Archive for November, 2012

Between the worlds – The Black Hole Feeds


There is an article today on the BBC website about the Giant Black Hole getting set to feed in our galaxy

“Black holes have had a bad rap. We’ve always thought of them as these dark, brooding destructive entities, but it turns out their influence is much more creative. Black holes help to regulate galaxies, acting a bit like a pressure valve that prevents star formation from running away with itself”.

The Black Hole a pressure valve??? I have fought the “black hole” that pulls me in my grief like the clouds of cosmic dust that I have become – no longer stable and solid -just fragments of what I once was sliding around without direction in my own painful universe.

This week I am between worlds – I live and relive the last days of Chris’s existence on this planet- the terrors that held me and still reach out- I tried to find answers in these months of longing for release from a gravity of grief. There are no answers – where is the love and compassion that should come with the death of a son? Lost – in greed and selfishness. And yet I remember … these days of just yesterday ……….

Angela Lombardi Ritchey DO- Sue Lombardi- Tim Lombardi

THE ACTS OF PEOPLE- I still can’t understand-

I still find this scenario incredible What kind of people are more concerned in the “funeral fashion statement” of their son-in-law and new husband will wear as he is clinging to life. Who calmly looks at their dying groom and is concerned about jacket or no jacket, what kind of people are these ?- How could you even discuss this as a sister holds her dying brothers hand and tries to give him comfort. How could Angela even contemplate that next move? I just know that anyone who loved my son deeply would not be thinking of “dressing him in his coffin” in their last moments together !


I don’t know how I am going to write this today- I have been told due to the surgery earlier in the week not to blow my nose – ( I won’t go into detail)- that is hard not to do when tears are streaming down cheeks and all that goes with that. Writing about the events of the past year has been tremendously difficult – there are times I am crying so hard I can’t see- but our story has to be told- the truth must see the light of day because Chris is worth every tear , every word- He was taken from this family- by Cancer and by self-serving cruelty – this is the story as it effected and still effects this family and it will be written – it is the only closure given to me………….


The Alpha- The beginning of another kind of hell that day of losing our hope and your life that continues to swirl and pull – no peace -a closure denied – – the discovery of wickedness that shows the depths of selfishness that can be found even amongst those that preach compassion and love – an evil wickedness that compounds and adds to the already unthinkable that of outliving your child.

As shock and disbelief mixed with grief and love stirred with wickedness of self-service of those that proclaim faith an anger started to fill the emptiness of the vessel of my being -an anger that replaced the hope- an anger that grew with every passing day fed by the actions of cruelty and selfishness of those that professed a love.

and I drift ever closer , spinning in an unknown universe to what???
A work by Chris Ritchey

November 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

The “Rescue” dog (s)- life -lines- love

In the 1995 Sheena came into our lives as a rescue puppy. We had had some issues with neighborhood children climbing over the back wall into our garden. The day they put soap in the pond and killed the fish was the day I went to the animal shelter for a dog. I am not a great dog fancier- truth be known they scare me – but enough was enough time to scare someone else!

Sheena, was among a litter of 8 – half labs half shepherd- pups. Nikki and Chris each picked one out and were saying

“please please please this is the one”

but my eye caught a solitary pup in the “meeting area”. She was being looked at by a mother and father and a little one- she sat there so patient ( especially for a puppy) whilst the little one hugged and pulled at her .

Oh she’s the one I want , please don’t you adopt her , she belongs with me.

Luckily they didn’t and we did! Sheena grew and became a member of this family. Sheena would spend her evenings with my husband as they “walked and talked ” in the garden . She slept at his feet . I saw such intelligence in Sheena eyes, she knew exactly what you were saying . She took great delight in “snow play” with Chris

Oh! when she was a pup she dragged every piece of firewood from the pile onto the grass- ate off all the heads of the gnomes in the garden and would wait by the front door for the Nikki and Chris to come home from school to show with great pride the decapitated gnomes.

Fast forward to 2007 when my daughter came in from Toledo – her neighbors were moving and couldn’t take their 10 month old Lab with them. Nikki was looking for a home for the dog. She stopped off here and this tail wagging apparition with green eyes and dusky pink nose ended up at the back door and winning my son’s heart in the process. Just what I needed! Misty also had penchant for Gardens Gnomes

Oh poor Sheena, in her dotage, she was having to put up with Misty- it was bad enough when Tetley, my mum’s Pekingese, would come for a couple of days

but this “daft dog ”
was not going away. As always Sheena accepted everyone and everything with a grace born of a champion.
However, within a few months at the age of 13 Sheena had to leave us. My husband was heartbroken, as were we all, but Misty , well Misty with her dino personality and demands to play and have her way kept us “awake” to her needs and rescued us from unhappiness .

When Chris, our son, died
and our grief was and is so crushing, it was Misty who became our rescue dog- she rescued us every day- she walked the path of grief every day with my husband , she oozed love and compassion, she “knew” when and what he needed- warmth, love ,affection, someone to listen, companionship and she gave it to him and to us unconditionally but it was to my husband she gave the greatest help. She truly was his rescuer from gutting grief that chokes. She instinctively knew what he needed. To lose Misty was just another blow to hearts already broken with loss.

