Sept 3rd- Confidence- Chris Ritchey 2014
The day war was declared- your Nana, a survivor of living history,remembers that Sunday well like it was yesterday.
It was one of those defining moments in life. A war, that saw your grandfather have his youth , innocence and joie de vivre ripped from his being , not to ever fully come back to him.
Their young lives changed forever by a few words spoken on that September 3rd .
Your life was changed forever and ended by words – you have cancer
I know that I have changed but I hadn’t realized how much. Last month a gift- a VHS tape – found on the floor of the garage-
Your dad brought in the bag of VHS tapes and started to play them. There you were, once again, your childhood played out in the pool, on the soccer field , rowing boats , Christmas morning, skiing laughing and loving with us
I still can’t watch most of the tapes , it is like trying to breathe underwater. Looking at the dance tape of Nikki with Braedyn and Gavin – little Braedyn glued to the screen as his mummy danced, Gavin telling his mummy – you are beautiful
I saw myself , the MC of the event taking center stage – I was so confident, knowledgable , open to the audience , carefree, laughing, smiling and welcoming. I saw myself in a swimming pool with our family, your sister and friends racing the lengths of the pool , the music of laughter rang once more in this house as the tape played and those voices of summer came back from the past. .
And then a Christmas morning , the living room which held so many Christmases, your Nana and I sitting on the couch surrounded by presents , the noise, everyone talking at once, the puppy – that was Sheena , the paper wrapping making a pile in the center for Sheena to attack. What struck home with me was the laughter and conversation in which Nana and I were engaged. We didn’t stop talking and laughing – I was confident enough to make a complete fool of myself with the most horrendous pair of earrings. I still have those damned earrings , but I no longer have you or the me that I was.
I knew I lost ME when you got cancer and died- but I hadn’t realized how much of me I had lost . I was looking at another person, not recognizing her at all anymore. She died too and I grieve for the faces of life caught in a web of video. I grieved for the loss of laughter, happiness and confidence. I am so different , no longer the daughter, wife, mother , friend and neighbor of before.
I am reminded by the collage that will play such an integral part of the book I am writing “of you”
Confidence Gone– I opened up to you and my lack thereof – in Texas on another September day as you wrestled with cancer and untruths- set in a holiday setting of palm trees and sparkling waters – I spoke to you that day – unsure…
You see when a son marries he brings into his life another woman- it is very difficult in the best of circumstances for a mother to sit back and watch decisions being made that in some cases I did not agree with in a normal situation- this terrible situation we find ourselves all thrust into makes it doubly hard. But I have deferred to you both and to her “medical expertise” with this obscenity of Hodgkin’s that has engulfed us. It has been one of the hardest things in the world for me not to interfere or to put in my two cents. There have been times Chris, when I have doubted my own abilities and lost confidence in myself – I have gone against my own gut feelings and yet there is a voice that tells me to still be protective of you .
and so I continue – no longer me – no longer with hope, no longer belief in a greater all knowing supreme being, no longer happy, welcoming and confident just a transparent shell of before…. whose smile only surfaces when two little boys break through the endless night of losing you…….. the other self
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