Posts filed under ‘Chris Ritchey’

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

Feb 3rd – The Toilet Bowl – Chris Ritchey-

chrisart collage

There are over 1,500 posts on this site now. Some are more popular than others. Searches are driven by information on particular subjects and some by images that have been uploaded to the internet. There is one post that ranks above all the rest everyday, it is the first in ranking bringing in thousands of hits in any month since it’s inclusion in 2010 . It is the photos included in the post that drives the traffic .

I am not sure how you would feel about this “still life” for classwork (?)2003 as having been interesting to so many every day since I first uploaded it . The work was not included in my collage of you or even in the “art show” . I am not sure what the message was if any – just a classwork assignment????? – but it has a following every single day and seemingly the most popular of any of the jpgs I use of yours with nearly every post.

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

I watched a commercial for Poo- pourri and thought well maybe you were before your time

Sweet Toilet by  Chris Ritchey

Sweet Toilet by Chris Ritchey

So many times I have wished I could ask you why or what when looking at your work and so many time each day I miss your humor as I watch this world spinning into chaos and justice fleeting. I wonder what you would say about the current political situation, how you would express visually all that I cannot put into words………..I love and miss you more each day………

 the Dancing man - Chris Ritchey

the Dancing man – Chris Ritchey

February 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Jan 3rd- Broken Heart Syndrome- Chris Ritchey

This past week has seen Carrie Fisher die and a day later her mother Debbie Reynolds die of what is being called a broken heart.
debres
There has been much too-ing and fro-ing as to whether you can die of a broken heart or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy,

Tako

also known as transient apical ballooning syndrome, apical ballooning cardiomyopathy, stress-induced cardiomyopathy, broken-heart-syndrome and simply stress cardiomyopathy, is a type of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy in which there is a sudden temporary weakening of the myocardium (the muscle of the heart). Because this weakening can be triggered by emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one, the condition is also known as broken heart syndrome. It has also been reported in cases of partial drowning. The presence of a trigger such as emotional or physical has been reported in 33% to 100% of the cases.
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takotsubo_cardiomyopathy

Just a month and a half after you passed I wrote a post
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/dying-of-a-broken-heart/

And I have felt the pain in my chest, it is like a tight band , a crushing and tightening , it interferes with breathing, as if something has stopped my lungs from filling with air, holding ones breath too long underwater is a similar sensation . Just when you think you will drown in the pain and grief you surface , an explosion of tears and sobs pulling you back from the depths, a relief but also knowing that you have also lost an opportunity to be released from the slow suffocation of sorrow that has become your world.


heart hostage
And here I am “living with a broken heart”. How is that possible? Maybe my physical heart was strong, maybe because of my daughter and grandchildren acting as some sort of emotional relief valve – I am still here. If you had told me that would be the case in those first months after you passed I would have said ” not possible this gutting pain of losing you would kill me” . Every day I amazed another day has passed, week, month year and I am still walking upright .

I believe the anger kept me upright, an anger at the despicable behavior at your death and afterwards . For some people faith keeps them going but I know for me it was the combination of anger at “that” family, as well as the need to be there for my daughter and mother has continued to keep me on the planet. I also believe because I can write on this blog pouring out my heart has provided a relief valve of sorts.
x-eve

What happens should I let go of the anger will my heart finally break; the anger stays because what was done I cannot undo………..

I love you Chris, with all the pieces of my broken heart.

January 2, 2017 at 10:19 pm 2 comments

The parallel world- lights bright- Christmas of White

whiteres
Another Christmas – it came anyway- no matter my world fell apart just days previous to its arrival. I could actually relate to Scrooge and his quote

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

The lights decorating the houses blurred through tears, were wished away. No Christmas cards were opened as they lay on the mat intermingled with sympathy cards- my mother became the keeper of the cards . I wished the merriment over, I wished it all to go away. I had lost hope , my son, my belief in kindness in death (thanks to Tim and Sue Lombardi, their daughter and their “priest” , their “will of control”- that wickedness not forgiven.

angsuecol

What faith I had was taken with his Chris’ last breath and as I saw the faces of his church- going holier than thou in-laws , the look on his brides face, no grief there just a relief there would be no long term dealing with his illness. The haunting of a Christmas past not forgotten as lights twinkle and candles burn.

And yet Christmas comes again and again and once more I am caught up in its intrusiveness . I still “visit” Christmas – how do you deny the children, my grand children, their excitement, their belief in goodness , the love for all the trappings- they refuse to “tone down” Christmas. Christmas for them explodes with laughter and happiness- as it should be.

