When Death becomes Divorce- Chris Ritchey

January 27, 2014 at 8:47 pm 3 comments

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

The Parents ( memorial) Kathe Kollwitz 1932

I have in my lifetime , of course like all of us, experienced death of a loved one, a grandmother, grandfather, father , cousins, uncles and friends. I have cried tears reached out, tried to comfort. Any hurts and bad memories pushed away as one says goodbye and tried to ease the heart hurt of those who had loved who were left to grieve.

I couldn’t begin to imagine the pain borne by mothers and fathers of those who had lost a child. It was something foreign to me and I never wanted to know such pain.

Unfortunately, I know now how torturous, overwhelming and unending such anguish follows one day after day hour after hour as you are trapped in a surreal world.

The only experience I had, up until the point we lost Chris, with death was compassionate, a coming together of those that loved and grieved for the deceased. Honouring their final journey was paramount, in my personal experience, understanding the needs of those of the family- who were of paramount importance.

The worst thing in the world is the loss of a son or daughter. There is no greater loss- I defy anyone to disagree. Less than a year after Chris died I started to write a post- which I didn’t publish but I have now copied here.

My thoughts have not changed, my pain has not lessened. I wondered, as I wrote the draft those three ago, whether my feelings changed. They haven’t There is still the bewilderment of the cruelty faced in a parents worst of worst, the unfeeling inhumanity from those pious sycophants to religion and their church. No! they live their lives unscathed and unscarred ….



I have lived through November once again and have come to the conclusion date of a life I so nurtured and loved – my son. I unwillingly replay those last weeks, days, minutes and hours over and over again .

I question WHY? with so many things that happened- Why him, why a curable cancer that wasn’t curable- and Why didn’t I? I have had time to reflect and try to find answers for all of what happened- there aren’t any.

I knew that last day of his life how dreadful “living” was going to be without my son, I prayed I would die too. I was in such a state of confusion , the lack of reality of not fully comprehending this horror – but somehow I also knew his in-law family were not of the passionate feeling kind but they had a remarkable coolness as to the situation in which we all found ourselves fated together Little did I realize that coolness was a coldness of heart and soul that would shrivel compassion into nothingness.



I kept trying to put myself in Angela’s ( his bride of 549 days- )place – what must she be going through, I tried to understand –

I really did – BUT try as I might try to put myself in her shoes wasn’t happening- her reactions and that of her family ( especially her mother) to situations were totally foreign to me. I have said – she must have really disliked Chris family from the very outset- that has now become painfully obvious in the aftermath.

I have experienced death and when a loved one dies there was a “gathering of comfort, a support system, people understood the loss one was feeling” and when a parent loses the most precious thing in their lives their son or daughter- the gathering of comfort was intensified- because every parent dreads outliving their child. It is understood universally by everyone on the planet and yet…………

artwork Chris Ritchey

artwork Chris Ritchey

And yet this certainly wasn’t the case from my perspective with Angela Ritchey DO Now married to another Chris and now Angela Murphy DO

her parents Tim and Sue Lombardi and their clan.

They compounded the pain, anguish and grief , the most torturous time of a mother and fathers life and seemingly , at least in Sue’s case relished the power, she had by default- the power of punishment. I have written hundreds of thousands of words on what they did and the effect-


They like some plaintiffs in a divorce “grabbed ” what they were legally owed – without regard to the utter misery they caused in the day my son died and beyond. We were not a thought in their greedy self righteous thinking. Well I certainly don’t expect well wishes now of course but I can attest to the sheer anguish, pain and disgust they left with us.

In a divorce there is the dividing of assets, hurts and he said/ she said – nastiness, gossips and the trying to get the friends to take sides- this has happened as my son died and they did their worst. All this over the body of Christopher to whom I gave those days of life from my body and whom I would have traded places if it meant he could live. .

Life, I have had too many hours to ponder – I saw a television commercial the other day where it stated we live for 25,000 DAYS – it struck home – not a lot of time is it – especially to those of us who count the days wanting them to end the anguish I carry.
I decided to do some research and Chris only had 10,259. Then, as this brain that drives me, started going through those days I realized that we were lucky enough to have spent
over 9,509 of those days – every day with our son.

The days we didn’t spend with him whilst he was at CIA, we talked at 9:00 p.m. every night, when the free cell phone rate kicked in 🙂 ( he would check in) – my Chris Fix Wednesdays would see his father and I meeting him at indoor soccer games at 11:00 pm at night to give him clean laundry, money and food for the week.

Even the days after his wedding- I was there at his apartment during the roughest Chemo, I cooked for him, made him comfortable, did what I could.

I was there every day of the weeks in hospital for the stem cell transplants , taking his food, changing the sheets, getting him water, orange slices anything to give him strength and hope.

We saw him at Nikki’s every weekend and I was with him everyday during his forced stay in Texas for the “SGN 35 Trial”” in Texas -bar 6.

I didn’t question at the time WHY I was with my son and not his “wife” I was just grateful I could be with him and take care of him- I didn’t question her “absence….. or the nagging thought

why does a woman who knows her husband is dying not want to spend whatever time she can with him?

counting days
I have plenty of time to add and subtract in my research and I came up with the fact although they dated – Angela Marie Lombardi was away at college, and then at medical school, it wasn’t an everyday romance– lives were being lived elsewhere hers and his. The high school relationship in the obituary (didn’t start til his senior year and yes there were other girls ( I have the homecoming and prom pictures). In fact, they broke up at one point during his college time and a girl named Kate was in the picture. The worst decision I now realize was the talking to my son about getting back together with Angela- how many times during this horror have I wished I hadn’t interfered. His story of the “cancer may not have changed BUT ours with this “family of misfortune” would not have happened.

I added up the days and added a few more just incase the fog of memory clouded the research and I may have missed a few.

The days with Angela totaled less than a thousand – Even Anne Boleyn had a thousand days but Anne Boleyn felt the sharp edge of the axe of a “ruling family” and we have felt the weight of the sharp edge of control of the Lombardi Clan.

As for Angela’s family I never met them until Angela graduated for Lorain Catholic High School we went to her graduation- quite frankly I said to Chris – well they certainly are rude are you supposed to be dating her after all they never even said hello- I didn’t see them again for 2 years when Nikki got married and they were invited to the wedding ( Angela was a bridesmaid) and then we went to a couple of their “Christmas Eves”.

I don’t suppose in the total time Chris dated and was engaged to Angela we spent a full 24 hours ( combined) in conversation with these people. And yet, these same people took our son remains, our closure , and grace in his final days and any comfort our faith could give us . They took away with it my faith in people, in priests, in religion, in family in healing and

And now these many , many months later, the pain still writhes ,slithers and encircles and the property of control was divided as they carry on with their lives , their plans and new romances but humanity and the milk of human kindness remains lost among the perpetrators of self……….

You don’t need a bible, a priest or a social book to tell one what is right and kind unless you are amongst the hypocrites of self

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Chris Ritchey, death, Doctor/Physician, grief, hell is other people, Mothers, religion, weddings and funerals. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Lorain-The Real Postcards of Willis Leiter Feb 3rd- living after we die- Chris Ritchey

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January 2014

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