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

November 2, 2012 at 10:30 pm 3 comments

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.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/30/flames-the-fire-of-talent-and-remembering-cia-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/cleveland-institute-of-art-chris-ritchey-scholarship-year-two/

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

http://drjoanne.blogspot.com/2012/10/revolution-on-standby.html#

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.

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Entry filed under: Chris Ritchey, death, grief, Love, Mothers, Third. Tags: , , , , , , , .

The Winds ( and of change) of Lorain Invitation to Honor- November 11th – Sunday Lorain

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lisa  |  November 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    “A grieving mother doesn’t fall – she crumbles. And sometimes the best glue isn’t strong enough to hold her together, even if it has been working for a long time. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to find her weak spot and shatter her fragile shell. Know this – her tears are NOT a sign a weakness. They may be the bravest thing she has ever done.”

  • 2. Mary  |  November 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Loraine, my heart breaks for you! I think of Chris every time I go to the cemetery to tend Sean’s grave. I wish I had known him.

  • 3. thatwoman  |  November 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    you would have liked him Mary he too, did not suffer fools 🙂 and was a fighter and had such an irreverent sense of humor…… and I miss that humour so much it tears at my being…….

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