Oh there is Tetley- Oh dear Tetley – my husband and Tetley have a mutual “toleration of each other”. But in his own way Tetley has become his own brand of rescue dog, his “excuse me but what about me” personality has kept my mum going after the trauma of having her home taken away in such a selfish manner-
Tetley has been there to cuddle and talk to – he saw her through too.

I watched as the loss of Misty added yet another burden on a heart already over burdened.

She is “Shadow”- not exactly a “rescue dog in the true sense of the word” but one who is rescuing – She has the demands of a puppy- I had forgotten razor-sharp teeth, the need to be taken outside to do her business – no matter the cold- the need to play, run and chew and yes she too has discovered the Gnomes in the back garden – they too are no longer safe 🙂

She demands and has bonded with my husband to such a degree she is his shadow, hence the name.

Teltey is far from amused –

his tail held high as well as his nose is ignoring the situation, as much as he is able – in the hopes the “intruder” will leave. However, Tetley is also missing Misty and waits by the door to the bedroom ( Misty’s domain) every morning hoping she will come out I am sure to search for squirrels and pussycats once more

The Rescue Dogs- they come in all shapes and sizes and breeds – they have rescued US and continue to do so !!!

November 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm 11 comments

Misty Morn- No more squirrels and pussycats……….Chris’ Dog

This should have been a post about the before and after of the Eric Barnes’ – Heroes Walk. Instead I once again am reduced to blinding tears. Misty , who some of you know used to be my guest blogger from time to time ,
who literally saved my husband from himself, grief of such depths from which only she could rouse him.

Misty Morn- Chris’ dog and companion who loved him I would think as much as we did and do- has joined her master.

She was fine yesterday morning , she did her rounds chased a couple of pussycats before her breakfast , sat out on the balcony in the sunshine surveying her territory. It was late afternoon when my husband said –

“something is wrong with Misty she had slowed way down

Could it be she had eaten something ? Had she been eating Tetley’s food again ? Maybe she need to have a walk to get the juices flowing. Even the word “walk” which used to send her in a frenzy of


tail wagging and jumping behaviour was only 40 percent of normal. They left for their walk and I went to a function with my grandsons.

When I returned home both Misty and my husband were not doing well-

Something is definitely wrong- Do you think she could have been poisoned?

Her symptoms were more of “bloat” but she didn’t seem to have a distended stomach- the decision was made we went to the Emergency Animal Clinic –

Misty’s large and loving heart was surrounded by blood- there was a tumour and somehow I gathered from the vet – to be perfectly honest I couldn’t really tell you what he was saying – his mouth was moving but I heard those words 60 per cent chance the tumour was cancerous and I was immediately transported to another waiting room in another time I couldn’t hear anything . The nurse came in it was now about 11 p.m. with my daughter, whose eyes too were red and crying.

What I did gather, as we waited, all three of us now awash with tears – this tumour had caused the bleeding around the heart – a bit like an aneurism. Pericardial Effusion

So once again a decision to say goodbye to a life – one that had given us so much in her short time here – who had mourned with us- kept us close and safe. Misty is no longer here this morning to chase her squirrels and terrorize the feral cats or hunt the forbidden frogs. She, like her master before her, will not feel the Christmas snow .

Oh Misty Morn …………………………

November 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm 15 comments

Dedication Ceremony- Eric Barnes – Heroes Walk-The coverage

Thanks to Joe Bock from Lorain City Schools Channel 20 who uploaded to You tube

Further update” More pictorial coverage from Mark Teleha

UPDATE: further coverage on the LCS Channel 20 and from their face book page

Photo Roger Brownson

The sun warmed the earth and air the young people of Lorain High School Marching Band and the Lorain High JROTC, the representatives from the United States Marine Corps, The United States Army, Unites States Air force, the United States Navy warmed hearts. It was a morning of tribute to the young by the young as they stood proudly honoring the young men who gave their lives- the ultimate sacrifice.

The coverage for the dedication can be found in the following links . The area media also has to have our heart-felt thanks, their coverage of the project as it progressed reached out and their readers sent in donations. Without such generosity the project would have been “less”.

This is phase one of the walkway more to come.

In the meantime please view the videos of the morning taken by Mark Teleha of Lorain County Photographers Blog

Photos by Lisa Miller on the Lorain 365 Blog ( one of the Morning Journal Media Bloggers)also on her blog Busters House

The thoughts and photos of Dan Brady- who designed the Commemorative Booklet – of Brady’s Bunch of Lorain County Nostalgia

Chronicle Telegram-

Heroes Walk memorial trail dedicated on Veterans Day filed by Evan Goodenow

“They share pain from a loss that will never go away and belong to a club that no one wants to be part of.”

Morning Journal Photo Jason Henery
Heroes Walk: Pathway dedicated to fallen soldiers by Jason Henery

I’m going to donate my time to make it nice,” Torres said of the park. “I’m glad for my city to appreciate the sacrifice my son made.”

