Posts filed under ‘death’

Nov 3rd – Museum of the Heart- Chris Ritchey

This is an old house, and I  am getting old.

I am comfortable in this house because it reminds me of the homes of my  family, the people  I loved with  whom I  shared my  early  years  growing up in England.

The fringes on lampshades , large cabbage roses in a vase on the table and on the walls and bedspreads.

Then there was always chintz in the old cottages and especially  in my  grandmothers’ abodes, the wealthy  one especially, along with  velvet winter drapes , changed to  chintz in the spring  I always thought of her living room with  silks and overstuffed furniture, brass reflecting the firelight as a bit of an Aladdin’s cave. Yes! due to  drafts and no  central heating drapes and curtain were changed out from spring and autumn. I  used to  do  that in my  younger days, slipcovers going over the couch  etc. when summer arrived.

When my  mother had to  leave her home in England , she brought with  her  the things she loved. When she finally  had to  move in with us

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/what-are-they-thinking-the-thought-process-stops-here/

We had to  clear away  a lot of things  – six rooms  did not go  into  the two  rooms we were able to  give her.

 

Still some of the items she could not bear to  give or throw away. Those items that didn’t fit into  her new living space had to  be introduced to  the rest of my  house.

One of the reasons I  have two  antique cocktail cabinets, one a wedding present from my  parents and one my  father made.

A couple of years ago I featured in a magazine, Pulse.

The writer/photographer came to  interview and as she went through  the house she exclaimed

OH this is like a museum!!!

To tell the truth  I  was a little taken aback.

No!.this was my  home, yes some of the things are antiques  having come down through  family, probably  not worth  a lot but you  would find them in most “cottagey type homes” in England.

 

 

 

 

 

( Horse Brasses, warming pans , brass or copper kettles and fire fenders ( very  useful)

Some things are old not antiques just remembrances of holidays, gifts through  the years. Then there are the things my  children made or purchased for my  birthdays , Mother’s Day  etc. and finally  your artwork Chris. You  work hangs along side , pride of place on the walls  with  the portrait of the old lady  –  circa 1785,

and paintings and water colours from your great – great grandfather  and great great uncle.

Fairyland painting by Jack Stokes

Oil by  Jack Henry Stringer

 

Nana’s needlework pictures . These are things I love and live with  and yes! use everyday and try  to dust at least once a week……….. .

Today , as I  was thinking about this old house and a “museum piece” I realized that although  a few years ago I  had decided to  de- clutter- out with the old…..life got in the way  and your dying – leaving me just your work ,

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

 

and then my  mum having to  spend her last years here and all the things she loved coming with  her,. Artwork and items made by  my  father came with  her. The little gifts from Braedyn and Gavin, Nikki I  realized in some way  it is a museum – this old housea museum of my  heart.

I love you  more each  day  that passes and I am as proud of you  as I  ever was…. you  are still in my  heart and home…………

Reaching out- art work- Christopher Ritchey

November 3, 2019 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

Sept 3rd – Moving On??? Chris Ritchey

“Try  to  remember the kind of September……….. “

I  have no  difficulty  in remembering this Labor Day  Holiday of yesteryear . You had been given another chance of a “cure”. Of course I  realize now that  the word “cure” was not an accurate description  as given to  us by  the Cleveland Clinic. The “trial” of SGN 35 was just that  another trial.  What followed was a frenzied trip  to  Houston, and more of that four letter word HOPE!!!!

Septembers  have come and gone and I  remember the “beginning of the end of hope” with   the pain that never lessens.  As this blog brings to  the fore writings of previous Septembers, I  revisit those emotions  of those times.

One such  September third came to  the fore today because it had been accessed by  someone reading my  words.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/september-3rd-war-movin-on-hell-truly-is-other-people-chris-ritchey/

As I  read what I  had written in my  emotional  incontinence , I  wonder would I  have written anything similar today , you  can see the anger, the hurt and the disgust I  felt and I  asked myself would I  have felt the same or written the same  today? The answer is YES! just as time has not eased your  death  and “taking of the memories that should have been” neither has it lessened the feelings I  have toward those of self serving hypocrisy.  The anger that keeps me upright is beneficial to  being………… it is now part of me and who  I am….