Nanacol2012
Christmas has been “managed in this house” – no tree adorns the living room, my mother sends and receives cards decorated her Christmas grotto in her little living room. Gone are the Christmas Past, Christmas present but the world of children’s wonder is visited.

Still the cry – Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, fought over as to the “greeting- the dogma of belief that your “holiday of religion” is the “real one” and Christian or not you should be caught up in Merry Christmas continues to wreak havoc around the world. .

I shop for little ones on line- and venture out only to get my daughter her special present , the children will receive their over the top present from Chris- the “Chris-miss- present”

On this latest trip to “holiday” as I waited in the line of ” holiday traffic” the radio started playing the “holiday happy music” as I reached to turn it off I realized this wasn’t one I had heard before ( maybe I had and had just forgotten). The song fitted my mood. I listened for a bit then traffic and horns of a different kind were blaring. I came home and went to the computer pulled up the song ( now forty years old )- another decade indeed another century – Vietnam- the Middle East the death and dying continuing. The song topped the UK charts – maybe it didn’t get played here in Lorain – it was controversial- this “Christmas Song” was one that struck home .

“I Believe in Father Christmas” is a song by English musician Greg Lake with lyrics by Peter Sinfield. Although it is often categorized as a Christmas song, this was not Lake’s intention. He said that he wrote the song in protest at the commercialization of Christmas. Sinfield, however, said that the words are about a loss of innocence and childhood belief. Released in 1975, the song reached number two on the UK Singles Chart.

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
’till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
’till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise…………………

And so another Christmas comes and the questions linger along with the pain…..

December 21, 2016 at 9:37 pm 6 comments

THE VALIANT- NOT FORGOTTEN

Who I am- Freedom Speaks - art work Christopher Ritchey

Who I am- Freedom Speaks – art work Christopher Ritchey


BECAUSE THOSE WHO ARE VALIANT AND SERVE FREEDOM -THEIR STORIES AND STRUGGLES CROSS OCEANS , SEAS OF TIME AND NATIONS – AGES – SHOULD NEVER BE FORGOTTEN… a reprise

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey  2009)

Design ( artwork Chris Ritchey 2009)

I have always tried to Remember those who fought on November the 11th – from granddads, uncles and my father- to my generation, my husband USAF, my cousins and to those friends who have lost their sons to war.

I was pleased and touched the last piece of art work produced by my son was in honor for another young man who gave his life for his country ( in remembrance)- Eric Barnes .

sword
I was reminded on Remembrance Sunday, as I walked through the dining room, of my father . I hadn’t looked at his medals in a very long time as they hung over the sword he bought me ( The Sword of Charlemagne ) incase I ever did Camelot again. He was coerced into polishing up a sword for the theatrical production in which I was involved -a lousy job and one he decided he wouldn’t do again – hence the purchase of the sword !

There was a lot of dust, the ribbons had lost their sharp colours over the decades and they decidedly needed a clean . I knew some of his medals were gone – RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal, The Arctic Star and the Oak cluster – I had used them to pin my dolly’s clothes when I was just a little one.
dad
Although I had written about his Royal Navy Career in the series along with my mother’s remembrances of those days of world war two –
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-everyone/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-everyone-part-two/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-everyone-part-three/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-4/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-5/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-6/

I can’t really remember having ever “looked ” closely at the medals.
I was surprised at the number of theatres of war in which he had been involved. And then, I remembered this man , my father who had been in the Royal Navy before war broke out and had seen so much in those terrible years was only 28 years old when Victory was declared – my mother 26-. War is for the young they say ……

1939-45 Star

1939-45 Star

The 1939 to 1945 Star was awarded for any period of operational service overseas between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 (2 September 1945 in the Far East).Naval personnel qualify after 180 days afloat in areas of operations as laid out in the regulations between certain specified dates.

africa-star-medal-lrg

THE AFRICA STAR******
Naval personnel anywhere at sea in the Mediterranean or in harbour in North Africa, Malta or Egypt between the above dates will qualify. Those serving in direct support of the Eritrean and Abyssinian campaigns between certain other specified dates will also qualify.

