Posts filed under ‘Chris Ritchey’

Feb 3rd- sick of hospitals- Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey Face Book page

A whole month  has passed since I  last wrote  and I  have in the last three weeks spent more time in ER’s  talking to  Doctors -that  don’t know us -explaining past issues. ICU becoming my  2nd home and all the different  protocols.

I want to  get off this band wagon of monitors, that beep  and fluctuate I have seen too many  of them since you  were in that dreadful Main Campus  Cleveland Clinic (Tausig).  I have traversed the  halls , waiting rooms in hospitals in Elyria, Westlake , Houston Texas  and Lorain.

I  am so  tired of the unexpected and having to  have the strength to  advocate.  This latest ill-health  go  around sudden and quick is going to  drag out into months. Touch  and go  10  days ago…….

The flawed Hand of the Healer by Chris Ritchey

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I can spot an officious nurse at 10 places, know the ones that listen , talked to  professionals , that know their stuff I  am sure , but the accent is thick so  I  become infuriating to  them as I  have  to say  “repeat that please.”

 

I have sat in ER’s  waiting for results of scans and tests. I have sat in the waiting rooms with  total strangers that reflect the fear , hopefulness and dread that I know is written on my  face just as it is on theirs .

I am exhausted with illness, dying and decisions , keeping up my  strength  to be my  family’s advocate all the while wanting to  run away  and not have to  deal with  anything at all.  Life changes looming.

One of the most infuriating things is the fact that all these different hospital systems  but when it is  an emergency  you  are taken to  the  nearest ER . If they  are under a different network your health  records are not available, so  the ER does not have a base line as to  your previous health issues. Family  are left explaining in layman’s terms as to  your history and then when you  contact you  own medical team you  have to  explain the new issues. You  can request those medical records be sent  ( they  don’t like it  but insist).

Anyway   weeks of hell again looking at those monitors for every  heartbeat…………… and the horrible reminders of your last days flooding in my  brain as the smells , the squeak of rubber shoes on shiny  floor , the monitor alarms add yet another pain to  deal  with as you  sit quietly  waiting………..

I love you  still  and your bravery  still reminds me to  fight

Hands – Touching- Hands – art work Christopher Ritchey

 

 

February 3, 2019 at 11:54 am 3 comments

Jan 3rd,2019- Mystic/Magic – Chris Ritchey

Another year dawns, this past one has not been pleasant for the most part. No further answers to  the question we all really  want to know what happens after our body  fails. Is there an “essence of life” that continues? The life “energy”  that makes us unique to  ourselves , can that be destroyed , gone, obliterated ?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/energy-can-neither-be-created-nor-destroyed/

Questions that have been asked and answered in  various religious beliefs for a few thousand years. But , when you  get right down to  it you  won’t really  know till your own body  fails. YOU  KNOW,  my  darling Chris, my  mum –  now knows.

Mum and Balcony

Mum, who  lived a full 99 years, a voracious reader, travelled , lived in three different countries, met hundreds of people of varying walks of life. She would listen to  the religious leaders, watch them on the Sunday  shows, in her youth  questioned them at length.  In her last days she would talk to  the Hospice Nurses as to  their belief as to  what would happen but she had no  answers in even those last days .

As I  sat beside her , holding her hand , watching and trying to  ease her final “body life” moments , there was no  answer for me, she and her  life energy  slipped quietly  away.  The same with  you  -although hooked up  to  machines , but by  the time they  disconnected you  I already  knew you  had left hours before.  Somehow, a mother knows when her child is no  longer with  her, at least I  did.

We all so  need the mystic and magic, hope that there is more somehow to  our world, my  thoughts segued to  my  earliest beliefs and tiny  child’s  belief in fairies.

I lay  awake in today’s very  early  hours, wracking my  poor brain as to  who  first told me about magic and fairies and a world beyond that had nothing to  do  with  religion, that came later when my  mother would drag me to  church  in Canada.

