Archive for March, 2010

It Is Only Words, BUT Words Are ALL I HAVE-

My Darling Gavin :

This week a year ago I saw your little face for the first time as you burst into life on this planet. You have been firing on all cylinders ever since. You make us smile, demanding our attention every minute you are not asleep. Your little body giggles with mischief and deviltry. You are a wonder! I watch you as you discover the world about you unafraid to try just one more thing.

Those stairs were just MADE FOR CLIMBING, then there is the big window, where is the dog – he is always up for a game , and what is down that hallway ? If I push the drum in front of me they will think I am playing with my toys and I can make it to the back door..Oh look I can walk ( sort of)…

Your thoughts are written all over your little face, you are a joy and a spark of life amongst all the sorrow.

Gavin, your Uncle Chris wanted so much to be a part of your life. He didn’t get to spend a lot of time with you but he loved you , that I promise you .

The night you were born he was in a hospital undergoing the first of two stem cell transplants, but he was on the phone with your mummy the whole night. They traded cell phone pictures back and forth that night, he talked to her , kept her going when she was tired, making her laugh when she was scared.

When you were born and we knew you were a boy , he was the one that called family and told them

“It’s a boy!!!”

Your Uncle Chris was so excited , he had great plans for you , he wanted so much to be a good Uncle. You were the first person he wanted to see when he got out of that hospital room and on April 10th he saw you for the first time.

He was a little nervous Gavin as he had never held such a tiny baby before but he held on tight to you.

Whilst your “Nag Nog”(me) stayed with him in Texas he would talk about you and what he wanted to do for you . He wanted to teach you to play soccer, ( said with your big hands you would probably end up in goal).

He bought you the cowboy belt in Texas and we went looking for a hat and he made me buy the camouflage fleece bunting rather than the blue one I was planning on.

Your Uncle Chris discovered a love of horses in Texas, and even I managed to get my more than ample rear end on one. He and I went riding through the Texas brush, but just like you -your Uncle Chris was straining at the bit to get his head down and gallop. He was strong and incredibly brave and I promised him in Texas he would always be a part of your life. I had thought in a different way than it has unfortunately turned out to be .

I knew what your Uncle Chris wanted to buy you – a horse- (well not just yet )but he said to me after that very hot ride in Texas.

“When I get through this – I am going to buy some land and a horse and I will buy Gavin his first pony “

He couldn’t keep that promise to himself or to you 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 little big for you at first you have managed to “gallop”.

I will keep my promise to my son , your Uncle Chris and there will be a present for you always from him , one that I know you and he will appreciate. Although I am not sure mummy and daddy will always agree with the choice 🙂

And on my part my little “beautiful boy” I will take all the words I have written and will write about your terrific and wonderful Uncle Chris and save them for you – because that is all I have are my words and memories but know this Gavin he also left you words – words from his heart to help you grow.

From Your Uncle Chris ( Your mummy has the original artwork)
No 1 in the series-



March 30, 2010 at 11:06 pm 15 comments

It is all in a “name”- comment or commodity ?

Free Speech Poster by Chris Ritchey

This past week the Plain Dealer has outed one that comments on their blog

Plain Dealer sparks ethical debate by unmasking anonymous poster

“Anonymous online comments are linked to the personal e-mail account of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold”

and this morning Connie Schultz weighed in putting “face”-book to a name:

Web site posters’ anonymity an invitation to mischief: Connie Schultz

NOTE: you can find a list of the related articles in that post.
There have been hundreds of comments by the real and unreal including mine on the Plain Dealer article:

I have posted on this site a few times , and never the same name twice because I forget my user name half the time and since I have signed in more than once , my name is always already taken whew! OH and I always use my real name when posting .

This isn’t a personal blog such as I have ( and hundreds of thousands if not millions now have. This is connected to “professional media” and there in is the rub, we, rightly or wrongly ) expect more from you. Commenting can (and has done) led to a person who posted becoming the news through tracking back of unpublished information and possibly adding to the coffers of the PD through the selling of the newspaper due to the “news” . I would think we will be seeing this story next on one of the local news channels ( who also garner income )

Are we that comment just another way of gathering news or investigative journalism fodder?