I love you  my  son ………. you  are but a  last breath away…

Chris Ritchey Source

September 3, 2019 at 12:45 pm 1 comment

August 3rd- Linked – Chris Ritchey

Graphics Chris Ritchey

Every  street in this oldest neighborhood is designated by  the signs designed by  you  for Lorain’s Bicentennial. It was supposed to  bring a sense of pride  to  the residents who  have continued to  stay  here and fight for a quality  of life, the history  of these oldest streets and a preservation of a neighborhood that was.

I wish  I  could say  that those of us that banded together and set up a 501C3 30  years ago  had succeeded in our endeavours but thanks to  bank dumps in 2008-2009 with over 200 properties being dumped  sometimes for pennies on the dollar, the unscrupulous out of town landlords and property  companies, drug houses, lack of code enforcement  well we have become a saturated solution of the negative.

Two  things came together in my  brain this week……. the news of a young man of 16 shot and killed by  other young men… just two  blocks away, the gun shot waking us up as the sounds of killing reverberated through  the night air. I watched the news that evening and as I did the TV camera panned up  to  the street sign on 6th street, YOUR SIGN  and my  focus changed instantly  as once more I was sent back  to your  passing and then the pain and I  realized another mother , that of a 16 year old , would be weeping tears , heart pounding , trying to  breathe  trying to  deal  with the reality of the unreal.

Will she experience  the tiniest  interludes of happiness? You  see, once in a great while, when exhaustion forces the body  and mind to  sleep there are moments, just between sleeping and waking. One such  moment came this week the air was cool enough  for the windows to  be open and for a brief second as the sun  kissed the morning to  waken the day , the breeze picked up  the  peppery  scent of the petunias in the window box, this body  hadn’t quite realized it had aches and pains, there was for that precious second happiness and then “life” intruded once more……. and mothers weep  for lost sons in this old neighborhood……..

Another August of holding my  breath , fighting back  the tears , holding myself ready  for the trigger moments , knowing they  will come  and wanting

Love continues………. and memories of times much  happier……..before life intruded

 

August 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm 2 comments

July 3rd- continuing – Chris Ritchey

I have written about you  every month  on the 3rd of the month as my  memorial to  you – your life and your art work. A few months ago  I  wrote these lines in the post https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/april-3rd-forgotten-chris-ritchey/

“They  say  you  die three times – once when your body  fails you – again when you  are buried ( funeral) and again when you  are forgotten”.

Death  of the body  and death  of memory. When you  are buried and that headstone in place is a remembrance of sorts but there’s the rub how long will that headstone last?

 

Most of us believe that record of our being in the places designed for such – as cemeteries and crematoriums  will last forever, not so especially  with  the way  things happen with  cemeteries in recent years.  This Blog https://lisanneharris.com/2013/05/12/sadly-utterly-abandoned-churches-cemeteries/ Ms. Harris has a plethora of photos from around the world of these sad places. The forlorn graves sinking into  oblivion once held the tears and heartbreak of mourners  who  grieved over their loved ones. Even in this old neighborhood the citizens of Lorain in the past plowed under and buried  the little Charleston Village Cemetery

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/tag/pioneer-cemetery-lorain/

 

 

I read once , here you  can’t reclaim or take out graves until 100 years after the last burial. But that is another law that is circumvented. I  know it happened to  your Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather and Great- Great Grandmother, the site was moved (although other family members wouldn’t have it) but I  remember visiting those graves in a totally  different area of the cemetery and one was missing altogether.

 

You  are not dead because our love of you  is alive and you  are in our thoughts and dreams daily.

 

Your Nana was not afraid to  die, she was actually  welcoming her demise -99 years is longer than most get on this earth.

 

She had out- lived her brothers , sisters, friends of her youth. She was ready  but as she sipped her tea one day  near the ending  she look at me over the rim of the cup and said

“you  won’t forget me will you, Nikki  and the children will remember they  had their Nana”.

There is no  headstone in a “family  plot” because that is not what she wanted. Her ashes will hopefully  one day  make it back to  “her England” , time and life permitting.

Today,  I  received a notification from the Crematorium in England

St Marylebone Crematorium – Memorials

about your  Grandfather. What a mess that was when he passed , he had gone off with  someone else – had a new family  – although  he clung still to  his old one. Due to  the fact he never remarried, I  was still his next of kin, the arrangements were left to  me  although  his “woman” did orchestrate some aspects.