I couldn’t for the life of me remember , it was as if I  had always known about the possibility  of a  “magical” realm I so  wanted to  believe in. As a tiny  tot I would play  for hours in the  garden rockery ( rock gardens were a staple part of the garden and the place where fairies loved to  dwell) building fairy  homes, looking for fairy  circles  in the morning dew, positive they  existed and wanting to  catch  a glimpse. I told my  children about fairies and then my  grandchildren ( before they  got to  the age when they  think I  am dotty).

 

I went back in my  mind , trying so  hard to  remember my  grandmothers telling me stories of fairies . No,  the one used to  recite romantic and adventurous poems  and tell stories of unrequited love. Mum’s mother , tired and worn from life, would tell me stories of the happenings of her children, my  father- science fiction, space aliens and travels to  the stars. My  mum never told me fairy  stories, so who? And then it dawned , my  reprobate of a “grandfather”. A memory  from the mist, taking down a saucer of milk   whilst everyone in the house was asleep, woken from my  tiny  bed, slipper-less feet, cold on the  tiled kitchen floor quietly  putting the saucer down for the hedgehogs  as they  carried the fairies to  dance in the moonlight.

I  realize now, he was drunk again probably , he was an inebriate that is for certain. I supposed going through  the trenches in France and being a professional soldier he may  have had some issues we would recognize today.

Fairies a gift from Chris

All I do  know , is that as angering and annoying he was to  the rest of the family  and his children- HE was the one who  came home with  kittens and the odd baby rabbit or two   in his pockets for me, flowers from his flowers shop , never were his pockets empty , little gifts.  He taught me to  love the flowers in the garden and only  pick certain ones  , to  leave the blue bells ( the fairy  flowers) in the woods.

As I  lay  there in the half light of a New year  my  mind  wandered to  when he was he was in hospital, I  had only  been married a few weeks, we went to  see him . He woke long enough  to  squeeze my  hand and say  ”

I  can go  now- “maggot” ( his nickname for me )  I  have seen you. 

We left the hospital and on the short ride home I could still feel the pressure of his hand  and I  knew before we got to  my  Aunt’s house he had gone without her having to  tell me.  He had said goodbye  and with  him went his “magic”, given to  me only ???  and a memory of an old man , not well loved who shared  a bit of the mystique of this world.

One memory  triggers another and I was back in your hospital room  your stats were fluctuating , nurses and techs adjusting machines and then your hand squeezed mine so  hard – I  didn’t know what you  were trying to  tell me but I think  I  do  now……. you  were saying goodbye ……..

But then the magic of you  continues……….

 

 

January 3, 2019 at 10:29 am 2 comments

Dec 3rd- crumbling walls- Chris Ritchey

Although  I  write about you  every  3rd day  of every  month as a way  to  release my  grief, love of you and so  you  are not forgotten, December 3rd is looming. The dying days that start at Thanksgiving – the day  I sat alone in the waiting room as you  were put on the vent.  I  relive that day  and that intensive care waiting room  every  year  dreading I won’t be able to  hold myself together amidst all the joy  of turkey , pumpkins, pies and laughter.

The circus that ensued  that terrible Thanksgiving Day  at the Cleveland Clinic thanks to “those others” (Lombardi)  who  finally  came to “wait”, share  dry  turkey  and cold mashed potatoes and discuss recipes whilst you  were fighting for your life  sickens me still. I  could never understand their reactions of party hearty   , picnic time- it is a wonder they  didn’t bring celebratory  wine. Respect and kindness to  your family as we tried to  deal with the losing of you   certainly  wasn’t on their menu .

artwork Chris Ritchey

It starts with  Thanksgiving  , the defense walls are reinforced , more to  protect others from the volatile emotions that are churning within me. They  deserve and need their happiness, they need not be reminded of dying days. I so  wish I  was  strong, I  am not.

These days leading up  to  the day  you  died leave me , even after the years of trying to  train myself to  avoid the trigger moments, weak and bereft of control.  I had a relative who  used to  take to  their bed when there were situations they  couldn’t handle. There is no  respite for me  there in amongst the down pillows. I lay  awake fighting down the  emotional agony  of remembrance of those days .Finally  exhaustion will bring sleep  but the mind  continues and all the building of walls to  keep my  emotions and thoughts in check are breached. Down pillows  become wet with tears.

