Archive for December, 2013

Gabriel Miller- a light still reaches into the darkness

Gabriel’s Last Day by his mother- Lisa Miller

http://bustershouse.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/gabriels-last-day/

This post from Lisa is honestly and terribly beautiful in its torment and shows a mother’s love for her child- and how those that grieve try to walk upright- her last two paragraphs are ones that every mother who has lost has experienced …

As I walked through the automatic doors of the CICU [cardiac intensive care unit] for the last time, the hallway appeared to stretch itself out before me, becoming endless. I stood up a little straighter and set out to make that endless walk through the hospital and across the street to the safety of our room without completely losing it in front of everyone along the way. Little did I know then what good practice that was going be for my new future.

* * * *
It has taken me four years to tell you the story of Gabriel’s last day. I remember every moment of his final two weeks in the hospital – and especially his death – as if it just happened. His death literally took my words away and society reinforced my silence as a condition of being allowed into the land of the living. After all, the grieving are so much easier to deal with when they keep their sorrow to themselves. 😕

I was reminded of that by a relative on Christmas Day this year. His boisterous “Merry Christmas!” greeting to me was met with as much of a smile as I could muster and I said “Something like that. Thanks, same to you.” He quickly responded “Well, this is a happy holiday for everyone else.” I sarcastically thanked him for that friendly reminder and went on to endure being a spectator to the festivities (again) and being reminded at every turn who was missing (still). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year indeed. 😐

2013

Gabes tree 2013moon

2012
gabemiller
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/gabriel-miller-a-child-of-light-remembering-the-smile/

Gabriel’s smile was bestowed for a just a briefness of time , but it remains in the hearts of his mummy and daddy . They, in turn, share with us a small smile sparkling in the darkness, given to those that pass a certain spot where a tiny tree brings light for just a little …… remembering the child of light …………

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/gabriel-miller-a-child-of-light-remembering-the-smile/

2011
gabe_1471_hands
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/gabriel-miller-the-missing-moonbeam-2011/

As this year passes once more it is a reminder there is a missing moonbeam, whose silvery light is lost to our world but the spark that flared into a flame of love brighter than any ray of the sun continues to burn in the hearts of those that loved their moon beam and basked in the light of his smile

2010

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/a-year-passes/

Moonbeams - Chris Ritchey

Moonbeams – Chris Ritchey

December 31st with song, laughter,food, fireworks and noise makers they will not notice a small light is no longer shining this year.

But in a home in Lorain, a mother and father dread this New Years Eve, they will not celebrate because all the fireworks, lights in the sky cannot make up for the “light they lost” – their precious moonbeam -who shone so brightly for just a little while and radiated such love and truth as to shame the dark.

December 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm 3 comments

The Headless Man Revealed- Sex does sell

As I checked the stats on my blog this morning – they were off the charts – all because of the searches for the headless man. He has been revealed . He was part of a post I wrote with regard to Downton Abbey connection and truth being even more interesting than fiction 😉

Sex does sell 🙂
fashionable_contrasts_james_gillray

I exchanged the WW2 for that boring old history of Kings and Queens and the aristocracy. However I can tell you Reality TV has nothing on these folk! But there is the connection with Downton Abbey fans. Oh! if these old walls could talk ;).

How I lost my virginity to the VERY racy real life chatelaine of Downton’s Scottish castle by Micheal Thornton

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2254473/How-I-lost-virginity-VERY-racy-real-life-chatelaine-Downtons-Scottish-castle.html

My post tied in the Downton Abbey, my mother, the abdication of a king and the late Princess Diana and today is receiving more readers than it did when first posted- ah the internet nothing goes away truly does it?

And just WHO WAS the headless man – read it for yourself :

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530439/UNMASKED-After-50-years-reveal-true-identity-headless-man-sex-picture-Duchess-Argyll-scandalised-Sixties-society.html

those old photos whether on Facebook , other social media or even polaroid’s can come back to haunt……

December 29, 2013 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Hands Up- I am Guilty- Christmas on Steroids

Ok I am going to declare here and now:

I am guilty!

