Posts filed under ‘Chris Ritchey’

Sept 3rd – Houston- Chris Ritchey


https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/28/the-stunning-images-from-record-setting-flooding-in-houston-texas.html
It amazes me sometimes when “connectivity ” happens in my life. Houston has been on the news all week with Hurricane Harvey and the great flood. I watched those streets on the television , buildings, roads , homes and areas I knew so well faced with the deluge and felt helpless and sad – something I have been feeling every day since you became ill.

The memories of those areas and another “Labor Day weekend” and the trip to MD Anderson to save your life.

“the only hope for a “cure was SGN 35” stated the officious (imho) Dr. Pohlman of the Cleveland Clinic as they brushed you off and away from their “treatment” closed to you – https://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/900-brad-pohlman – the man with hands as cold as ice. Houston we found had the SGN35 trial so with credit card in hand we rushed to Houston. We did go to MD Anderson, Houston and hope was reborn.

Two months I stayed with you in Houston in order for you to have the treatments . When you were feeling alright we toured the city tried to take our minds away from dying. In Houston we had a lovely couple take you under their wing. We were invited to their home and to their ranch. My fond memories of them and their caring hospitality came “flooding” back as I toured, through the news media ,once more those well known streets.

The memories of you on their ranch driving the feed tractor – riding horses – touring Galveston- the cattle on the ranch and the drying up fishing pond ( due to the drought they were having) the plague of red ants . I wondered how they were fairing, those cattle -were they flooded and struggling, the streets I recognized only from the before photos.

The elation I felt on that November 7th day when your scans showed clear https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/an-update-houston-and-hodgkins/ only to come crashing into hell less than a month later when you died on Dec. 3rd…. the hope that was Houston obliterated.

Yes! Houston – a city that gave us hope and welcome – I cry for Houston may they find their hope – I will always be thankful for their friendship – and I was thankful for those last days I had with you – but the memories are painful … I love you Chris that never goes away but gets stronger with each tear.

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September 3, 2017 at 11:29 am 1 comment

August 3rd – INSPIRE- Chris Ritchey

Words are all I have left – As I have gone through some difficult and very painful procedures health wise I have not complained, held my breath and let the health care personages do their jobs. I have put up with the pain and not made a sound whilst they went about their business. That would not have been the case before you had to deal with the obscenity that is cancer and all those damned procedures. I watched your every flinch, grimace , holding your breath during all those tests and procedures- but you uttered not a cry even when they literally killed you chemically – mouth full of ulcers – joints exploding in pain.

Now I deal with life differently on all levels. I know the debilitating pain you tried to hide from me in Texas, the consequences to your body after the double stem transplant – your voice so weak and yet when you would answer your phone the strength would come back into your voice for those few minutes in order to shield the caller from how you were really feeling. The nurse who said to me in those last days He is phenomenally strong- anyone else would have been on that vent 4 days ago.

You have become and became my inspiration to “deal with” – how could I be cowardly when you were so brave!

Inspire – one of the meanings of this word
2. breathe in (air); inhale.

Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare ‘breathe or blow into,’ from in- ‘into’ + spirare ‘breathe.’ The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense ‘impart a truth or idea to someone.’

In the end it was the inability to breathe that took you from us…. and yet captured in your art work is that very breath you took and blew into a celtic glass piece As soon as I saw the piece I knew it was

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

inspired by the very necklace I wore so often when you were young – you used to be fascinated by it. I made up stories for you of treasures and adventures of a little boy named Chris – pirates and treasure hunts just the way I make up stories for Gavin and Braedyn now as we go into the places of our imaginations.

I will always love you Chris until my last breath and beyond….

You are my inspiration in more than one sense of the word……………

August 3, 2017 at 12:53 am 3 comments

July 3rd – The storm- Chris Ritchey

Yesterday evening, the storms started – they came in waves- clouds whipping around in the wind as if they were of rapids in the sky, lightening making the night sky bright for a few seconds at a time pulsating in intensity , thunder- a cacophony of discontent at odds with a summer evening , rain pummeling the windows , joining forces to flood the streets , swirling , beating down the plants , trees bowing their sodden branches to the earth.

A respite between storms found the earth shaking off the deluge only to be attacked again and again. There was an energy present , terrifying in its capabilities and yet hope the storm would move away.