Honestly  I  don’t know how my  heart has kept beating, there are times choking back sobs I can’t breathe.  but your  beautiful sister and two  little boys  whose excitement  at the season acts as an antidote  enabling me once again to bear the unbearable.

 

Your Chris Miss presents to  Gavin and Braedyn will once again be delivered  and I will reinforce the walls ….. I love and miss you  every  day  but  December 3rd will find the walls tumbled into  nothing and I will hide from the world until I  can function again.

Artwork Chris Ritchey

“Heartbreak is a heavy  burden to carry as a soul weakens”  I  love you  Chris

December 3, 2018 at 12:29 am 1 comment

Nov. 3rd- tale of two – grief- Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey Source

Just three days after I  wrote the October 3rd  remembrance of you  your Nana joined you. I would like to  think  that you  were there for her. I  know  how much  you  loved her.

It has been almost a month and the grieving for your  Nana is so  different. I feel like a vessel full to  the brim with  sadness but inside this vessel  the grief at the loss of you  and of my  mum meet . The grief I have for you  plunges , rolls, rises up and is pushed back down. It takes will power not to  drown in its depths but it can overwhelm me at times. It is  cold , tearing at my  brain, heart and gut taking pieces of me as it rages on. It is a monster  and no  parent should have to  feel its presence.

Your  Nana , I so  miss, I spent every  day  with her for the past 34 years , she was part of all decisions made as a family. And for the past 8  years shared this roof and kitchen. There are many  things that will bring tears but somehow they  comfort  as release. It is a gentle grief. Nana had lived a full life – fuller than most- her 99 years apart from the past few months saw her enjoying life, having her wits about her  and  good health. She had grown tired  wanted to
“get off the planet”  more and more as her health deteriorated. Her passing was with  dignity, love and was  understandable. She embraced the “transitioning” -her life force spent  not from disease but just being old. and wearing out. Her passing was logical, the grand order of things and the grief I feel does not leave me questioning WHY???? or looking for answers.

 I understand the loss of my  mother  but not the loss of you  and my  heart and brain rails  against the WHY!!!

Source Chris Ritchey

 

 

November 3, 2018 at 1:24 am 1 comment

Oct. 3rd -Danse Macabre- Chris Ritchey

 

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin /Source 

Once again,  I am locked into  a performance with  death. I am exhausted and angry  as I  watch  this thief of life steal everything that is and was your Nana and my mum, just as I  stood helpless as you  too  were locked into  this grim  dance of reality  that faces us all.

The purloiner  of life has taken the light from her blue eyes, made them red ringed and pale, her smile just a memory ,  as she waits , she has disappeared within her own body  as it stubbornly  clings to  life and the loved ones around her . She is  caught between the notes as the music of death  is played, no  longer having the strength to walk , sit or feed herself  without help , her pride of independence, privacy, modesty  gone , slowly drained buy the vampiric interloper and yet it seems that is not enough-  still the dance partner of death  continues the performance, sapping her of what is left of her , cruel in its movements  as the tune reels and swirls, no  respite or quarter given.

 

The difference with  you, my  darling son  there  was another dance partner , who  lent strength  to  my  body  and soul- that of HOPE.  Hope was my  partner,  the hours of driving, the meals, the days and nights of  care, the medicines  , doctors and trials  would work . Parallel days with  the dance I am  once again intertwined , unable to   find escape cold grasping fingers refusing to  let  me go, crushing my  heart. Another August, September , October and the dance continues , the music raucous and disjointed – a cacophony  of jarring notes , breaking the peace.

October 3rd , the last time you  were home  with  your family, filled with  hope that Houston  would be the answer to  stopping the dance, but hope, although strong in our hearts, was not enough to  combat the “danse macabre” …… and now once again the robber of life  has entered our home and our very  beings..

and ripped from us joy , hope and laughter.  I love you  Chris  and I  know you  will be here for your  Nana  as this final  dance ends…………

Chris Ritchey Source

October 3, 2018 at 10:38 am 4 comments

Sept. 3rd – The Bubble- Chris Ritchey

 

August– and the week of hell as far as memories go ( and come) has been left behind for another year. The wedding anniversary  , your birthday  and mine  now in the past once more. I live in a self-imposed  bubble, especially  now ,with  your  Nana slowly  disappearing from this existence.