20130624-arcticstar_960x640
THE ARCTIC STAR**** The Arctic Star is granted for operational service of any length north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees, 32’N) from the 3rd September, 1939, to the 8th May, 1945, inclusive. The Arctic Star is intended to commemorate the Arctic Convoys and is designed primarily for the ships of the convoys to North Russia and their Escorts. •Royal Navy and Merchant Navy: naval and Merchant Navy service anywhere at sea north of the Arctic Circle to include, but not limited exclusively to, those ships participating in, and in support of, Convoys to North Russia

Atlantic-L THE ATLANTIC STAR******
The Battle of the Atlantic took place between 3 September 1939 and 8 May 1945 as German U boats, aircraft and surface vessels attacked the convoys transporting valuable supplies from America and the colonies to Britain.
Warships of the RN and aircraft of the RAF escorted the convoys, hunted the U boats, fought German ships and, despite some notable German successes, the allies won a comprehensive victory in the Atlantic

Italy_Star THE ITALY STAR Naval personnel must qualify first for the 1939 to 1945 Star before the Italy Star can be awarded. It is then awarded for service at sea in the Mediterranean between the above dates provided that it was directly connected with active operations in the Mediterranean theatre.
George 5th medal
George VI Medal *****The duration of the Second World War in Europe was from 3 September 1939 to 8 May 1945, while in the Pacific Theatre it continued until 2 September 1945. The War Medal 1939–1945 was instituted by the United Kingdom on 16 August 1945 and was awarded to all full-time personnel of the armed forces and merchant marines

My dad also earned the Royal Navy – Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
Naval-LSGC-GVI-orig

ww2-oak-leaf-midand the Oak Leaf –

Oak Leaf awarded to personnel who have been mentioned in despatches in action with the enemy (all environments) in war.

speedw16
HMS Speedwell
I believe ,in researching my dad’s history, a mention of the incident for which he was mentioned in despatches
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-4/

Cyril Green:

1400 – Explosion in our ship don’t know whether we hit or what it is yet someone gave a scream.

1445 – Explosion was heater drain observation tank in boiler room exploding. 2 stokers seriously scalded and 1 fractured elbow.

We left Harmatris to two Russian tugs and proceeded to Polyarnoe (Russia) at all speed.


I should like Commanding Officers of all Minesweepers to know that I fully appreciate the good work in the difficult conditions in the past few days searching, escorting, and hunting under the nose of the enemy sea and air forces. It does everyone, but especially the Engine room department, great credit that all ships have been ready for service whenever called upon and I am sure that valuable lives and ships have been saved by the good work performed.

1742A/1
CommanderSenior Officer, Sixth Minesweeping Flotilla “

The HMS Speedwell was a minesweeper and now a segue back to Lorain
and another naval man Admiral Ernest J King

Admiral King

Admiral King


His tribute space has the flags flying – not on a flag pole but a ship’s mast and a “minesweeper mast” at that rescued from the from the old American Ship yard.
Old Mast at American Shipyard
AK flag old

Photo Lisa Miller

Photo Lisa Miller


( Now in place at the Admiral King Tribute Site 1st and Hamilton)

Photo - Lisa Miller

Photo – Lisa Miller


PLEASE TAKE A WALK THROUGH THE ERIC BARNES HEROES WALK THIS WEEK AND AS YOU REMEMBER THOSE THAT FOUGHT AND CONTINUE TO FIGHT – REMEMBER THEIR YOUTH -LOST – SOME WILL NOT GROW OLD AND DID NOT GROW OLD- AND THOSE THAT SURVIVED NEVER FORGOT – CHANGED FOREVER.

poppies

November 10, 2016 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

Nov. 3rd- Restaging -Chris Ritchey

MDA
Every time I scroll down on the right side to log in to the admin section of this site I watch as the years , months, days of posting of my life on this blog slide by. The dying days still there , the crushing phone call that started all the pain, the hope, the horror and the vindictiveness of the days after your death.

Another 1st week of November – Houston – the time I dared to breathe- it is there chronicled

“Yesterday was the first restaging of my son after having 6 infusions ( one a week with one week off) for the drug SGN35. The scans have shown clear– he is responding well so far and although he is having trouble with some of the side effects – it looks like the drug is working on the Cancer. “

How untrue that was because a month later you were gone and your remains and any dignity associated with death snatched by selfishness and control by those who never really knew you.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/dec-4th-how-cold-is-cold-lombardi/

Each month on the third I write about you , it is my therapy, it is my way of telling your story that you lived, were loved unconditionally, made a difference. You won’t go down in any history books, you are all but forgotten and “re written” by “the others” and of those that called you “friend” but you existed- you changed our world, you were loved beyond all tears. That love grows it does not dissipate in a “do over world” of some. My anger doesn’t dissipate.