I too, want to see little faces light up- I was always told I spoiled my children – in fact when I got Chris his new truck ( lease) in 2004 so he would have a vehicle he could trust rather than his 2nd hand jeep- which had seen better days even when it was first purchased -I was taken to task by Chris’s uncle( who is no longer with us)

“You spoil Chris he will never become anything

…..yada yada yada.
crjacket
Let me tell I am so glad I spoiled my son – I am glad I bought him everything I could because of course I can no longer do that. I don’t care if I went over the top I would do it again in a heart beat. Of course that has morphed into the “Chris- Miss Presents “ for Gavin and Braedyn.

And yes I do go overboard.

bys and toys collage

Gavin announced he would like a snow mobile- because his daddy has one and a truck, and four-wheeler ( which of course Gavin also has thanks to his Chris Miss presents of previous years.

helping Dad roof the new playhouse

helping Dad roof the new playhouse

Gavin wants to be just like his daddy, and go along with him on all his adventures including the snow blowing of the driveway- the other present he wanted a snow blower !

I looked and looked and even I couldn’t justify $2,500 for a child’s real snow mobile- there was only one in Ohio 2nd hand for $1,000 and that was from 1981!!!!!!

Compromise came in the form of a skidoo sled…..
Snegokat_SNOW_MOTO_S_big_c5fdb

and I waited with bated breath as to whether this would fill the bill… apparently it did because he slept with it.

Braedyn, was a little bewildered by all the boxes and wrappings but soon got into the spirit of the hunt. Braedyn is obsessed with deer- he loves them !!! I was very happy he liked his present from Nog ( Nikki tells me she awoke this morning to find both Braedyn and the deer in her bed!deer collage

Gavin was waiting to have Braedyn tow him around
gavinsled

Braedyn ,finally big enough to reach the pedals on his “own” battery operated vehicle ( Chris Miss Present) , was pleased he no longer has to sit in the passenger seat with his brother. The jeep is reminiscent of the blue jeep his Uncle Chris once had.

ra jeepres
But I wasn’t the only one spoiling the two little boys, their Uncles and Aunts, Nana , and friends also wanted to see little faces alight. Maybe that is what we do not so much “spoiling the child” as trying to fulfill a wish of joy of our own through their smiles.

After Christmas night, I came home to this house with no decorations, from my visits with Christmas,
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/27/visiting-the-holidays/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/tradition-died-the-laughter-of-innocents-chris-ritchey-january-3rd/

to an email from a cousin . I didn’t know him growing up we found each other through the “net”. He was my grandmother’s sister grandson, her son married and then later divorced and his son lost touch with this side of the family. Although he had tracked down the family stats etc through “ancestry sites” the stories weren’t fleshed out about the people mentioned.

Luckily for him family stories and scandals still had a “living history” via my mum and some of the things I remembered . That in turn took my own mind back to those early Christmases of my youth in England .

The 1950’s in the US must have been terribly different here ( if Happy Days reruns are to be believed) – London England was still suffering the ravages of the Blitz , there was not a lot of money about and in some case rationing .

Captain Wilford's House - tree

Captain Wilford’s House – tree


As I looked at the Christmas tree that adorned the Captain Wilford house one year,

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/capt-wilford-a-hero-of-the-inland-seas/

it reminded me of the little table top tree we had in its pot of earth, covered with home-made paper chains that sat on a table in our living room in England when I wasn’t much older than Braedyn . Father Christmas would come and I would get one big present ( usually a special doll) and needed clothes. But the parties and the people were what I remember most- so much laughter and uncles dressing up, games that included Pass the Parcel and Riding the Plank (blindfolded) into outer space.

I have written about my “wealthy” grandmother ” . I don’t remember ever getting a present from her, or for that matter anyone besides Father Christmas. BUT at Christmas I was allowed for a short time to go into my rich grandmother’s drawing-room with the adults. I told my cousin of those Christmases

lordad

I remembered that Christmas night- there were aunts and uncles and lots of people. There were no other children and there wasn’t a tree, even a tiny one decked out with paper chains. However there were silver serving dishes , tea services , brass, silks ,satins, curtains and door hangings with plush velvets and large floor lamps whose fringed shades moved and swayed – the firelight reflected off the crystal. It was all very Aladdin’s cave- like, there weren’t any of the thick slices of homemade bread with lemon curd, or slices of cream cake but dates, and figs and turkish delight, dainty little cakes and sandwiches.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/my-gift-for-your-december-graces-fur-coat/

I thought today of laughter and children , true family and true friends, who through these many months have stood by me and held me in their thoughts and have been patient and understanding .

