Past- Passed- Forgotten by most – Remember for just a while- Chris Ritchey
I was speaking to a mother, who too, was bearing the grief of losing her son. She related a conversation with her husband. ( I am paraphrasing) Apparently he needed a password , she told him the password- he said
Oh I thought you would use XXXXXXXX birthdate.
her thinking was
People might associate it with me so it wouldn’t be secure.
Her husband said :
we would be the only ones apart from (immediate family) who would remember that – we are the only ones that remember him now
People move on- as the months pass- anyone who has “passed over” – no matter who- friend, father, husband , mother, wife, uncle and aunt are forgotten more and more in the hours/ days/ weeks that pass after a death. Life takes over death.
Oh! we may bring them out during conversation at gatherings-
remember ‘Bill” and the time he …. or Mi Ma made the best lasagna ….
but as the months go by so do those that have died.
We may pop up to the cemetery ( if it is close) and put something ( hopefully appropriate) on their “grave” on special occasions- the hat tip to memory . It is the way of life, except when you outlive your child- as a mother I can tell you this is a different type of grief – the memories are with you and you struggle with the memory and missing.
Maybe it is because there is another aspect to our grief – something else that tugs- maybe it is the fact your child did not get to live out a “life” – maybe because they were so loved and important to you that when you realize they are being forgotten in the grand scheme of life although their impact on your life is so monumental- the rest of the world has moved on–
That realization is harder to bear somehow as your child didn’t have their “chance” and it is now seemingly, as if they never existed, the pain is compounded .
Your child of your heart will never find the cure for cancer, paint a masterpiece, leave a legacy of any importance( especially if they didn’t have the chance for children of their own) – their lives too short to make even a nominal impact on this our civilization. They are gone – a momentary blip on the radar of living.
When they were born- you have such hope for their life -what they will be who they will be – and then nothing – it is taken .
I have mentioned how my grandson “knows ” my son but only because his own mother talks about Chris everyday, –Chris is part of his daily life . If that were not the case the little boy, would only know of his Uncle Chris when someone would mention –
Oh! Gavin has Chris’s temper or Chris’s hands
but even that, as the years go by, people will “forget”– Chris has already started to fade – become distant, the ripple of memory dissipating until it is no more in the living of their life. It will happen to all of us eventually, we will become probably a search term maybe in future decades as someone looks for the ancestors.
Our lives boxed into – born – married- died and few census reports– our everyday existence limited to a few notes in newspapers or public records. Even if we achieve some nominal fame that too will fade – Who invented the gun – or how about more recently “Super Glue ” – or the assembly line ?( bet you thought it was Henry Ford – you would be wrong – Ransome Eli Olds )
Yes, we all pass into oblivion eventually-
all those young warriors whose headstones fill the countryside in Europe but all those other nameless mother’s children who died on so many battlefields through the centuries forgotten now –
My son left a legacy of his work- his paintings ( although to me are priceless), I admit aren’t very good – they will never be classified as a masterpiece, his real talent lay in another aspect of his work and although his peers at the advertising agency stated
:”he was poised for great success”
– it is probably only Nikki and I and his dad that know which commercials were his clients and whose heart-strings tug as they are played or are still in print- soon though they will be replaced.
Tonight I will attend the dinner at Lorain County Community College and meet the recipient of last years “Christopher Ritchey Leadership Award” – that and the Cleveland Institute of Art scholarships help me – knowing that his legacy is not just a designer headstone and a cursory glance by those passing by on their way of “memory”
Debra L. Richter
Alumni and Scholarship Coordinator
Lorain County Community College Foundation
1005 N. Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
440.366.7758 – Office
440.366.4078 – Fax
If you would like to contribute to the Christopher Ritchey Memorial Scholarship at CIA please do so by sending the check to :
Attn M. Kinsella
Cleveland Institute of Art,
11141 East Boulevard,
Cleveland, OH 44106
mark Chris Ritchey Memorial Scholarship