Thanksgiving- 2011- A time “NOT” to remember – Chris Ritchey

November 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm 9 comments

American Thanksgiving – celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has officially been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863, when during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

America is not alone in “giving thanks” Britain has been celebrating since pagan times –

Britain, thanks have been given for successful harvests since pagan times. Harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near or of the Harvest Moon. This is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox (about Sept. 23). In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October. The celebrations on this day usually include singing hymns, praying, and decorating churches with baskets of fruit and food in the festival known as Harvest Festival, Harvest Home or Harvest Thanksgiving.

As Europeans discovered the new world they brought with them their own cultures and beliefs- and adapted them to their new locations.

I celebrated American Thanksgiving for the Americans in my family- truth be told I resented having to cook what was originally my family’s traditional Turkey “Christmas dinner” a month early- it spoiled the lead up to our English Christmas but a deal was struck- a compromise . If the American part of the family decorated the outside of the house with lights etc then I would cook a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. For many years this was the “tradition” of this small family and I changed up the traditional Christmas fare- although the gingered apricots never went down too well 🙂

I remember the first dinner, my now son-in-law, Jim, attended at Thanksgiving-he was expecting, I am sure, to watch the parade and football etc. However, he was handed row upon row of lights and a huge wreath for the front of the house and a ladder- they had to work before eating. He has never forgotten that experience of this particular intermingling of culture.

Those times continued – the next Thanksgiving that stands out was the one when my son had broken up with Angela ( Lombardi) ritchey DO. That was a Thanksgiving I remember too well and quite honestly wished I had kept my mouth shut then maybe she and her family would not have been part of our lives and my son’s death. ( another post).
Artwork-The “Circus- by Chris Ritchey

I wish like Rip Van Winkle I could sleep through these up coming days and American Thanksgiving. It was Thanksgiving Day I saw my son intubated- heard from stranger he was dying and as bad as it was being alone with that news it was worse so much worse when the Clan Lombardi and their gypsy caravan in tow descended into that waiting room with their left over cold mashed potatoes, dry turkey and pumpkin pies and nut bread.

I was sickened to my heart and soul by their actions. I still gag at the very thought of them and their leftovers in that ” ICU waiting room”. I couldn’t understand their thinking, when to all intents and purposes we had been told just a couple of hours before Chris was dying– and how they could “eat”? . It still sends ripples of disgust through my being as I think of the swapping of recipes that afternoon waiting for my son to breathe his last so they could get on with their “plans”.

Last year I pulled my home around me – I tried everything to wipe the “Clan Lombardi, Vyka, Gonzales, Gott and Zaworski”, the hangers-on and Thanksgiving from my mind – to get rid of the bile that was rising in my throat at the thought of the previous year and the utter lack of compassion/consideration shown to Chris’ family by the pillars of the their respective churches.

I retreated into a world of grey, devoid of compassion or faith, compounded by their actions and those of their ilk -the basic human fundamentals tainted and tarnished, an ugly truth of hypocrisy now mirrored in their image.

Father Divis-
I attended a function recently and who should be there but their Father Daniel O. Divis-

I didn’t notice him at first – he was in civilian clothes- Nikki did notice him. It was one of those functions that had I said and did what I wanted to- others– would have had a well deserved celebration ruined. I kept my countenance.

However, it turned out he ended up right behind us in line. I looked upon the face and into the eyes of the man who had knowingly enabled my son to be taken from his family buried in a plot not of our faith or tradition or Chris ‘s ( knowing full well Chris lack of support for the Catholic Church ) and interred him without his family knowing.The ‘ man of God” who helped take closure from a grief stricken mother , father ,sister……….


As I looked at the person of Father Daniel Divis he gave me an asinine little quirky smile , crooked his head to one side with a slight shoulder shrug. I only hope he felt the sheer coldness that permeated the stare I gave back to him; he certainly turned away. He should be thankful this year for a lot of things including the fact that once in a while I have to be circumspect out of respect to those I hold dear. As a “man of God” I have to wonder does he follow the teachings of compassion and love of the mother and father- couldn’t prove it by this family!

Thanksgiving 2011 – the dilemma came upon me – no longer will I hold an American Thanksgiving in this house- there is no longer a need to decorate this house for Christmas – those traditions are gone from this “old house”.

The special tree ornaments from Christmas past will catch the fire glow on Nikki’s tree, the lights and outside decorations donated.

But my American family is growing- and a little boy and his new “brother/sister” will need traditions and happy memories upon which to build their own traditions. I cannot pull my home around me this year I will travel the short in mileage but for ME, the huge journey to my daughter’s.

I will help her cook for this Thanksgiving and Nikki will start her own traditions, Nana will eat lamb chops, Jim can watch football, my husband will walk the woods where his last spoke with his son, we will get through with the help of a little boy and I will try not to remember Thanksgiving past…………..