The Plain Dealer can justify what they did , we can pro and con it to death BUT the deed is done and with it another news media outlet has added to the mistrust ( warranted or not) John Q Public will be even more skeptical .

Oh and by the way at least four others in my family have access to my email who am I really that is clicking on the submit 🙂

I also broached the subject on the Tell the Editor Blog ( Morning Journal)

And “there is the rub” in all of this is that rightly or wrongly the Plain Dealer – which by its very name suggests they will deal plainly the cards dealt 😦 is a professional NEWS organization.

They are news hounds and sniff out the news, that is how they feed themselves.

Professional Blogs that are media first and foremost are still in the business of “selling the news” to us , either by subscription to their hard copy or through ads on line.

When you comment you enter into their world and are subject to their rules. It is a case of buyer beware you may end up the commodity for sale.

Tom Skoch ( Editor of the Morning Journal ) today stated :

A whole new column could be written about the need to tolerate some anonymous writings as the only way an author can express vital ideas without fear of personally disastrous consequences.

That is true in nations where dissident voices face arrest and even death at the hands of a repressive government.

But in the United States, anonymity and screen names mostly serve only the author’s desire to throw stones without risk of getting personally bruised in return. That’s a poor excuse.

If you have something worth saying, it’s worth putting your name to it.

When it comes to weighing the relative value of opinions and statements, those backed by the author’s real name are gold while those made anonymously or under screen names are feathers.

Poster Chris Ritchey


March 28, 2010 at 11:07 pm 5 comments

There is an “I” in Death

“In search of my son- in search of me.”
Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

Part Nine– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two


AND there is an “I” in death of a loved one; it is silent and unseen but it is there just the same .

As the death of my son reached out and encircled and smothered with grief those that loved him we all experienced the “I” .

“I” denotes self and with it “self”ish. We are selfish in our grief (Selfish denotes the precedence given in thought or deed to the self, i.e., self-interest or self concern)

Yes! the I is definitely there – “I” who would fight without fear and never cry – “I” am awash with tears never before cried – “I” who have to talk through attorneys as no longer can “I” trust those that hold positions of trust in their profession no longer hold my trust. ( ironic????)

“I” have learned so much about the selfishness that surrounds a death. You would think after three and a half months I would not be discovering more damnably selfish and surprising behaviours but I have.
They come to me from the most unexpected of places and people.

Wounds that are raw and bleeding once again torn open by selfishness and a loss of trust .

Lord Byron once said
We are all selfish and I no more trust myself than others with a GOOD MOTIVE.

At least two people, in whom I had a great deal of trust, have caused unprecedented sorrow since they have made the “I” in death no longer silent I find myself “abandoned by trust “.

Angela Lombardi (ritchey) sketch by Chris RITCHEY

One – I had a premonition about, the other has blind-sided me , but both I now think about with total abhorrence and a gut wrenching sickness in my being at the mere mention of their name. And “I” am changed – not for the better” because of the “I” inflicted upon me.

I have always been a cynic and have said “I trust no one ” but I let my guard down during the worst time that can be visited upon a mother and for that I have paid a terrible price. The toll on my heart continues whilst those that have put the I in death carry on, pontificating, posturing and patting themselves on the back, whilst I share my tears with the night .

I will walk the path as laid out for me – I have learned that Jean Paul Sartre was right Hell is other people and this planet can be hell and even hell has its layers .

If this punishment by “whom ever” is writing the play and casting the villains of the piece is MY Karma then all I can say I must have done something vile because otherwise there is an injustice in this Karmic Justice.
I wish for the play to close and to make my exit quietly. I can only hope the villains of my piece end up in a worst place than I am at the moment.

I am no longer a forgiving and understanding person- ( I tried to be – but in recent years I have discovered forgiveness is overrated it just opens you up and exposes the underbelly to those who would take advantage.

I have learned that to truly forgive you have to understand the reasoning for cruelty and of the act perpetrated, without understanding there can be no forgiveness ….