Some might think I am crazy, crazy in my grief, that could well be. I know this grief that fractures, tears at one, opens wounds daily, will not be denied, anymore than the love of my son can be denied.
scoutmiddle-crop
I carry within me the six basic human emotions ” happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust.” but to those that have lost a son or daughter mere “sadness, anger ” is not adequate in its description , the fear felt as the dying days were lived through is an abomination in its simplicity.

We are changed, emotions magnified beyond all knowing, unless you have walked where we have walked, reached out helplessly to anyone, anything, any god, the stars , screamed at the enveloping darkness that comes with the terror of knowing the hope is gone you will never understand . We are undone……

And yet it is love that feeds this terrible ache of missing , a love not waning , not forgotten, you my son still have a story to be told and I am trying to find the strength to tell it, a love that transcends the veil.

nolimits

November 3, 2016 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

Oct. 3rd – the episode – Chris Ritchey

chris
So many October 3rds have come and gone in real time but not in my time . The anniversary of those last photos of you with your family before heading back to MD Anderson and Texas for the trial of SGN 35 to save your life. The head and shoulders shot taken that day – apparently used at the funeral home.

Friday , your dad, was undergoing a procedure. I was once again in a hospital- and I so hate hospitals – I gear myself to go – I put on an armor of self-protection- walk through the pitfalls of triggers – knowing where they are in those places.

I prepared myself as I drove to the appointment for the laughter of those individuals working in these places as they go about their working day, white coats and scrubs , the sound of rubber soles squeaking on polished tiles, the smells, the sights of those who lay in various positions hooked up to life sustaining fluids that drip silently into their veins, the alarms going off when they don’t , those sitting in wheelchairs and those who wait in chairs that provide no comfort, the sound of curtains being drawn around a patients bed, the calls for doctors and needs over the speakers, technicians scurrying with vials of blood in handy little carrying cases,

All routine every day happenings in any hospital but for me a minefield. I have managed in this recent bout of illness and emergency rooms with your dad. I have walked myself through each day each diagnosis, each “episode” ( meaning) “a finite period in which someone is affected by a specified illness”. A throw away word which has much more meaning to some than others.

“Oh he had an episode” during the night……………..

I took a book with me to try to read , that didn’t work , I read the words but did not comprehend , my brain too busy trying to control, block and filter out unwanted sights, sounds and thoughts. I sat and waited.

The procedure was taking longer than they had said. My mind started racing and my blocking mechanism to such thoughts kicked in to hold down the doubts and thoughts which started to form.

“CODE BLUE CATH LAB” ,

A rushing of movement, a curtain being pulled once more across the entrance to the lab corridor, people flying past yet at the same time controlled, disturbing the air where I sat, carts arriving , staff with an intense look to their faces heeding the call. Then nothing just quiet efficiency from those that remained, no more laughter a deadly seriousness entered the area like a spectre waiting to gather in all hope.

I watched the curtain across the corridor, willing it to open , waiting for your dad to reappear from the place behind – nothing and then another “Code Blue Cath Lab” call— more people going through and behind the curtain.

Chris Ritchey  BFA- CIA

Chris Ritchey BFA- CIA

A nurse walked by and looked at me –

are you alright-

No!

came the answer forced from my throat. She wasn’t to know I was no longer in St. John’s Westshore but in a waiting room all alone on a Thanksgiving Day at the Cleveland Clinic and another CODE BLUE continually ringing through the hall the Code Blue being called to your bedside.

White Coat of Death by  Chris Ritchey

White Coat of Death by Chris Ritchey

The armor crumbled, the blocking wall fell slow motion like into so much dust, intentions to stay in the present ripped away – leaving the raw and exposed wound of a scar of grief that never fully heals. I was undone and collapsed like the wall once again in two worlds…………

Although not involved with our case, the nurse checked and it wasn’t your dad. Some other loved one was sending shock waves of terror to their family .

The nurse came back held my hand – “I couldn’t help but notice your eyes – they were so full of fear…..”

I didn’t explain that the woman she had helped and was talking to was just a mere shell – the rest of her was elsewhere still trying to breathe………..

Depths of Despair by  Chris Ritchey

Depths of Despair by Chris Ritchey

October 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm 5 comments

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