I was surrounded by laughter , the smells of great cooking, twinkling lights and music during my visit to Christmas….
nogworemeres

but the best present was in the middle of Christmas chaos when a small boy not yet two – left all the excitement of toys and wrapping , sought me out , curled up on my lap – held my fingers tight in his little hand , cuddled up and fell fast asleep…..whilst Christmas passed into another “past” and memories were made …..this little child gave me the comfort and unconditional love I needed……….

Yes! I spoiled my children – but they became adults who were fiercely loyal, generous, caring and brave………. and I would not change a thing……..

December 27, 2013 at 2:02 pm 4 comments

Lorain Dudes- Tinsel Time -2013

Self

The chocolates in the advent calendars are suspiciously gone already— it must be that Christopher Pop-In- Kins – the Christmas Elf who hides in the home and on Christmas Eve returns to the North Pole to tell Santa about his young friends and his recent holiday adventure – http://www.elffun.com/christopher-pop-in-kins/
ate them already!

“All that hiding must make him hungry – NOG!”

says Gavin…..

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

and who could argue with the child with the halo????

Braedyn has been shopping and dropping-

Braedyn shopping

“MA! can we go now…..”
GE DIGITAL CAMERA

“Why can’t we go to NOG’s and POOH BAH”S house- we promise not to be naughty-”

lorain dudes card2

NOG’S NOTE– Santa Claus – via UPS and FED Ex has turned NOG’s living room and hallway into a “Box Store” – Nog is now on a first name bases with delivery men… and since the “boxes” have pictures – that means no visits from prying little eyes.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

There have been concerts with Nog and Nana and Pooh Bah and Santa has checked in , special Red Lobster lunches , (they have the best crayons….) and shopping with Nog and Pooh Bah for mummy….

BUSYBOYS

wrapping and trimming our special tree .

by  Lisa Miller

by Lisa Miller


Braedyn loved the trains and trees at Black River Landing

lorain dudes card

and now it is time to wish you all lots and lots of what you love the best ……. The Lorain Dudes- Braedyn and Gavin

December 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm 7 comments

The Memorial Project-Results- Chris Ritchey Pt 5

chrisart collage

Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/december-3rd-memorial-chris-ritchey/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-memorial-project-why-chris-ritchey-pt-2/

Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/the-memorial-project-the-interview-chris-ritchey-pt-3/

Part Four https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/the-memorial-project-interview-cont-chris-ritchey-pt-4/

December 19th- As I type this morning, once again watching the sunrise over the twinkling lights of the neighbors Christmas decorations lighting the now bare branches of the cherry tree, I am reminded of another December 19th. The day the Lombardis , your bride Angela http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147 , the Vykas , Gonzales, Zaworskis and Gotts and Father Divas took you my son, to their “family plot” without your kith or kin .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/something-wicked-our-way-came/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/because-i-was-gutless/

It was an act ( in my view) of pure selfishness,vindictiveness and without pity.
Your name was RITCHEY , NOT – Lombardi , Vyka , Gonzales, Gott or Zaworski . You were taken to their faith and their closure, denying your family even the “time of your interment in their selfishness.”

As someone said


“it is like Chris’ family didn’t exist”

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/a-memory-of-vipers-chris-ritchey/

That day, just a week before the celebration of Christmas, a day of celebration, where they dress in their finest, attend a church and profess to their God they are worthy of taking Him and His Son into their hearts. They celebrate the “Mother of their Church

http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20091221/mary-mother-of-god-begins-anew but have taken– seemingly without a thought to the consequences of such an act, of inflicting further pain to another mother.

The poster accompanying the project

The poster accompanying the project

The Memorialization by Bereaved Parents Project– gave me a chance not only to share my son, his story and to realize I was not alone – there were others who walked the path who needed……….

Memorialization by Bereaved Parents
Kara Thieleman
The death of a child is a devastating loss that has a profound impact on parents and a families . Prior research has found that maintaining /continuing bonds with deceased children is common and can be very beneficial.