Then a few years on, since Nana and I were home, we went to  the crematorium and I  asked the office where my  fathers ashes were interred. Imagine my  guilt when I  found out no-one had ever claimed them! I  had thought his fancy bit would have,  she obviously  was done with  him after he died.  I  was told his ashes were scattered in a part of the crematorium  I was shown the spot where his ashes had been scattered and  was told

 

“I  could have  a “tablet” positioned on the walls surrounding the Willow Garden, and are ideal for those who wish to mark the position of a loved one whose ashes have been scattered below.”

It was decided, only  Nana would have nothing to  do  with  it  , didn’t want her name mentioned  and went and sat in the rose garden. This is truly  a beautiful place.  I realized, although  his work of a cross ( commissioned by  the Governor of Gibraltar) hopefully  still adorns the altar in the Naval Chapel there ,

 

there  was not a permanent dedication ( well as permanent as can be in this life) but one day  even that small reminder will be taken from the wall

 

Anyway  I purchased a “tablet: and every  10  years I receive an invoice to  renew the dedication, a few hundred pounds.  No-one goes to  the crematorium anymore to  pay  their respects, I  am not sure anyone other than I  ever did but I paid this invoice today because his name is there , the fact he lived and died on those dates is still  there and he is not forgotten and he did live and he loved me and I , him

My Dad and I happier times

Oh his great grandson has the look of him  but only  I and a photograph of old realize that :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that is why  I  write about you  month  after month for as long as I  can  so  you  know you  aren’t forgotten and that you  lived…….. and are still loved with  every  breath  in my  body………..

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

July 3, 2019 at 11:25 am 1 comment

June 3rd – archeology of sorts- Chris Ritchey

Oh! the pond, what a pain I am having  with pumps , tubing and fish eating birds and animals. I have spent a small fortune on equipment this spring.  The winter weeks,  after your Dad was in the hospital, your brother-in law had to  stop  by a few times a week in the days of “polar vortex” to  make sure we kept a hole in the ice.  Just when I  thought I  had everything sorted last week , nets in place , aerators , new pump  and  filter system hooked up, and the waterfalls pump working and bringing at least me some  peace and happiness as I  watched the water cascading down the falls, of course, the waterfalls pump   stopped working.

 

Now nothing is easy  in this house, I could no  longer find the same pump , the tubing was too big, too small, and this pump  didn’t fit the old filter system. I tried as best I  could to  clean the filters every two  days and that is a horrible job. Why ??? because   your Ghost Koi needs air and clean water,  from  over forty  fish  we are down to  17 including “The Ghost”. Due to  my  diligence of filter cleaning every  couple of days the water is crystal clear. The offending pump  had to  be taken out and replaced. Heron apparently  don’t like ripples so making sure the water ripples means three pumps functioning .

 

I shut everything down and gingerly   balanced precariously  on the edge. The water was so  still and clear  I, for once, could see the very  bottom of the pond. The Ghost Koi loomed large – 10  years of eating and being king of the pond, he has grown to  a formidable size. As I  teetered and wobbled trying to  reach the old pump  under the falls, the thought crossed my  mind,

I  might end up  joining him… death  by  “pond life”,

he wasn’t actually  endearing me to  him in that moment and then I saw a glint of gold lying on the bottom.

I strained to  see what was shining up  at me and then I  realized it was a pair of your aviator sunglasses, you  too had been searching for the Koi that last summer ( a much  smaller little fish) and had dropped your  glasses  and there they  were still- where they  had fallen. A reminder of why I need to  protect and maintain the pond so  my  last Mother’s Day  gift from you  continues..the Ghost Koi…..

Those glasses  and ones like them that hid you  eyes from us when you  would hear the bad news the Doctors would tell  hiding tears  and pain.  Those same glasses that brought my  tears flowing once more a reminder of a life too short. and a son lost.