I haven’t left this house for much  more than an hour at a time for weeks, and this house has become my own “living in a bubble,” surrounded by the people and things I  love most. I let  very  few intrude in the fragile existence  I  am living .

 

I have stopped letting in the distraction of “other lives” whilst I  currently  deal with  life and death  in this house. The crime, the angst, the annoyances of people , politics and  lifestyles  that I  cannot  do  anything about outside these walls  , even writing and documenting has been relegated to  another existence.

I  close  the windows , turn on the air-conditioning not only  to  deal with  the heat of August days  but to  add a sound barrier to  my  bubble  – to  defend against the intrusion of the “noise “of a people without respect for others in this neighborhood. I don’t want to  deal with them or anyone not welcome to  come into  my  bubble. I am dealing the best way  I  know how to  get through.

 

I  have taken some time to  look at “your book” – No  Limits –  still stuck after so  many  chapters, looking for strength  to  continue , it seems I  have limits .

– and I  am reminded that for  30  years I lived without “knowing you “, you  were not a part of this existence  and then you came into  our lives  and left all too soon ,  and I miss you   so much . Most of those  that knew you in your all too short existence  have  relegated you  to  a mere memory  , if that anymore. Your life ,floating as a bubble on the wind ,has left their existence  and eventually  has disappeared, a name on a headstone ,in a place not of your liking or choosing……. . you  are only  bright ,living  and  colorful in our little universe.

This  loss of you from memory  will be  repeated  in all our lives. We are all  only  remembered   for as long as “living memory ” is in play. When your Nana passes so  will all the lives of the people she loved , knew and shared her  life with  when  she was young, she is the last one left to  remember those times, people and places.

Eventually  we all  will be forgotten, relegated to  some cemetery  or plaque  that will fall into  disrepair and get buried over and forgotten, unless of course you  are famous or infamous enough to  be documented  for some great or terrible deed or happenstance of life.  Life consigned to  a  shelf in a library, computer, television program, “history” interpreted , discussed and revised .

The happiness and love you  brought into our lives is not fleeting and neither is the gutting pain left behind  after your leaving…….. the love endures …. and so  do  you in my  fragile bubble like  world.

 

September 3, 2018 at 11:50 am 1 comment

August 3rd- continuation- Chris Ritchey

You  would think after all this time I would run out of things to  share about you  and the fact you  lived but as life “continues” I find, far from being at a loss to find subject matter  , everyday  continues with  you .

Recently,  another mother wondered about whether people  felt she should be “over her grief by  now”  another  if there is a time limit to  being broken?

Because we are broken, and the pieces of us are held together with  a very tenuous glue.  The slightest “wobble of a memory “ entering into  one’s day  can see us picking up  the pieces and trying to  put ourselves back  together in order to  be on “life’s display”, hoping those we meet , work and socialize with  will not notice the cracks. Broken can make people uncomfortable, because  they too are not immune from losing a son or a daughter and we  are constant reminders that can happen.

As your  Nana is “transitioning” and I  am once again “caring” with cooking special foods, diets, changing sheets every  couple of days and giving medications ( you  too were prescribed) the glue is hardly  doing its job most days. It is probably  a good thing I  am not interacting with  people at the moment because  I am not handling  being  broken in “two” .

What little patience and tolerance I  had before this latest life event has disappeared. I have become selfish  with  my  time and energy. Telemarketers have found that to  call me subjects them to a tirade of “language” not generally  associated with  one of my  age and upbringing. They  have become my  relief valve, something I  need,  so  I  don’t shatter   altogether.

As I  looked on your Nana’s face this morning I was reminded of the charcoal drawing you  made of her when she was 85 looking out of a window. She was quite annoyed. “Chris you  made me look 95 not 85” but your artwork prophesied the future as today the portrait is a true likeness as she continues and slowly disappears from this world.

Loving you  continues- being broken continues ….

photo -self -Chris Ritchey

August 2, 2018 at 10:58 pm 2 comments

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