This project sought to understand how bereaved parents maintain such bonds through memorializing their children as well as the meaning they find in doing so. Participants were asked to provide photographs that depict how they memorialize and remember their children thus allowing participants to provide the visual images of their choosing that capture unique aspects of their experience……….

Their children died from a variety of causes , including illness, accident , murder and unknown causes. All of the participants are female and are diverse in terms of age ethnicity, religious/spiritual beliefs and sexual orientation.

These mothers , including myself , all have the need to remember “out loud” in their own way; whether it is leaving tokens of love at the last tangible place on this earth that holds their child, a special place to go and reflect or call out to the silence “WHY” ?

The need to have their son or daughter remembered for a life that was lived, no matter how brief . The need to have a repository , if you will, of the love that was for that son or daughter that was theirs alone. A love that still flows from a mothers heart , seeking the child for which it was meant.

When the Lombardis, your bride and the “creatures of control” took you away into that place of deceit and cowardice – for not one had the strength to speak of “pity” for your family. The death of human kindness on that day led to the birth of my own memorial. A place where I revisit your life, your story and I can cry my tears and shout WHY? to the morning sunrise. I can remember you and let your art speak ….

I have only words to describe , it is a terrible thing to live out your life without the laughter of your son , incommunicable to those who have not felt this grief’s slashing ferocity. Words are inadequate………

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore http://www.drjoanne.blogspot.com/ and of the MISS Foundation
http://www.missfoundation.org/

spoke recently of a woman Käthe Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945)

“I will never forget the first moment I saw her work. I felt something inside me stir. It was a connection to the abyss, to the darkness of grief- I knew Kollwitz had seen something that I had also seen. I felt she, too, was a keeper of the dark secrets.

Kollwitz birthed art of the soul, from the depths of traumatic grief so frightening that few dare allow themselves to really see it. During WWII, her art (perceived accurately as anti-war) was banned by Hitler. She witnessed, first hand, the horrors of war and lost far too much because of it: Her grandson, named Peter after her dead son, lost his life in war too.

Look at her work. I mean, really look at it. ”

Woman with  dead child  1903 Kathe Kollwitz

Woman with dead child 1903 Kathe Kollwitz


ED NOTE: Kollwitz’s work can be raw and full of truths it can scream the most primordial scream and does

She wrote of her son:

darkness of grief  Kathe Kollwitz

darkness of grief Kathe Kollwitz

[I] made a drawing: the mother letting her dead son
slide into her arms.

I might make a hundred such drawings
and yet I do not get any closer to him.

I am seeking him.
As if I had to find him in my work.

And yet everything I do is so childishly foolish and inadequate…

I am shattered, weakened, drained by tears…
Yet new flowers have grown up which would not have grown
without the tears shed this year.

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

Men do not know the souls of one another.
Only the galley slaves know one another,
who side by side are chained, and gasp for breath
.

December 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm Leave a comment

The Memorial Project- Interview cont. Chris Ritchey Pt 4

chrisart collage
Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/december-3rd-memorial-chris-ritchey/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-memorial-project-why-chris-ritchey-pt-2/

Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/the-memorial-project-the-interview-chris-ritchey-pt-3/

The Interview Continued:
QUESTION:

Do you feel that memorializing/remembering your child in this way has been beneficial to you? If so, can you describe some of the benefits?

Yes, writing about Chris and his story has been very cathartic, for me at least- and has also filled a need I believe every mother and father has to have their child’s life recognized , they existed, they contributed no matter how little the time .

When my son died we were left with a love that had no outlet. The love that was exclusively for him, that had been his since the day he was born ( and for my part before he was born) has no direction, it has no outlet it seems to bottle up inside one , the grief and lost love chokes and builds inside until it literally brings you to your knees.

Heart of Thorns by  Chris Ritchey

Heart of Thorns
by Chris Ritchey


Sometimes the writing ( like now) causes floods of tears so you can’t see the keyboard and holding back the gulping breaths so you can finish is physically painful, but it also releases.

My daughter and my husband have difficulty in reading , the wounds are so raw but I have saved each post on disc for them and the grandchildren so if and when they are ready it will be available .

QUESTION :

Has your family/community/culture been supportive of you and your wish to memorialize and/or remember your child? If so, please describe.