 

I suppose when we are gone and he pond is filled in will someone, in a time to  come, may dig the space   they might wonder how a pair of aviator glasses came to  be 4  foot underground and the story  behind them… a curiosity  for the future…… the missing of you, our love   and memories that should have been  can sometime cripple………

 

June 3, 2019 at 8:55 am 2 comments

May3rd – Mothers and sons – Chris Ritchey

1st Mother’s Day card- Christopher Ritchey

I still have your first Mother’s Day  card and  all the little gifts through your childhood years, they  along with  the ones from your sister are still here in bedrooms, living room, den  and kitchen. Chubby  little handprints in clay , adorn walls along with art work and memories of happier Mother’s days.

This coming Mother’s Day is a first  because for the first time in my  life I will not have my  mother your Nana to  help  celebrate. Coincidentally, when Nana retired and came to  live here she arrived on Mother’s Day of that year  and now I  have lost you  and her. Although   little gifts of mine she had kept still wait to  be dusted in her little living room.

And then there is your last Mothers Day  gift to  me , the ghost koi.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/ghost-in-the-pond-a-koi-story/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/the-ghost-in-the-pond-continues/

Oh Chris what a few days I  have had protecting him, by  far the largest fish  in the pond  , he is so  big. BUT that damned Heron who  arrived last year is back again bigger than ever and now two  others  come to  call. I  have set up obstacle courses around the perimeter, tried all the “get rid of Heron” tips. Climbed over slippery  moss-covered rocks, wobbled on the edge hoping my  knee will not all of a sudden decide it has had enough. moved shelves for the fish  to  hide, all in vain the “angel of death ” just laughs at me as he circles over head.

Nothing deters him ,  he cruises in on huge blue wings  and lands on a dime.  He and his buddies have depleted my  lovely  fat goldfish by  half , some of which  have lived in that pond for 13 years since you  helped dig the “new one” .

He partially  eats them, or drops them  and others he swallows whole.  It is a bit like living with  grief as it swallows one whole or takes bites out of you  daily. We have lost at least 14 of the big goldfish and  the smaller ones….   well who  knows. The ones that are left huddle at the bottom of the pond close to  your Ghost Koi – protection –

I don’t know but they  don’t stray  far from him. . I will battle on with  this “angel of death” beautiful though  they  are  so  I  can keep  the “ghost” and the memory  of that last  Mother’s Day  as I watched you  slipping him into  the pond.

I am so  proud of you  my  son and love you  through  eternity …..

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

May 3, 2019 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

April 3rd- FORGOTTEN- Chris Ritchey

In the days and weeks I  have been in this latest medical situation I  managed to  watch a movie – Hunters Lodge– not a wonderful movie but entertaining enough  to  take my  mind off of things. However, the opening lines  resonated with me:

“They  say  you  die three times – once when your body  fails you – again when you  are buried ( funeral) and again when you  are forgotten”

Those were the lines that  set me watching the rest of the movie… I agree with them.   I believe   you  have died twice and in some cases  three times. There are those that  forgot and dismissed you  from memory  in the very beginning of our loss but there are those who  truly  love you  from whose memory  and life you  will not be forgotten.

 

 

Gavin, just a few months old when you  passed  and Braedyn  born 3 years later KNOW you,  talk of you  and “remember” not in the usual way of remembering a life  but who  you  are now! You  are still very  much  a part of their lives.

Very  few of my  family  left remember my  Grandmother  “Nanny  Bunyan” and her sons, my  mum’s mother , Nanny  Hines – such  a different person from my  Dad’s mother  not the exotic sophisticated wealthy  red- haired fashion conscious , jewel wearing and Channel  No  5   for her. Nanny  Hines  a nurse/ midwife  mother to  6 – 3 boys and 3 girls and all that entailed, no,  she was warm and loving and gentle .

 

Soon, those of us that still remember each  of them as they  were when they  were alive and part of our living memory  will also  have passed  and apart from the little bits of information  left in  my  mothers” ” MY BOOK” ( hopefully  passed down to  the younger family  members) we too will die our third death.

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

I  have tried to  hold (in the present )  the “man that time forgets” – you- by  keeping your life, your art, your thoughts and our love for you  alive on this blog- archived (hopefully  for  all time)   – and  with  my  own book, when it is completed

and our own  contributions to  the great – what happens after you  die  theories ……

 

Love doesn’t forget……. and neither do  we

April 3, 2019 at 10:31 am 4 comments

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