WHO I AM! The artwork speaks – Chris Ritchey

February 15, 2011 at 1:58 am 6 comments

ED: NOTE: Today, the 3rd anniversary of the diagnosis of the “obscenity” was the date I had in mind to close this blog with its final front page – BUT bear with me a little longer life- as always- gets in the way.

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
Part Ten (a)There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two
Part ThirteenA Place of Echoes
Part FourteenAn Absence of Laughter

Part 15:
In the post the letter to Bishop Lennon and company there is the artwork

WHO I AM by Chris Ritchey

It was December 25th 2009- It was the worst December 25th I have ever experienced. – 22 days after the death of my son- 14 days after being told ( not for religious reasons but because this is what Chris would want ) his bride was denying us our closure-

and 6 days after the “controllers” buried his remains with balloons and without his family into the cold earth.

Whilst we had all been to Nikkis on the 24th I could not face Christmas Day and all it meant – I could not look at the faces of grief- I just wanted it “over”. So we all huddled, each and every one of us, in our own homes- trying to get through the pain of a Christmas Day without Christopher and christian charity.

In fact I decided that day to start cleaning drawers and cupboards. I was preparing for my own death- I didn’t want any of my family to have endure the going through everything. You see I didn’t know how I could live with my heart being shattered into so many pieces, the pain is a physical pain at times – and if I am honest I have only survived so far because of the strength of my daughter, Nikki, and Gavin.

I emptied out my “personal” desk in the living room, burned a great deal in the fire-place but eventually grief took over and I could no longer function.

I called my mother to see how she was- she wasn’t doing well at all- and both of us had a conversation punctuated by wracking sobs. She could not understand why Chris” wife had been so cruel as to deny her her goodbye- she wondered

Did WE really know Chris’s wishes?

I told her- I had spent more time with Chris in his last weeks than anyone including Angela


and I said:

“I don’t know mum, I thought I knew Chris, who he was , we talked openly and sometimes loudly about all things from the time he could talk but I couldn’t bring myself to discuss what would happen if he died- I just couldn’t do it – he was fighting so hard to just live”

I started to 2nd guess myself as to who he was as I had all along since his illness and marriage.

“was this the right treatment, was this the best Dr. – could I have done more – why did I stand back on the decision-making? What if? Why didn’t I trust my gut – why did I defer to “them” at the hospital?

the doubts like wood smoke choking, blurring vision as it swirls on its journey from the flames.

Then I saw a folded piece of blank paper on the floor by the foot of the couch, obviously it had fallen there as I had cleaned the drawer. I picked it up and a wallet sized high school graduation photo fell from the folds. I had put the extras in the drawer 10 years before.


I thought to myself

“this must have become caught in the folds of the paper-“Just a second mum I want to throw this piece paper into the fire”

and then I felt something else in the folds. Two slides were tucked away, on each slide was Chris’s signature, as I held them to the light I recognized them immediately.

I didn’t know these slides existed in my home – I had never seen the slides before- why they were in MY desk drawer or how they got there I don’t know, as I said it is my personal desk and I was the only one ever to put anything in it and I certainly hadn’t .

BUT I had seen their content before so would anyone who attended Chris’s CIA college graduation ceremony.

As the graduate received their degrees they walked across a large stage- behind them on a very large screen was a projection of “who they are” designed by themselves.

I watched as students had pictures of themselves with family, friends, and their interpretation as to who they were flashed onto the screen.

Then came my son , I was so proud of him and there it was the “Who I Am” projected on the large screen – his art work describing who he was – his white soccer cap, the American flag ( he had sewn on it) and the simple word freedom. I knew exactly what he was saying and I even knew the “sub text” to that art work and so will you readers (eventually- and that goes back to another Christmas).

Who I am by Christopher D. Ritchey

Yes! I thought that is him – a man of few words but he spoke powerfully, succinctly through his work and with humour. He smiled at us and gave a thumbs up as he crossed the stage .

As he took his diploma another slide ( an example of the work of which they were most proud ). The light from the lamp illuminated that slide as well and I saw in the slide his thumb and the text which sent shivers through me. You see he never got to” tick” the box after college and the last conversation took place with a thumbs up………. I was in bits- literally … that Christmas night… but Chris spoke once more through his work.

I knew without a doubt that Christmas night –

I shouldn’t second guess myself Chris’s work was speaking for him

– I would “listen” and I would always let his work speak for him. that is why I continue to carry on letting him speak and will let his work tell you who he was- he deserves to be heard .

Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, Christmas, death, grief, men of substance, personal opinion. Tags: , , , .

The Highwayman – Sesame Street Material (NOT) Lorain City Council Meetings or Am I speaking in a vacuum?

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February 2011

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