Since I write the unvarnished, and non-sugarcoated truth in all my writings from politics, to history , to the organized church
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/religion/

vatcrest( especially the Roman Catholic Church- who enabled the taking of my son)-
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/ignorestance-and-the-roman-catholic-church-part-6/

the various treatments due to cancer, some of the international and local community are angry, some are helped especially those going through cancer treatments , some are pleased to know Chris better.

A great many are uncomfortable- there is sometimes a rawness to my writings that people don’t want to face. But on the whole I am not writing for them but for me and the promise to Chris I wouldn’t let the world forget him.

QUESTION :

Have you encountered any resistance from your family/community/culture about your desire to memorialize and/or remember your child? If so, please describe.

BFA project  Chris Ritchey

BFA project
Chris Ritchey

Oh yes – some wish I would go away 🙂 some want us to “let it go” – “get on with your life “, “move forward”.

By putting thoughts and our story out for the whole wide world to see or stumble upon opens one to criticism .

Some say horrible things but there is sort of an immunity that comes when you lose a child , apart from losing another child – it is the worst thing that can happen the hurt and pain is literally ground zero – their words cannot burn or sting because you are already in a place of such torment their words, for me at least, are just mere words like so many raindrops splashing on the surface of a bottomless lake.

The last question was published in Part One of this series:

the result to be continued………

December 17, 2013 at 1:07 am 1 comment

The Memorial Project- the Interview- Chris Ritchey Pt 3

chrisart collage
Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/december-3rd-memorial-chris-ritchey/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-memorial-project-why-chris-ritchey-pt-2/

QUESTION :

If your photograph includes decorations at a child’s grave or special place in your home/nature, how long have the objects shown in the photograph been there? Are they still there?

chriswin1

My collage as stated is just a few of the pieces that I love and hang on the walls of our house and that of his sisters. The one black and white window piece -he standing on the outside of the window– I have had printed into card form and use them as a thank you to the people who donate to the yearly Cleveland Institute of Art Scholarship we have in Christopher’s memory.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/sad-rund-away-hide-nog-chris-ritchey-cia-scholarship/

The memorial on my blog is ongoing

QUESTION:

Do you frequently make changes to this space (such as by adding or changing objects placed there)?

Since the space is my blog and the internet the changes are frequent

QUESTION:

Has anything ever happened to your memorial/remembrance space (such as object disappearing or being damaged)? If so, what was this like for you? What were your emotions and reactions?

The most terrifying aspect was not my personal memorial for Chris , but the fact he was buried in a place not of our faith or cultural heritage. We [his immediate family] had no say as to that aspect or his headstone and no control over the “decorations ” of balloons and garden wind ornaments ,pumpkin lights and cake offerings ( which drew vermin and ants) put there by the in-laws.

They were not of our culture and Chris hated what they used to do to the graves of their deceased family members and stated as such many times. To have what was left of my son subjected to this absolutely wounded us to the core. To us as “HIS” family it was a desecration
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/bishop-lennon-due-respect-beliefs-the-dead-and-calvary-cemetery-lorain/
Fortunately, the bride – Angela (Lombardi) Ritchey DO– has moved on to another romantic liaison and apparently she and her kind no longer visits the grave with any frequency.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/september-3rd-war-movin-on-hell-truly-is-other-people-chris-ritchey/

Chris, was not a child to have balloons and holiday decorations, which I could understand if he were, but a grown man. We never go to that place of deceit but many friends , who visit their own loved ones, make sure to remove anything they know would hurt us or minimize the loss of Chris with childish knickknacks and for them we are most grateful.

QUESTION :

How often do you visit this space? Are there times of year when you visit this space more frequently? Are there times in your life when you have stopped visiting this space? Why and for how long?

flyingfish

We don’t visit the place they buried his cremains- it has become a place of insult and control- Chris’s family visit him in our thoughts every day . Our grandchildren, only one of whom was born at the time of his death- know their Uncle Chris There is always a “Chris-miss” present from him every birthday and Christmas.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/the-fish-that-soared-well-kind-of-the-chris-miss-present/

collage signs art
My daughter, has a wall of his artwork in her house and the children know who he is , she keeps her brother alive for them .His artwork appears on the street signs in this neighborhood and just yesterday [ AT THE TIME OF THE INTERVIEW] we were at an event and there was a mural he had painted as a summer job- a mural on a storage shed at a park. The mural is still there and my daughter took the photo of the children in front of that mural- saying Uncle Chris painted this…… and the questions started and the discussion once more turned to Chris.