Moonbeam – photo Chris Ritchey


Then at 2.20 am it was not the sound of another raging storm that woke me from another night of fitful sleep- it was the silence, the eerie stillness that had blanketed the night. The only sound coming through the now open window was of the little water fountain. I lay quiet myself and thought how the storm , to me, made me recall once again those horrible terrifying days of the cancer cure…. a storm that destroyed and changed forever this family leaving us with the debris from destruction. The days of respite and hope finally culminating in the crashing down to earth of hope, bowed and broken.

The quietness of the surreal world after you passed, the not knowing what to do how to get back to a place of hope-for months you had been my whole purpose – waking and sleeping, you became my vocation – every day was filled with you – driving, cooking,waiting whilst chemo was administered, watching you sleep, researching . Then the eye of the storm passed

Depths of despair – artwork Chris Ritchey

only to once again be caught up in the lightning strikes of grief coming ever closer.. the tumultuous tides that wash over my soul.


Just as the leftover rain drops cling to the plants weighing the down waiting for the sun to ease their burden before they break with the sheer weight of it all my tears are for you- The storm for you is done but I am still lost in the darkness waiting…… I love you Chris …

July 3, 2017 at 12:07 pm 1 comment

June 3rd – Coma – Chris Ritchey

Think I Am – Chris Ritchey

I used to love June -NOW another month that causes anguish to the soul- although life is bursting , skies blue, roses red I can’t abide the ‘happiness’- the June Brides make me cringe. I remember, the day you married and by doing so brought with it the eventual pain that was “gifted” to your family by those “people”

Lombardi (Vyka etc. )and Company

The “wedding anniversary” is also the day this year when the “Clinic” will “dispose of what was left of your life essence.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/april-3rd-sample-of-life-chris-ritchey/

And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!

I have looked at the letter from those “other “doctors” telling me to make a legal decision otherwise they will dispose of….

I could not bring myself to ring them, or contact them – like an indecisive coward – I couldn’t bring anymore “finality ” into my being, I couldn’t make the decision, I couldn’t revisit the finality. I am not strong enough to face the reality of that. I know that by doing nothing the procedure of disposal will take place on what would have been your “wedding anniversary”. I wish I could dispose of those memories as easily but they come into being every June and with them the disgust I feel for the hypocrites of their religion. I am sickened by the controllers and “do overs”.

I wish things could have been different, that it was me that went on your last journey – not you. The memories of those last days and hours constantly being pushed away from conscious thought so I can “maintain some sort of balance”

Chris’ face book icon


Again the wondering and worrying of what was happening to you as you lay in that damned clinic like a lab rat on show. Could you hear as I sang to you, talked to you – tubes running everywhere. I asked for the Drs. to stop talking over you like a piece of meat that was cut off from “life”. I knew, as watched the stats, saw the rise in heart beats when they did that or when Sue Lombardi entered the room. (one of the reasons the head nurse expelled her as her presence aggravated you). Wanting “the invited others” by the Lombardis and co to leave the room as they did their collective death watch. I was frightened that if I did cause an issue it might effect or upset you and you unable to respond. Did you hear conversations? Did you know?

It was after you died and I was contacted by a young woman from the east coast in another June , she too was dying, going through the journey of hope with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma recurring , the trials, the chemo, the numerous hospital stays the days of dying.


Hi Lorraine, This is XXXXXXXX. I hope you still use this email. I found it in a post from Sept. Your blog is fantastic. Thank you so much for writing. It’s great to get a sense of the parents perspective. It’s a vision my parents like to keep from me. Take care.

We talked, via email, of how I felt and your dad as she was trying to help her parents and what they were feeling as they were being “brave”

She asked me if there was anything she could do to help me understand what you went through . I told her about your dad and how when he was intubated, after open heart surgery, in a induced coma and flooded with drugs as to how , although we could not see any movement , no squeezing of hands- he KNEW everything that we were saying and how awful it was to be trapped in his own mind.

http://www.jems.com/articles/print/volume-33/issue-1/patient-care/intubation-101-what-do-what-ca.html
In her case she too, numerous times had been intubated, drugged, paralized and comatose although she had managed to go through that so many times. Her Hodgkin’s came back 14 times before she eventually passed, she was still hopeful at the very end.
What she told me that email that June did help me some.