Recent events since Thanksgiving Day 2009 have only proven to me I am not far wrong. There are those who hide behind a mask of sincerity hiding the Basilisk that is their being,leaving a trail of venemous treachery in their wake as they slither through life with their true natures kept from all but the few.

Beware the Basilisk it maybe one you least expect.

March 25, 2010 at 10:39 am 11 comments

American Amnesia ?


Watching the “fallout talks “ by the talking heads of the new Health Care Bill on the BBC, I was struck by one observation.

“what they are counting on is the American Amnesia, Americans go from one thing to another very quickly so in November if the economy looks better etc.etc etc……

I was curious what is this apparently national phenomenon? Is it catching ? I did a google search on this term and it has been used before
even books about “American Amnesia” is it just peculiar to Americans ?

And it seems that it is relied upon in the grand scheme of TPTB when making decisions and the timing of those decisions, in this case the Health Care Bill .

Since I know absolutely nothing about the Bill in question ( having been caught up in my own health care nightmare ) – I can’t debate the facts – whether it is good or bad in its content but I know at least one person who sighed with relief. Her take can be found here

American Amnesia ( explains a lot even in my little world)

March 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm 4 comments

The Challenge- Mark and Lisa challenge YOU

Check it out and picture this

and the winner is …. US!!!!!

March 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm 2 comments

Beware :Trust Broken can Kill

Trust– just a little word actually, one of those “throw away “ words ,seemingly unimportant in the wonderful mind and tongue pleasing words that you can get you teeth into, as we frolic in the English language.

Trust when broken , no matter the language, is broken forever. There aren’t any “degrees of breaking trust” it is intact or it is irrevocably broken.

Once broken those that are the recipients of the break are left with disdain, hurt and on a grander scale when trust is broken by nations – WAR!!!

It is hard to gain back trust , in actual fact it is impossible once broken no matter how good the repair it can never be a solid again.

Trust like beautiful crystal bowl transparent in all its facets , fragile in its design, the clarity of the “ringing of purity” becomes even after being repaired nothing but a dull thwack when tested. A repair unseen to the eye still leaves the sign of the break as the crystal no longer “rings true”

We all can find lack of trust and credibility in our lives – politics- governments – media – even religious icons have broken trust , it all affects us daily, but we seem to have come to expect the “thwack” in those areas of our lives and in many cases shrug it off as just another part of our existence.

Yes, we might get upset and angry but hey that is the “way of the world “- isn’t it?
When trust is broken by those that love and are loved then a crystal shard becomes
to the heart.

A heart pierced by the shards of a trust broken will continue to beat, it beats a melancholy rhythm , it is heavy and pulls at the very life it is trying to sustain.The heart has to work harder but to further pierce that heart in the name of love is not only a betrayal of the basest kind but can kill.

Come, I invite you the bearers of the “shards of broken trust” to visit my world and see those whose hearts you have pierced……………..

March 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm 4 comments

The Ghost in the Pond –

I have watched with trepidation as the ice and snow on the pond has melted and life begins to stir.

A few years back , after experimenting with expensive Koi and other exotic types of fish in our pond and managing to kill them all off in one way or another, I got fed up and went to the old Broadway Feed and purchased 100 goldfish that were normally meant to feed bigger fish.

The ones that managed not to get sucked up into the filter system and got through the first wintering in the pond have grown and multiplied.

In fact some of these fish are 10 years old- I kid you not . One poor little devil with a beautiful long tail accidently got dropped on the ledge when we redid the pond a few years ago. I think he/she broke its back . I fully expected to be taking it out of the pond the next morning, but I was wrong apart from having to swim sideways he/she has managed to stay alive over three winters now.

My husband has moaned and moaned about the cost of keeping the pond going all winter for fish that were essentially “fish food” .

” Lets shut down the pond and just buy more feeder fish every spring.”

But I couldn’t do that , those fish had “procreated” and had babies of their own (some of whom they ate I will admit ) but I felt responsible for them. So the pumps keep the water flowing and the “air hole” for the escaping gases has to be kept open much to my husbands annoyance.