TO BE CONTINUED……..

December 13, 2013 at 12:32 am 1 comment

The Memorial Project – Why ? Chris Ritchey Pt 2

nochriph6

A few days ago, on December 3rd, I published another “remembering” of my son Chris.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/december-3rd-memorial-chris-ritchey/
I have, as long- time readers know, used the 3rd of every month to write about Chris, his life, the story of our journey, our pain and yes, anger .

I mentioned in the December 3rd post how I had been contacted to be part of a project on how grieving parent memorialize their children. I am now, since the project has been presented, going to share some of the interview questions put to me and the answers as to ‘WHY “THIS WAY” TO MEMORIALIZE’?

The project asked for a photo of how we, as parents “memorialized ” our son or daughter. I submitted a collage I put together of Chris and some of his work that has special meaning to me.
chrisart collage
Question :

Please describe the photograph and any special meaning the objects in it may have (such as a headstone inscription, meaning of items placed in a space dedicated to a child, or anything else you feel is important).

The photograph is of my son and some of his art work. I have made a collage of a few that have meanings for him and me.

For example, the baseball hat with the flag and the word freedom was the slide that appeared behind him as he crossed the stage at his graduation from Cleveland Institute of Art. Each graduate was required to put together a slide which told who they were- this was who Chris decided he was.

The “Hands” artwork in the background was homework, sketches of different hands – my son was throwing it out after his first year and I loved it so much I wanted to frame it – it didn’t fit in the frame so he folded the one edge. After he died I had it professionally framed they informed me they could take out the crease but, he had put in the fold and I wanted it left. It was significant to leave it for me.

photo Angela  by  Chris Ritchey

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

The reason for the collage of his artwork[ as our memorial] is due to the fact his bride[ Angela (Lombardi) Ritchey]
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147 took from us his cremains and buried them without our knowledge or input.
Therefore we haven’t a place or memorial in the traditional sense.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

I have had a blog for many years which covers many, many subjects. After Chris’s death and the terrible cruelty that followed including the statement[ a letter sent 4 months after Chris death by Angela Ritchey DO ] “I didn’t know my son”
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/i-didnt-know-my-son-chris-ritchey/

I then started writing about what we were going through and going on a journey “In search of my son”
Part 19 of the series and links to the other posts are part of our journey.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/birthday-chris-ritchey-august-21st-2013/

using his work to illustrate my thoughts.
I, then wrote to “him”[Chris} my thoughts on the 3rd of every month for a year, and have continued to do so for the past 3 years and 10 months [the time when I was contacted for the project] although my blog covers other subjects, I continue to use his art work to illustrate my thoughts and reporting on various subjects

a self-portrait Chris Ritchey

a self-portrait Chris Ritchey

Question

When did you first begin memorializing/remembering your child in this way?

The day I read his obituary in the local paper written by his “in-laws” – my son was so much more than the paltry self-serving piece written in the paper.
I could not let those words be the last words written about my son.
So I used my blog (which is well read) not only for him but it has become cathartic for me.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/my-only-son-chris-ritchey/

It doesn’t matter if thousands read about his life or just one – his story is there and in some sense his art still speaks for him.

to be continued……………

NOTE: all my posts, the reactions to what happened to this family is backed up with written documentation by the parties involved as well as witnesses to the events of what I consider to be despicable, cruel and selfish behaviours by ” those that controlled” – they are in fact the “enablers’ of this memorial for without the decisions made by The Lombardis, Vykas , Gotts, Zaworski and Gonzales https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/a-memory-of-vipers-chris-ritchey/

If things had been handled by them -with humanity, kindness, respect and thought for Chris’s family at the lowest point in any parents life instead of putting us in a realm where we “didn’t exist” – this aspect of my blog would not exist.……..

They have themselves to thank their behaviours are here!

