Flames-the fire of talent and remembering-CIA- Chris Ritchey

September 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm 6 comments

The incredible and incredulous happened, we lost our son on that December 3rd,2009 day , cards and well wishes poured through the mail slot intermingled with Merry Christmas cards. Mainly my mum had to open them as I wasn’t able to do so in the raw state I was in at the time, I still haven’t managed to go through them all. My mum has kept them for me but there was a note from Dean Deming of Chris’ college- Cleveland Institute of Art.

His note was such a positive in all the negative and wickedness of deceit that found us reeling and still does wound.
We decided as I wrote in my blog post of thanks
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/in-search-of-my-son-chris-ritchey-thanks/ to have a “living” memorial for Chris. one that gives back, embraces his life and memory as opposed to the decay of death.

Cleveland Institute of Art has unwittingly and unknowingly given me my son’s voice . It was they who taught him how to use his talent, to express himself, to reach out , to speak , as he has done for me in recent days, as I have found and reviewed his work, I have once again heard his voice.

To that end, I contacted Cleveland Institute of Art , Chris’ family ( read RITCHEY)( father, mother, sister, nana and uncle) will sponsor a scholarship to be given to a 4th year Communications and Design Student . A scholarship in Chris’ name to the student that shows , tenacity, diversity , and stands behind their work no matter how controversial.

It is our way of thanking those that helped form my son and have in fact helped give him back to us.

The scholarship award of $1.500 was announced in April

A reception to meet the student arranged by CIA was held on Sept. 22nd.

I knew it was going to be very difficult to attend, I knew that Nikki and I would probably feel it the most as she and I were the ones that were “involved” in Chris’ college years.

We had geared ourselves to face the known triggers we knew could open the fragile dike that was holding back the ocean of grief. Nikki managed it better than I – I lost it unexpectedly in the parking lot. In my mind I saw his truck parked sideways saving us a parking place the day of his graduation .

I flashed backed to the day I had to drive in with the SUV so he could transport his other -self to display it/him in his chosen spot as there was no room in his jeep. I saw him carrying his “other- self” up those same self stairs to the entrance, his face full of deviltry and humor as he was placing it .

I pulled myself together behind my sun glasses and walked the corridors filled with the displays of the talented students and faculty of CIA.

Since we were all attending the reception Gavin did too- his babysitters all occupied for the evening. I have admit he was the little boy with the finger in our particular emotional dike holding back our emotional ocean. His reaction to a pig sculpture , may not have been appreciated by fellow attendees but it surely was a moment to savor by us.

I stayed a little out-of-the-way trying to fight the flames of memory that were licking at my being – I watched as the recipients of the scholarships chatted and talked , their youth , joy de vie , the expectations full with happiness. I tried not to remember that my son had attended such functions with his scholarships his laughter echoing down those halls .

We met Jessica and she was a joy and so very talented. I was glad that Chris laughter and talent will be remembered in those same halls by Jessica and other students to come.

Nikki had stood resolute in her courage but her eyes filling as she held back her tears only to be released when we left

“This just sucks mum, he should be here”

and the question that is never answered


once again being asked to the warm September evening breeze as we walked through the parking lot.

We will be on December 3rd, 2010 sending another check to CIA to help another student fan the flames of their talent.

If you would like to contribute to the Christopher Ritchey Memorial Scholarship at CIA please do so by sending the check to :
Attn Amy Bartter,
Cleveland Institute of Art,
11141 East Boulevard,
Cleveland, OH 44106

mark Chris Ritchey Memorial Scholarship

Entry filed under: Arts, Chris Ritchey, education, grief, personal opinion. Tags: , .

Lorain City Schools- Guest Blogger -Kelly Boyer Sagert X- “HER VIKING “- Chris Ritchey

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September 2010

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