“your thoughts rush.. come in fragments .. you hear voices… see colors… , the movement is jarring yet you know you are not moving … you are between…. floating and yet tied… you struggle at times to surface as if drowning…

Assignment – Chris Ritchey-CIA


When you are brought back from the “sleep” you can’t really remember if you are waking from a bad dream , if the voices you heard are real and then you forget and move on to the next days. The doctors said I was dreaming that I couldn’t hear but I did tell one about his problem he was telling Nurse ( name given) , he was annoyed because someone had taken his parking place and he “was going to find out who”. He was very surprised.

She told me , for her, although what was happening was frightening she knew she was surrounded by her husband, mother , father and sister and they were keeping her safe. and that you drift in and out not knowing really what was or is real. ” it is all real your reality – to live with”

I have clung to her words , as a mother, hoping against hope that as you lay there those last days, never to come off that tube, you didn’t know the circus your dying was turning into – hoping that you thought you were dreaming and would awaken to sunlight not hearing the “dying words” – and you knew we loved you and still do

artwork Chris Ritchey

June 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

May 3rd – Kid Fix – Chris Ritchey

It became a joke around here -just as my being Marie Barone in your and your sister’s eyes “my needing a kids fix” . If I called you out of the blue it was

“Ok mum you wanting your “Chris Fix” ?

I don’t remember aging but I did and there were times during those “days of before” when I would call you or Nikki (when you were elsewhere) just to hear your voices. ” My kid fix” – just knowing the both of you were safe during those moments of my need let me rest easy.

Chris and his sister, Nikki – on the happiest night of her life


As you both moved on to adulthood and your own lives I had visions of your Dad and I becoming an old Darby and Joan

Old Darby, with Joan by his side,
You’ve often regarded with wonder:
He’s dropsical, she is sore-eyed,
Yet they’re never happy asunder

spending the remaining years just getting on with life, the two of us. That was not to be.
Horror of Cancer, took that imagined life away. Selfishness of an in -law family and their priest took any respite and dignity left to us . We are left needing a “Chris Fix” – to see your face, to hear your voice , to see your smile, to know you are OK.

Long nights turn into longer days and yet they fly by for some unfathomable reason months into years I cannot remember living. Your poor sister now bears upon her shoulders the needs of her mother and father and two little boys give strength and have become the givers of the kid’s fix.

In troubled days they bring the smiles, the voices of a male child once more and a respite denied by others and yet there is more – a child’s toy that connects us in all its innocence

I love you still ……

May 3, 2017 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

April 3rd – sample of life – Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey


At first, after you died I girded myself for the arrival of the mailman – sympathy cards, notifications in your name, even the ones from the monuments people wanting us to purchase you a headstone- at least they recognized your family should have a say. As the months disappeared into years pretty much the only mail for you would be the yearly invite to a “four-wheeler” event.

Last week however, Monday , found me opening your letter calling for you to submit work created between January 2015 and December 2016 for AIGA Cleveland . My breath was only sucked out of me for just a few moments and although I was in a foul mood and very touchy for the rest of the day, causing everyone around me to tread on eggshells, I managed.

Then the mailman knocked on the door three days later with a registered letter from the Cleveland Clinic – I can’t abide that conglomerate of medical management http://my.clevelandclinic.org/ This letter was from the Andrology Laboratory and Reproductive Tissue Bank.
Apparently they were updating records and it came to their attention you had passed away “our condolences” (written as an after thought) but we need to dispose of what remains of your son’s life ( my words) hereto known as the “sample” .

I was confused, incredulous , not sure what I was reading – yes I remembered you, on doctor’s advice, had banked sperm before the chemo. I had wondered weeks after your death what would happen. I didn’t do anything because since the Lombardis and the then your wife – Angela Ritchey ( now Dr. Angela Murphy- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/16147-angela-murphyespecially Sue Lombardi ,had made ALL the decisions as to what would be happening with you, my son and your mortal remains, with no input from his family – they would have seen to this as well. I hadn’t realized you had designated me in this instance.

And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!

I read and reread the letter , my gut churned, my mind ran amuck – this planet still holds your life essence and the cavalier Clinic wanted to tell me they were once again in disposal mode.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi


I cried ,gasped for air, memories became reality once again in the ensuing hours. Everything came rushing back – emotional incontinence, anger , disbelief, pain returned full force.