December 9, 2013 at 3:44 pm 2 comments

December 3rd- Memorial- Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

Strength to continue…… No! the mothers, who mourn their child, don’t really continue or for that matter to “move on”- they pull and drag themselves through each day and into the next- fragmented and yet never becoming “whole” again. We have crutches , we have game faces, we have tricks to stay the course of continuing. The grief can numb you and yet rip you to pieces in an instant. The cohesiveness of you, my son, is no longer there the hold my heart and soul together.

I dread these days of memory:

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/my-only-son-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/xii-december-omega-alpha-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/december-3rd-chris-ritchey-yesterday/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/december-3rd-the-trilogy-of-tears-christopher-ritchey/

and yet I relive those last days of your life over and over and over again daily. So why the dread of facing another December 3rd? December 3rd is just another day where I am holding my breath , trying to hold back the rush of tears, fighting to stay upright and the longing for this to be a nightmare from which I will wake.

The very nature of its coming- December 3rd brings with it such an intensity of emotions that I know will cause me to flood my pillow with tears and tear at the fabric of stillness that is night with my sobbing. The dull chronic pain I live with everyday becomes a shrieking, stabbing coldness of spirit permeating every thought, every fiber of my being. I am lost to comfort.

Recently, I was asked to participate in a “grief project” for an Arizona university. The project, as I understand it, will be presented this week. Basically the gist was how grieving parents memorialize their “lost” children .

The last question asked as I filled out the projects questions is as follows:
Question:
Please use the space below to share any other important information about your child………

Answer:

Our lives changed so much the day my son died. Every moment from the time of diagnosis to his death is as fresh in our minds as if it were yesterday. There is a sort of parallel world we walk in the present – we are physically here but at the same time elsewhere in a world of horror and hope- the obscenity that is cancer will do that to you.

Watching your son lose his grip on life day after day week after week, the tests and finally helplessly watching him slip away hooked up to machines being unable to fulfill the promises parents make.

The guilt of surviving, the questioning of WHY, the deals you did in your head and out loud to a “being or entity” that ignored – realizing you are alone – for all the platitudes foisted upon you ” the God’s plan” the better place .. The people who do not have the words to comfort- how could they – trot out inane phrases – you know they mean well but they just add to the anger, because there is anger .

You don’t move on, at least we don’t, we continue , we love our daughter, son in law and grandchildren – they give us laughter and strength but always lingering on the peripheral of life is the “missing of memories that should have been” . There will never be total happiness in our lives – there can’t be. Maybe it would have been easier with the crutch of an organized religion to support one- I don’t know- it is Chris that comforts – his smile – his
his humor his thoughts as they are expressed in the works he left with us…………

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, couldn’t drag me away

I watched you suffer a dull aching pain
Now you decided to show me the same
No sweeping exits or offstage lines
Could make me feel bitter or treat you unkind

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

nikmiscelticso
I know I dreamed you a sin and a lie
I have my freedom but I don’t have much time
Faith has been broken, tears have been cried
Let’s do some living “after” we die

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away

Wild horses we will ride them someday
Wild horses, wild horses

December 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm 8 comments

Lilacs of Lorain and now Roses- Part 6

Photo  Lorain 365 Blog

Photo Lorain 365 Blog

ED NOTE: I would be remiss if I didn’t give credit where credit is definitely due to the research by Dan Brady of Dan Brady’s Blog http://danielebrady.blogspot.com/ for all his work in tracking down the newspaper articles used in this series- He WAS the “paper trail”! Also to Dennis Lamont of Lorain Street Railway http://www.lakeshorerailmaps.com/lsry.html for many of the photos used and his wealth of information and Mark Teleha of Lorain County Photographers Blog http://www.locophotogblog.com/ for his beautiful photo of the Lilacs of Settlers’ Watch and now the roses as well as his research and documentation on the THE Fountain !Marks Rose

Marks lilacs

Part One https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/11/21/why-lorain-the-lilac-city-the-paper-trail/

Part Two https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/why-lorain-the-lilac-city-the-paper-trail-2/

Part Three https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/why-lorain-the-lilac-city-the-paper-trail-3/

Part Four https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/why-lorain-the-lilac-city-the-paper-trail-4/

Part Five https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/why-lorain-the-lilac-city-the-paper-trail-5/
(Click on jpgs to enlarge)

Marks Rose
We go back to the time of the 1924 Tornado according to information and photos courtesy of Dennis Lamont

