Posts filed under ‘Chris Ritchey’
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.
I watched a commercial for Poo- pourri and thought well maybe you were before your time
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………
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.
There has been much too-ing and fro-ing as to whether you can die of a broken heart or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy,
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.
Just a month and a half after you passed I wrote a post
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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…..
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
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 .
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.
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 –
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 ……
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.
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
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
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 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
Oak Leaf awarded to personnel who have been mentioned in despatches in action with the enemy (all environments) in war.
I believe ,in researching my dad’s history, a mention of the incident for which he was mentioned in despatches
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.
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–
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
( Now in place at the Admiral King Tribute Site 1st and Hamilton)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A nurse walked by and looked at me –
are you alright-
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.
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………..
We haven’t had many dogs in this old house, truth be told I am somewhat afraid of dogs, always have been. SHEENA came to us as a pup. Some cretin threw soap into the original fish pond killing all the fish . It was then I decided- time for a dog. Excitedly my two children accompanied me to the Rescue Shelter. Among the animals was a fairly large litter of mixed Shepherd and Labrador breed, they were tumbling and rough housing all over each other, nipping and yelping with joy and play.
Each of my children had their favorite. I noticed in the “getting to know” area a little two-year old being introduced to one of the pups. The little girl was pulling the pup’s ears, tail , screaming with delight and this pup just let her and was so calm .
“That is the pup ” I want
Sheena’s intelligence amazed me and there was a knowing look in her eyes you could see her very soul in those eyes . She remained patient with her family even when my mum’s little Tetley would visit. Although she had her ways of showing displeasure
MISTY was the designer dog ( Silver Lab), she was ten months old when she joined the family.
My daughter was trying to find a home for her as her family had to relocate without her. Stopping off here to visit on her way to show her to a prospective family ( I always wondered if this was by design as well) my son fell in love.
Trying poor Sheena’s patience once again Misty entered our lives.
Oh what a dog! She was more like Dino on the Flintstones except when it came to my son, a word or look from him and she became the world’s best trained animal. It was heartbreaking when Sheena succumbed to age and illness and poor Misty wandered the house looking for her friend. Life took a terrible turn and my son also succumbed to Cancer and left us, leaving Misty Morn to a house of grief.
It was Misty that pulled and demanded my husband leave his chair to look after her, it was Misty who insisted on walks, who didn’t leave him. Misty who spent hours sitting with him in the garden at all hours of the day , a nuzzle for comfort, her soft silky fur comforting to his hand, Misty who slept at his feet.
During this horrendous time of grief TETLEY
came to live here, in a house where laughter is now seldom heard, my mum having to give up her home and independence through no fault of hers –
Misty was not as patient as Sheena when it came to Tetley but they managed .
It was Misty who stopped the choking of grief in the night. But her heart too was broken and although she was only 5 it bled out. Oh! there is a technical term but she was Chris’ dog and her true master was no longer there to throw the balls, take her swimming or for runs. I think she stayed long enough to see us through, but once again we felt we had failed our son. We had gone to the Emergency Vet with Misty knowing something was not right And the consensus was she had to leave.
For two days I watched as grief and undeserved guilt once more took its terrible toll. My daughter said:
“We have to get Dad a dog to get him through and give him something to hold onto “
And so an internet search, a call to “Luv my Shepherd Pups” https://www.facebook.com/got2luvmyshepherdpups/ and the breeder Denise Cieslik. There was one pup available – the runt-. Nikki , Gavin and I went to be introduced.
This pup of life and love needed a name- there was great debate, none suggested suited everyone. Her name changed periodically through the ensuring days. I watched as this little bundle of energy, who seemed to know right from the outset that she was here to rescue my husband from his profound grief and bring life back into this house; she shadowed his every move and hence SHADOW , the name seemed to fit.
She has her ways and personality , she will bring the shoe of the person she wants to take notice of her to them , meets family with someone’s shoe or another gift when she likes you. She gives the mailman a heart attack if I have forgotten to close the main door before he arrives and barks around the property every morning to let the neighbors know she is on guard, her tail held high like waving a furry flag. No-one better enter the alley without her OK and she talks to every dog in the neighborhood. She definitely does not know her place- she reigns supreme .
She is my husband’s dog, it is for him she pines when goes out, for him she waits and it was his life she saved.
It has been hot here in Ohio, terrible damning days of unrelenting sun. The property next door needed a lot of work and to that end the summer days were spent getting it in order.
One July night, I was exhausted from daily life and routine and went to bed early , my husband downstairs with Shadow. It was 2:30 in the morning when I was rudely awakened by Shadow pawing at me and licking my face , not something she usually does unless there are fireworks or thunder. I told her
go away- downstairs
. I am selfish when I am asleep as there aren’t many such nights since my son passed.
Soon she was back again this time more insistent, I listened for thunder, fireworks nothing-
Go away Shadow go find Ritch
– she did .
However, he next thing I knew was she was literally thumping me with my husband’s shoe insistent once more I get up with her.
Grumbling, thinking he had fallen asleep in the chair and she wanted out I got up and went downstairs. Well he had fallen- but not asleep – he was stretched out- collapsed on the floor . Whilst I took in the sight before me, Shadow immediately went to him lay beside him and wouldn’t move – she stayed there whilst the rescue squad was called , it took two of us to get her outside – she wouldn’t leave him and the paramedics were leery of such an animal. Shadow barked and barked, waking the whole neighborhood as they put him on the gurney for the ambulance she tried jumping over the fence to follow . My mother told me she cried and whined the whole morning, pacing and off her food.
Had Shadow not woken me my husband would’ve died it was that serious! He passed out from severe dehydration and ended up with a condition called Rhabdomyolysis http://www.medicinenet.com/rhabdomyolysis/article.htm
In all their ways these dogs , including Tetley who brought comfort, companionship and love to my mum before he too passed this summer, give us their everything and unconditional love. Shadow though, is truly a rescue dog because she has rescued this family from so much and we owe her so much