaller wooden one big enough for the body and some things of the deceased and then set it ablaze either over water or over a burial space, since his body is already professionally cremated there would be no risk of airborn pathogens and not embalmed means no chemicals .. you could have even done it over a certain area then took the ashes of the boat and him and scattered them somewhere on the water. i read there is a place in Crestone, Colorado that has has an open air funeral pyre… this site explains all about why its not necessarily a good idea to have one.. course he says there just a myth but what does he know anyway

  • 17. Loraine Ritchey  |  February 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Ah Tina if only we had been given any choice in the way of closure and saying farewell to our son , brother and grandchild- Unfortunately thanks to selfish control of a foreign culture ( and I would say the on- going gypsy camp thinking) we were denied. We have not had our closure and the way they have dealt with my son’s death I find despicable.

    The Viking Funeral costs etc. in the piece was tongue in cheek

    The embalming process in this country USA is toxic and cemeteries are becoming literally toxic waste dumps .the “cadillac coffins that are ultra sealed to keep out air and water literally turn the body to “soup” but even they will evenutally break down and future gernations will have their own versions of “brown fields”….
    sorry to be so graphic but I believe so many people have NO idea what happens . — even being embalmed can cause issues as I have read of the body leaking and Funeral Directors having to make adjustments before the next showing.. No way of “disposing of a body” ( and I wrote a series) is “pleasant but at least some are “quicker than others and “cleaner”

    In England I know that there are some crematoriums that have been set up for open air cremations due to the Asian Culture that has settled in her cities.

  • 18. Morgan  |  March 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    The funeral industry tries to sell you,’ relief of grief ‘ I was awakened to this fact,when my 19yr old son was murdered. Shot in the head,the city STILL performed an autopsy. I HAD REFUSED!!! The bullshit in claiming his body brought me thoughts of stealing it from the morgue. Stealing!?!? My own son,back to me.13 days later,after signing a stack of papers,his body,adorned with ugly autopsy scars was released. On dry ice,in a cardboard coffin,the stupid bitch at the morgue told me ‘he will decay further on the long drive’ ..Phoenix to north Cali. His 13month older brother and I,drove him home.To another waiting funeral home!!!……’relief of grief’?????? nonononoo, homicidal rage at a system lost

  • 19. thatwoman  |  March 25, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    I am so sorry , how absolutely terrible I can’t fathom the pain on top of the grief … if you ever want space to vent let me know in the meantime if there is anything I can do to help

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