Lakeviwew

The 1924 aerial shows the same area as it looked in Sept after the tornado. The photos were made by a local photographer “Somogy” flying out of Lorain Airport

Lakeview_03

Whilst the above photo does not have a date a similar photo tracked down by Dan Brady had a handwritten notation “prior to 1924” written on the back

original bathhouse and gardens

It looks like the Rose Garden and “Rotary” Wheel was wiped out
Marks Rose

.(ED NOTE: this is up in the air literally- anyone have any information of the shape etc of gardens at Lakeview prior to 1924- the photo from BRHS with the handwritten prior to 1924 may not be correct)

***** After much discussion and enhancing of photos it is the consensus of opinion, Dan, Dennis, Bryan and myself the photo with the hand written “prior to 1924” has the incorrect information .. it is possibly mid 1930’s It was not the original bathhouse pictured from the Metro Parks website

AHA

I have enhanced and cropped the aerial shot from Sept 1924 after the Tornado that is dated correctly- we cannot see any of the “rose garden wheel” in the photo and I believe some of the hardscape should have remained since it was very intricate.

cropped and enhances after tornado

The rose garden owes its being to the Lilacs it seems 🙂 Marks lilacs

And now we are back to the Lilacs- The first Lilac Festival May 21st, 1931 the Garden Club announced the plans for Lakeview with the “plan” :
cropped enh Lakeview

The following is the newspaper account for that plan
courtesy of Dan Brady:
MAY 22 1931 LAKEVIEW1

MAY 22 1931 LAKEVIEW2

Reading the article one realizes the “fountain ” was part of the plan and further reading of articles found it was dedicated to the Veterans of World War One – after World War Two it was dedicated to “All Veterans”
Mark Teleha of Lorain County Photographers Blog ( whose daughter, friends now appear in the Metro Parks Lakeview commercial for the park- There Is a Park for That
http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=1874

has award-winning photos of THE Fountain today and yesterday http://www.locophotogblog.com/?cat=31 .

Lakeview Fountain Mark Teleha

Lakeview Fountain Mark Teleha


Mark’s blog has the full history of how and when the fountain was built and it can be found here:
http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=347

old fountain

On July 15th, 1935, monies were allotted from the War Chest Fund for the construction of a lighted fountain at Lakeview Park. Work began by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) on September 16th of that same year, at a cost of $12, 450. The following February, on the 14th, found the War Chest Committee denying funding for the fountain. Superintendent of Parks George Crehore obtained permission to purchase scrap stone from the Quarries in Amherst.

at night

May31 1932The celebrations and dedications continued at Lakeview:
Rose Garden 1932

On MAY 31ST 1932 MAYOR CONLEY DEDICATED THE ‘LAKEVIEW MEMORIAL ROSE GARDEN – TO ALL OF LORAIN’S MILITARY ORDERS

We are here that our soldier dead should be honored and it is to this end and in honor of the living that I now preset , in behalf of the city this memorial garden to you “

MAY 31 1932 Pt 1

MAY 31 1932 Pt 2
Marks lilacs

The Lilacs eventually gave way to the Rose Festival and Queen- Marks Rose

June 1 1938 Part1 roseJune 1 1938 Part2
June 2 1938
June 3 1938 Part1
June 3 1938 Part2

As we saw in Part 5 the Lilacs made somewhat of a comeback in 1939 – but time , wars and history moved on, things , people places and visions became blurred and Lorain lost her title of the City of Lilacs – but there are remnants left and

Program   back and front  Chris Ritchey

Program back and front
Chris Ritchey

In August of 2007 Settlers’ Watch was dedicated
http://www.locophotogblog.com/?p=390

and the garden holds some special Lilacs

lilacs lorain
Photo Lisa Miller
one of which was planted by Bryan Goldthorpe – the Manager of Lorain County Metro Parks Lakeview Park ( caretaker extraordinaire of the very fountain and gardens ( and Lilacs???) the great-grandson of Mayor Paul Goldthorpe of the Lilac City who along with Bryan’s grandfather met the Lilac Train……….
Marks lilacs

The End of the Lilacs?????? up to you – Lorain 🙂 You can see the Trains and Trees display and the Charleston Village “Lilac” Tree here

International trees

December 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm 8 comments


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