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Brit take, Chris Ritchey, grief, hell is other people, Love, Mothers. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ladalang  |  November 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Thanksgiving is a time for blessings and although your son was not here as long as he should have been, the time you had with him was the blessing you can be thankful for today. It’s a time of cherished memories. Some people never know the love you felt for your son. Never get to experience the pride and genuine adoration for another human being. You were given a gift albeit too short for your liking. I hope this thanksgiving is filled with your fond memories of shared moments with Chris that made up his life. He touched this world in a profound way and his memory deserves honor and love for the time he was here. I hope for you that you forgive those people that Chris loved in his life that were important to him. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. A hurting heart can heal and I hope yours finds peace and love on Thanksgiving.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    thank you I do appreciate the thoughts …. but as for forgiveness I cannot forgive…. This is more about accountability ( I know you understand that 🙂 I know it is difficult for some to understand and they just want me to stop- well that isn’t going to happen anytime soon… – the path I walk has been thrust upon me I will continue to hold those accountable in my world until my family has closure – I walk the path not for me alone..and I am tired of those that “do unto others’ because they can.……… as I told someone the other day if Karma is a bitch well meet the bitch 🙂

  • 3. ladalang  |  November 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I have a big hug for you, and you are right what was thrust on you wasn’t fair but you are dealing with it. I pray for your closure because your pain is palatable. We all experience your grief when reading. It hurts to see another hurting so badly. I only hope that lessens with time. People want it to stop because they see how it hurts you they want peace for you. It’s out of caring. You have to do it in your time we all understand. You pull no punches when describing your grief. I hope sharing your pain is cathartic. I never lost a child but from your writing I have an idea of the hell it must be. Again peace and please spend some positive loving energy on Thanksgiving in honor of Chris.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    It is cathartic – I have found that try as I might to “hold my grief close” my body and mind won’t let me – I have written how I become an emotional puddle and the triggers. As I dissolved into an emotional meltdown a couple of days ago my mum said “Oh I thought you were doing better- and as she was trying to understand what was happening to me….. the very next day found my husband choking on his grief – trying to hold back- why…. the mere act of putting up storm windows- they were heavy and Chris had always helped him…. I don’t think we even put them up last year….. just an everyday thing in the lives of others turns into a gutwrenching emotional torture in this house……. and as I watch this happening …. a 92 year old in confusion and helplessness trying to figure out what to do to help her child, my husband no longer functioning and trying so hard to be strong – my daughter missing her brother with undying love and then seeing the likes of (imho) devious divis a stark reminder of added cruelty – well there are times when it is all just too much….. acceptance of what they did will not happen.. I may be pilloried for insulting a man of the cloth BUT what they did was insult our beliefs, our son and culture and our love for our child………………there has to be accountability even it is in these poor writings….. the only thing I have….

  • 5. Grammy  |  November 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Your writings are powerful and have helped others “cope”. You need to do what works for you. Accountability is a must, a right, a truth that you are entitled to. May God hold you and your family close and give you strength to do what you have to do.

    Love and hugs,

  • 6. Dave Cotton  |  November 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I’ll be thinking of you!
    We share the same distaste for this holiday and the next – albeit for different reasons!

  • 7. ladalangladalang  |  November 23, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Here’s my take on holding a grudge or loathing people. I’ve never had anything to deal with as tragic as you but anger is universal. Usually they don’t deserve even the slightest amount of my time or energy. I think if I waste even a minute thinking of them they win. My energy is worth something and I won’t give them a minute. It hurts me it doesn’t hurt them to spend time being mad or hating them. I just wipe their existence out of my heart. They can’t make me feel anything because I don’t care enough to. That works for me. Time is precious and even a second of anger or hate takes away time to smile and enjoy life. I look at what they did to cause you hurt related to your son and frankly don’t let them do that to you. Don’t give them the satisfaction of being the source of your anger and hurt. Haven’t they already done enough?

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    Thanks Grammy and Dave….. it is always very difficult but as I walk the days of unbidden memory reliving the last days of my sons’ life – it is just “more so:…….. and everything every sound, feeling , sight is magnified beyond all but a few’s comprehension……..

  • 9. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    LADA- Oh there is anger and there is “anger” ( the anger toward the Lombardis- their church etc is not the kind that “eats” at me …. far from it actually – I know people can’t understand where I am coming from – and in other aspects of my life and times what you say I have followed- this is soooooooooooo vastly different from any thing I have ever experienced- I know it sounds cliche but outliving your child brings with it experiences and emotions I never thought possible or even imagined … is like trying to explain the colours of a rainbow to one who have never had sight….. it is impossible for me to adequately explain – but my journey HAS to continue- even the dark way – THAT I know……… and they and their part of the story have to come along too………… it is what it is .

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November 2011

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