Thoughts of what could be , what should have been, pulling the plug conference in that damned hospital – stony faced Lombardis – removed from the emotions of your death – sitting at that conference table looking like they were smelling bad fish and hoping against hope I would agree to your being taken off life support. Inconvenient, if I wouldn’t agree as Sue Lombardi had already picked out the “coffin clothes”. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

I wasn’t thinking straight –

I could get legal advice about maintaining the “sample” – you see to me was more than a “sample” it was my grandchildren that would never be- the life essence of my son and yet there was hope still– surrogate mother ran through my head- what would that cost? and then the darker thoughts of what did they mean by “disposal ” did they dump your “essence of life” into medical waste, the toilet , down a sink? My mind raged , bled and remembered……

Logically I know, you had signed the contract your “sample” should be “disposed of” after your death, so I believe that is what you wanted. Even if I could find a surrogate – it would be sheer selfishness on my part to bring a child into the world when I am surely heading out of it before they would be grown and finally you had a blood cancer when the “sample of life” was taken, I couldn’t take a chance that any child born would have a chance of cancer.

I haven’t responded to the Clinic as yet- although I know I will have to but it is hard to once again have to pull that plug……….

I love you ………

Artwork Chris Ritchey

April 3, 2017 at 11:55 am 3 comments

March 3rd -Clutter- Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

It is snowing – probably more snow falling in the last 24 hours than we have had all winter. I knew the 65 degree February days were just teasing us into a false sense of spring. The wind and snow have blinded the view from the den, my eyes can only see the trees and garden, dancing white swirls blocking the ugliness of reality for just a brief while. I honestly don’t know where the hours days weeks and months have gone since you died -they seem to have disappeared or not been lived. I am constantly surprised when seeing the date or year number.

After you died I spent the days “preparing” – I cleaned out closets, threw away things that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone but me. I prepared the house and my life for my death. You see, I really believed I would not be able to live with this gutting grief and yes physical pain. I was sure I would join you before 6 months was out. That didn’t happen, I am still here on yet another March the 3rd along with an aching coldness that will not pass even in summer…….

The closets have acquired more “stuff”, the house- which I had decluttered became even more cluttered when Nana came to live and I had to put 6 rooms of her “stuff” into this house. Life and clutter carried on to the point there will be more to deal with in this house than before.
chrgarbres
Then with all the talk of “government” and “immigration” the wondering hit me-

just what did I do with my citizenship papers , passport etc


I knew I had put them safe somewhere . The strange thing about having a brain in pieces parts , divided up, one part living in 2009- the part that functions independently of my consciousness – the sleeping brain, that doesn’t -that bleeds over into mornings so another part has to decide

is that a memory , did that happen or was that the part of my brain trying to sort through the clutter?

the regular daily functions, we all experience, gets lost somewhere along with the happiness part – which sometimes does make an appearance. In all this brain clutter I couldn’t remember , for the life of me , where these very important papers ended up. The problem was neither could your father, we are both on “automatic pilot brain function” most of the time.

As we searched the probable places , I purchased a fire proof lock box for these items, your nana’s important papers and dad’s. Your dad informing me we had two lock boxes in the basement , which he couldn’t find . I had visions of us running from the upstairs to the basement and den in an emergency trying to find lock boxes and Nana’s important stuff, dads “stuff” and mine, No! I had to gather all this “stuff” together for my sake and whomever was eventually going to have to sort through them .

Finally we did find the papers and files. I started to go through them and realized I was sorting my life– my birth certificate, baptismal, marriage certificate, passport, citizenship papers ,social security, mortgage papers, Nikki’s birth certificate and then your birth certificate, baptismal, social security card, graduation … your life papers came to the top of the pile . My brain overloaded- stopped holding back the walls dividing memories, grief, happiness, laughter reality and memories, anger ,pain, loss of hope- the good and the bad and yes the ugly- lessons learned , lessons unlearned all spilling out of the “hoarding” in my mind.
memories ring
I never realized how hard this “preparation” would be – it seemed so simple to transfer those items and yet I should have known, been prepared. Nana came down with her “life ” to be added to the box and I could see she also had been on a journey as she sorted through –

“Oh! Loraine don’t ask me to do that again, that was a very difficult afternoon- it was so hard as the memories wouldn’t stop coming …………….

I love you Chris and I wish I could touch your face, hear your voice, and forget the clutter that is now me………

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Artwork-HARD Chris Ritchey

March 3, 2017 at 2:42 pm 8 comments

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