Birthday- Chris Ritchey- and the Chris -Miss present
In Search of my Son Part 18
Once again a week in August – a time past of celebration – the happiness of a wedding anniversary , your birthday and then mine used to cause your father such consternation ( a lot of money outgoing all in one week :).) As you grew, we started to combine the celebrations , after all, we “shared your birth” – you , I and your dad as had watched as his son was brought into the world that August day.
But that next day , whilst your Nana was being picked up from the airport and everyone was busy preparing for our homecoming, Nikki wanting to meet her little brother was all excitement – you and I had a quiet time in the hospital room – a time to bond.
I held you , propped up on my knees, looking at your little face, all red and blotchy, little finger nails so perfect and I made the promises mothers make- I talked to you of life , your big sister and how I would never let you down , I would do everything I could to keep you safe and give you happiness. I was so grateful for the gift of your life. I can remember every word I spoke to you that morning and then Dr. Shotz telling me as long as my mother would be at home with me we could leave and start our lives as mother and son and take home MY birthday gift – YOU!
Your last birthday on this planet – saw my failure – I did try but I couldn’t keep my promises made on your “birth – day.
I sat in the Cleveland Clinic waiting room, which reminded me of an airport waiting area – the big electronic sign boards telling of the status of patients and their respective surgeries – holding patterns – landed – in flight or in this case – recovery – in operating room etc. It made me feel quite ill at the cold technology announcing “status” of those under the knife in the same way planes landed at Hopkins Airport.
I sat trapped having to listening to what I considered inane comments , stupidity and selfishness of thinking by your bride’s vacuous grandmother and her brood https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/september-3rd-war-movin-on-hell-truly-is-other-people-chris-ritchey/ who had decided to “surprise us” ( although I know your “bride” wasn’t surprised )
My whole being was fraught with worry that morning , my insides were shaking and sick with fear, what would they find? My son going under a surgeon’s knife – cutting into your neck to see if the obscenity of the curable cancer had once again beaten the ” treatment”.. I just wanted to go somewhere quiet away from chatter with my thoughts. I didn’t want to be polite. I just wanted peace.
They coffee clutched the time away with their frivolous discussions of fashions, cake , birthdays and celebrations seemingly without thought of how this would affect those that did truly love you ). If there ever was a time where I heard my own grandmother’s voice it was then ” Remember Loraine, breeding will out”
I wanted to scream and shake them as the grandmother decided it would be a good time for a betting game- we were all supposed to pick a time from the time your name came on the big board informing us you were now in the operating room as to how long it would take for you to be under the knife and the time of the surgery .
“Angela it isn’t fair though you can’t be part of this as being a doctor you would know the answer – giggle, giggle, giggle” Lisa what do you say? Frank? 45 minutes, 55? an hour?
and so it went.
Nikki had excused herself and I was left alone with them. I ignored the game as best I could and tried to ignore them, all the while wishing they were somewhere else – anywhere but there, but the puerile woman would not shut up –
Come on Loraine you must have a guess, join in – otherwise you won’t win! Angela , do we have time to go to the cafeteria – Loraine isn’t it your birthday too in a couple of days – it is Chris’ today isn’t it – will you have a party, what kind of cake, will your mother be baking one or two?
I wanted to reach across the arm of the chair , as she prattled, joined by her granddaughters, and throttle her. I wanted to scream at them
Shut Up! are you all so damned insensitive you can’t see your imbecilic diatribe is ripping me apart, I don’t care about your nonsensical games , I am in torment that my son will die- can’t you see our pain you stupid,selfish people?
I kept quiet for my son’s sake. I felt like I was being swept away and immersed into a mindless black comedy. Shades of things to come, as your next birthday they placed cake and balloons on your grave.
I could stand it no longer and went outside where I vomited the choking bile into a gutter, floods of tears, held back for hours , exploded from me. Nikki came to find me and we sat away from the “prattlers” until the announcement to meet with the Dr.
As much as I try I cannot get your last birthday out of my head as the surgeon confirmed that the cancer was back- a gift of death on your birthday I had Nikki take me home – I knew that if you saw my face as you came round in the recovery room- you would know things were bad and I couldn’t bring you that pain on your birthday and I knew I couldn’t hide the horror from you ! Guilt swept over me as I also knew that by me not being there when you woke up would also cause you concern- I only hoped the excuse Nikki had to get back to feed Gavin would be plausible.I just couldn’t let you see what I know was written on my face.
I have, since you died, tried other ways to remember the day of your birth and to give Gavin, and now Braedyn, a present – a Chris – miss present so once again there will be joy, laughter and good memories associated with your special day. I try temper the memory of your last birthday and those uninvited purveyors of self with the happy laughter and giggles of your nephews.
This year, “Transformers” is the toy of the moment” Oh! how you loved that show and the robots when you were little – drove us crazy with them- and now Gavin has discovered “Transformers” and his mum will be plagued with Optimus Prime .
Nikki, will send another donation to your scholarship fund at LCCC to continue the remembering of you and your life – and I will try to make it through another
birth- day and try my very best to replace the awful memories of memories of that last birthday.
LORAIN COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE LEADERSHIP AWARD- CHRIS RITCHEY
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
The Journey- In search of My son continues
Part One - In search of my son- In search of me
Part Two – Tourjours 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 Thirteen- A Place of Echoes
Part Fourteen – An Absence of Laughter
Part 15 - Who I am , the artist speaks
Part 16- The Lowest Ebb- I knew my son- Chris Ritchey
Part 17 - The Journey Continues- I long for Laughter- Chris Ritchey
Disclaimer : These events are as I perceived them to be and are witnesssed and documented .
Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Chris Ritchey, grief, hell is other people, personal opinion, Uncategorized. Tags: Angela ritchey DO, Christopher D. Ritchey, christopher ritchey lorain, grief, hodgkins lymphoma, Lombardi-Lorain, motherhood, mothers and sons, obscenity of cancer, opinion.