Photo Lisa Miller

As always click on photos to enlarge and thank you everyone who made this dedication memorable –

November 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm 14 comments

November 11th- 2012 – Lest We Forget

November 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm Leave a comment

Invitation to Honor- November 11th – Sunday Lorain

Click on jpg to enlarge

Charleston Village Society along with their project partners, Black River Historical Society and Lorain Growth Corporation, wish to invite you to the dedication of the Eric Barnes’ Heroes Walk. The walk way connects the Settlers’ Watch green space to the Admiral King Tribute Site. Along the walkway, named after Airman 1st Class Eric Barnes who gave his life in service to his country in Iraq 2007, are tribute spaces to Marine Lance Corporal David Hall- Afghanistan -2009, Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese- Afghanistan-2011, Army SSgt Lois Torres- Afghanistan 2012 and Army1st Sgt. Bruce Horner- Iraq- 2007.
The dedication will take place Sunday, November 11th at 10:50 am. , the time has been chosen so that we may have a minute of silence at 11:00 am. The event is planned at the north entranceway of the walkway – Settlers’ Watch, 2nd and Oberlin, there is also parking at 1st and Oberlin Ave.

Please join us in honoring these young men, born in Lorain who have given their lives in the service of their county

NOTE: Many thanks to Dan Brady of for the design of the commemorative booklet

November 8, 2012 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

November 3rd- The Meltdown and under the raft- Chris Ritchey

October has come and gone- I have managed to “share” on the blog the writings of others and their information to keep the blog open- I haven’t been able to write or research or revisit life . I lived many Octobers and lifetimes as I wake each morning in these pastdays of October .

I had a conversation recently with someone who nearly drowned as they experienced white water rafting. The raft threw them out somehow and they then found themselves sucked into a vortex or whirlpool below the surface. Their next experience was being “burped” back up only to find themselves under the raft , again they were sucked down and burped back up to once again find themselves once more under the raft. Running out of air they gave over to the waters and no longer fought the whirlpool however just as they gave in they found themselves spluttering and choking at the surface and arms reaching to grab them.

I am trapped under the raft these past weeks- waiting…….

October 4th I was supposed to attend the CIA Scholarship reception to meet the young lady who was the recipient of this years Christopher Ritchey Scholarship. The past two receptions have been extremely difficult but I managed because I had arms reaching to hold me up.

This time (at the very very last-minute) life got in the way , if I was to attend I was going to have to go alone. I thought

I can do this for Chris – I have been before- I know the pitfalls – I know what to avoid- I can hold this together to honor my son

and so started my journey to CIA.

However, I am terrible with directions and as for the car’s GPS well I can’t program my voice mail on my phone so that was not an option. As I hit 90 I started planning my route and remembering

I knew how to get to CIA all I had to do was go the same way I used to drive to Chris’ old college apartment

but as I remembered the way- I remembered…..the memories of past journeys of laughter , happiness, going to see my son for lunch, dinner to explore his world , to view his art , I saw his face ……

I could feel myself fragmenting, emotionally disintegrating with each mile. I held my breath to stop the tears, the constricting of the heart muscles and chest, the swallowing and gulping of air. Mascara mixed with hot tears burned my eyes and fell dirtily onto my blouse, my hands gripped the wheel with white knuckle intensity .

I was becoming a mess and probably a danger to those on the road with me. I pulled off, opened all the windows, so the cold air would hopefully numb the pain , I turned around and came home the back way ( less traffic).

The Meltdown:

I fell in my front door , the sight that greeted my mother must have been a shock to her , I exited my car wind-blown , disheveled, unable to speak as now the racking sobs were released once I had parked the car , mascara laced tears blinding me, I rushed to my bedroom closed the door and the world out and gave into the vortex of grief – I wanted no one , I just let the emotions pummel me – there was no stopping the tumult. I raved at the heavens, the injustice, the cruelty, the waste and the missing of my beautiful son and the damnable guilt that once again I had let my son down.

Eventually, after hours of being battered and emotionally bruised and vomiting grief – I slept – only to wake up under the raft. And that is where I have been , through all the good , beautiful, bad, happy and disastrous days of October I am caught under the raft waiting to surface or drown ……

I am not alone, there are others that try to surface and there are those that categorize us- those that know not the path a mother/ father treads… they just THINK they do-

Revolution on Standby: Bereavement and the DSM-5
Please read the full blog post here

As the presidential election approaches, there is a quiet revolution on standby…

We will not remain silent on behalf of the suffering.

The literature is clear: long-term psychological distress is common in this population and other populations suffering traumatic deaths. The psychological distress in the bereaved parent population endures for much longer and is much more intense that other types of bereavement, yet this is congruent and appropriate in anachronistic loss (see Sanders, 1979; DeFrain, 1986; Qin & Mortenson, 2012; Cacciatore, Lacasse, Lietz, & McPherson, in press). Thus, we oppose its pathologization. As an advocacy organization, we feel that the DSM 5 proposal is radical, unnecessary, challenges what it means to be human, and is a dangerous move for our families who are already vulnerable to inappropriate and misguided psychiatric care.

November 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm 3 comments



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November 2012