There was always a lot of grumbling from the men in this house as I nagged at them to go out in minus temperatures to make sure the air holes were open. It is a big job to keep the pond healthy summer and winter, but it gives so much pleasure ( to me at least)

Chris actually loved the more exotic fish and would buy them., such a waste as they were very expensive and they always ended up dead.

I thought he had learned his lesson but last Mother’s day along with my tadpoles that have turned hopefully into frogs ( I know two did ) I watched as Chris slipped something else into the pond.

A Ghost Koi

“Oh Chris ! why would you buy another Koi? you know they never survive the winter”

“I needed to get this one and it’s Mother’s Day so you have to accept it “

as he mischievously grinned up at me from the water’s edge

The pond was not taken care of this fall in the same way and attention as we would do normally. No netting to stop the leaves from falling in the pond and decaying causing the toxic gasses. We only managed to run the small pump which cut in and out through the winter. Our days of despair left no desire to make sure the air holes were open . In the grand scheme of things the fish were the least of our concerns.

I watched as the snow got higher and higher on the pond and felt a twinge of sadness and guilt ( the truth be known )that my last Mother’s Day present was probably gone. I hoped the frogs would survive and I hoped that Chris would understand.

I was in Chris old room a couple of days ago. I looked out of the window at the pond , the spring sunshine was warming the water. There were flashes of gold as the surviving fish made their way to the warmth and then -a flash of silver.

I was scared to look closer , maybe it was one of the pale goldfish , we have a couple. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the pond for a better look. I can still see my son kneeling by the pond and surreptitiously slipping in that Koi .

Chris would check on the Koi every time he came home , he would ask in the hospital

“How’s the Ghost has it given up the ghost yet?”

I had told myself last summer I would look up how to keep this fish over the winter.

would I have to set up an aquarium for it?

I berated Chris for giving me that hassle and he just grinned at me again.

I got my courage up and took a deep breath and went to the pond. Yes the Ghost Koi had survived and slides silently among the gold and the dark water .

My Mother’s Day present survived and once again I saw in my mind my son’s grin .

March 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm 14 comments

Across the Pond- Disgraceful thinking

This is one that did draw me back to the surface as this web company owner stated :
Karl Winn, 60, said he would rather ‘recruit ex-drug dealers, convicts and child molesters’ than employ former servicemen or women.


March 17, 2010 at 4:43 pm 9 comments

When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two

“In search of my son- in search of me.”
Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

Is premonition that little voice in your head, the half remembered dreams, pieces parts of which seemingly come to fruition years down the road?

Or how about that gut feeling you have an instant dislike to someone you meet for the first time- a complete stranger no baggage that comes with them except maybe in the future.

Why was a joyous time such as a wedding feared with such dread?

Was the box for envelopes just a “poor decorating” choice by the committee of 19 ( seeing as my son was battling Cancer) or an omen- all I know is it took everything I had to stop from throwing it in the trash.

Why do vivid pictures pop into our mind at such a time of celebration of things not wanted but that have come true?

How did I know my daughter was pregnant weeks before she knew herself? – I told my mother and Chris who both chastised me because two months before the “specialists” had told her she would never have children. Chris was furious with me :

“Mum don’t you dare say anything to Nikki you know how rotten she feels about not being able to have kids”

Why do we have de ja vu ?( most of us have had that feeling)

I have had these things happening to me all my life – but they never come when I “need them to come”. It doesn’t happen to everyone of my kith or kin –

Why did I look in the eyes of my newly born son all those years ago and turn to my mother and say without thinking

” he has sad eyes- he will have a sad life”

and then dismiss it with
“why ever did I say that”

as post baby hormonal flare ups?

Is that why I spoiled him rotten- gave him everything he wanted – forgave him everything?

And since he was the only other one kith or kin that had “dreams” ( even as a toddler

“mummy that happened before – I dreamt it

– did he know that his life would be cut short somehow?

Did this artwork done by a young student reflect more than an assignment

Was that why he was a bit of a “hypochondriac” every little ache and pain having to be explained until Hodgkin’s Lymphoma finally reared its obscenity into his young life?

Was it my dread of “Cancer” that didn’t want the diagnosis of the “curable cancer” that made me look away from the symptoms – not wanting to take that first step on a journey whose ending would cause such unbearable pain. Like the orstrich and the sand did I not want to face what I knew was coming at us sending us into a bottomless well of emotional agony .

Was it already knowing the script when the Dr.s kept saying

” test show you are cancer free “

that I wanted to scream at them and his wife :

No he isn’t there is something wrong

( three times that happened) and each time the diagnosis eventually came back NOT cancer free at all.

And why do we have these premonitions if we can’t change the outcome? Are they just another instinct we can’t fully utilize – are we given the script before we arrive on the planet and are “remembering lines from the play”-

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances….

William Shakespeare

and no choices?????

Chris’ face book page id.

March 17, 2010 at 11:47 am 11 comments

When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

“In search of my son- in search of me.”
Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists

Part Eight

When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

I know who I am – where I came from – who has contributed to my human portrait -I know who I would like to be – I know what is inside my head . But who or what formed the way I think, feel and react? Do those that are really close to me and think they know me really know the essence that is me?

Half the time I don’t even know why I do the things I do , it is as if I am like a puppet under the direction of “who or what”- It is if I am following some script already written and no matter how I balk

( I am not getting involved in this or that project – only to end up in the middle of it)

or if I try to change the direction of the play I always end up back on the stage of the “unseen playwrite” playing the character as written.

How many times I have started an article with a planned direction only to find as I do the “proof read” it wasn’t the article the way I had planned it at all? It is as if the key board is taken over by someone else , another part of my brain perhaps, DNA memories of past ancestors who were the writers in my heritage.

I know for a fact that there are two or three major misconceptions about “this” “that woman”

1. The perception that I am strongI am NOT I am a blubbering , weak at the knees bundle of pathetic ( a trigger word) jelly. I always have been when it comes to illness – illness scares the hell out of me – Cancer especially –

I remember the first time I was introduced to the word. CANCER

I was 7 and playing in the living room in my imaginary world of make-believe ( as “only” children are want to do); the television was on in the background and a cartoon like character came on with a public service announcement – The 10 warning signs of Cancer

Why did this particular public service announcement have such an impact on a 7-year-old? Heart disease , tooth decay, kidney failure or any of the other myriad of announcements never had the same effect on me before or since.

But I can vividly remember that afternoon , the sun shining in through the big window and being scared to death , panicky , and a coldness that swept over me sending me screaming into the kitchen and to my mother.

And the word Cancer has had the same effect on me ever since. A premonition of things to come in my life?

1 : previous notice or warning : forewarning
2 : anticipation of an event without conscious reason : presentiment


Today as the temperature hovers around 60 most of the snow has melted I should have been pleased to see a taste of spring. In years past I would await eagerly such a day . I would be anxious to see the snow drops and the daffodils and tulips planted in the fall pushing their way through the warming earth. I always have had great pleasure in spring.

But three years ago when it was time to plant and replenish the bulbs in the front garden- I couldn’t do it I had an overpowering feeling of great sorrow.

I had a “feeling” that spring would find not a feeling of joy for once, for the first time in decades no more bulbs were planted.

The next spring came with it the news of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and whilst there was great hope when the fall came and a time to replant again the sorrow prevailed as I looked at the bulbs on sale , once again I was unable to plant for the joy of spring.

Another spring and more horrible news that came with the world beginning anew in my little garden.

I went into the garden this morning, as the snow drops and daffodils are slowly making their presence known I realized the great sorrow that I had felt those three years ago washing over me a ( my son was lost to me this spring) , it was that same intensity of sorrow that I had felt on that autumn day three years before – only more so – A premonition, the script , a tragedy in the play that is being perfomed on this , my stage.

To Daffodils by Robert Herrick

Fair Daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain’d his noon.
Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having pray’d together, we
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die
As your hours do, and dry
Like to the summer’s rain;
Or as the pearls of morning’s dew,
Ne’er to be found again.

To be continued

March 15, 2010 at 3:07 pm 3 comments

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March 2010