Posts filed under ‘Fathers’

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

April 3rd – Trilogy Trigger- Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey- CIA

This past month has been particularly  difficult, losing my  dear friend Paula to  the obscenity  that is cancer, the  “hell is other people” neighbors with  their  form of obscenity  invading  what little space we have. It is what is called “life” for want of a description.  As another departed friend used to  say   “everyone has a story”  and yet another ” there is no  laughter in hell”, but then again you  would have to  believe in a heaven if you  believe in hell.

Easter was this past weekend , another holiday  I  hypocritically  celebrate for the sake of loved ones and friends . I have pointed out my  views and Easter/Eastre has been noted – another pagan holiday  utilized, blended, absorbed  and  morphed for convenience sake of whatever was the popular faith  at the time  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/ahhhhhh-easter-eastre-resurrecting-memories-eggs-and-crabs/

To  me all religion is another man’s myth dressed up  for the masses of whatever century  of which  you  happen to  be a part.

Irony, not to  be  outdone this year,  the weekend found Gavin’s 9th  birthday  and your Dad’s and Easter  all  falling together.

 

You  Dad born on another Easter Sunday  on the top of the kitchen table ( so the story  goes) let alone being April  Fool’s Day.

Triple play in memories flooded in- other Easters with  Papa Teddy  and Auntie Gladys coming down  from Canada especially  at Easter and Thanksgiving , they really  were the closest thing to  grandparents. Such  love , such  beautiful people. Your first Easter , you  decided to   crawl and Papa Teddy  spent the whole time steering you  away  from the fireplace hearth, fascinated even then by  flames.

Memories of you  being taken to  that “terrible to  me now” church  St. Mary’s  Lorain  https://www.parishesonline.com/find/st-mary-catholic-church-44052          by  your godparents on Easter Sunday .  Well…..up  until the time you  “shot the priest” with  a pretend gun and  something religious spilled  as someone in the procession jumped and there was such  a kafuffle apparently. I know you  were never again taken to  Easter Sunday  services there.

To  think that church  would play such  havoc in our lives bringing such anger and unkindness – due to  you  walking down that same aisle   and the taking of any  closure, denying our beliefs  by  your  controlling “in law family”( Lombardi/ Vika and offspring) and the “bride” Angela Lombardi ( Ritchey) now Murphy


not to  mention “their priest” Divis –

Sharing a laugh – but on whom?

 

There should have been overload in the confessional, one  would think,  although forgiveness is far from my  heart. Ah! what meaning in this life today of  a ‘mother’s curse” in days of myth and legend  a powerful instrument met now with  the word Karma??? Karma  borrowed once more from an even older religion…. I  wait ………

Gavin’s “birthday” or day  of his birth – hoping against hope as you  lay  in that terrible  Cleveland Clinic-  the lab rat- being made to  clinically  die to  “save you”.   I had to  leave you  that night  to  be with  your sister  as a new life came into  the world……….. torn once more………

Your Dad’s birthday – the years of playing pranks not just because it was April fools day but because your loved your jokes. The time you  took out an ad in the paper  selling the house .  Yes! all memories , uninvited guests along with  the ham,  steaks,  tulips and a missing space at the table.

And yet  laughter and smiles, little boys and a girl  looking for surprises, barely  able to  sit still as the grown-ups  took forever to  eat. Tales of other memories , other traditions  , pastel eggs mixed in with  camouflage eggs, a grandfather and his grandsons  sharing a moment  to  remember.

Yes all intertwined showing the colors and also  the greyness of what we have become – I love you – we all do……..

April 3, 2018 at 11:29 am 1 comment

Tree of Love- Gabriel Miller- moonbeam and light 2017


A few weeks after my  son passed, a good friend also  felt that same terrible pain of losing her child. There isn’t much you  can do  or say  after those initial weeks to  those that have not felt what it is like to  be absolutely  “gutted” and whose world is no  longer together.  You  are expected to  get over it  –  move on-  people  can get impatient with  your grief, you  are a dreadful reminder that a loss of a child can happen to  them . You  have no  outlet for your love that continues to  grow.  In the following May after Gabe’s passing from  this world,  Gabe’s father and mother planted a tiny tree ( supposedly a dwarf variety) in the area known as Settlers’ Watch.

 

Through the seasons the tree was tended with care  and love ; the little tree grew . Every  year Gabe’s mum and dad light the now  the not so  little tree- 2015 found  it a bit of a stretch for his dad.  This year  more than a stretch was needed

and night fell on a snowy Christmas

The little tree, no  longer small – grown tall- fed with  love and watered with  tears  shone through the darkness and cold reminding us of a little boy

a sweet child – the light of his mother and father’s very  being – the love that is his alone  -lights for just a little while the cold  dark nights.

Gabriel Miller August 17th-2009- December 31st 2009

Photos Lisa Miller – Lorain 365

December 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm 4 comments

The Ghost in the Pond- continued-2015

goldfish

A little over three months after my son’s death I wrote of his last Mother’s Day present to me – A small Ghost Koi
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/the-ghost-in-the-pond/

I was scared to look closer , maybe it was one of the pale goldfish , we have a couple. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the pond for a better look. I can still see my son kneeling by the pond and surreptitiously slipping in that Koi . Chris would check on the Koi every time he came home , he would ask in the hospital
How’s the Ghost has it given up the ghost yet?”

I had told myself last summer I would look up how to keep this fish over the winter. Would I have to set up an aquarium for it?
I berated Chris for giving me that hassle and he just grinned at me again.

I got my courage up and took a deep breath and went to the pond. Yes the Ghost Koi had survived and slides silently among the gold and the dark water .

My Mother’s Day present survived and once again I saw in my mind my son’s grin

ghkoipond
Every Spring since then I have waited for the ice and snow to melt – holding onto the hope the Koi will be there .
2011- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/ghost-in-the-pond-deux/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/the-ghost-in-the-pond-continues/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/mothers-day-2012-gifts-and-ghosts-a-fishy-story/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/a-ghost-of-remembrance-mothers-day/
The disaster of taking down the Willow tree and changing the pond habitat .
img_1045res
img_1251res
The terrible cold of the winter before this when the waterfalls cracked and a temporary pipe was added to keep the water flowing in order to keep the fish alive during the bleak winter months.
pondres
This year Chris’ Dad winterized the pond once more. He insulated and wrapped the pipe, the pump and added another back up. When everything, including Niagara Falls, froze the little pond was open. His design worked , even Shadow could not be party to its demolition.
fish threeres
The birds that stayed, the animals wild and domestic all flocked to my little water source in order to drink and bathe. Still, I worried about the Ghost – he has become rather large- the biggest fish in the pond and will have called the pond home for 6 years.
fishres
Finally this weekend saw the end to ice , snow and frozen ground- a splash of gold and silver as the fish returned to the surface to feed and bask in sunshine – and there he was larger than ever- the reminder that love given freely that Mother’s Day reminds the world the Ghost existed and exists……. fish1res
nikmiscelticso

April 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm 4 comments

Kink (s) in Father’s Day- Best of British! Pt. One

emglandres

It has been week of homesickness, not only for the country of my birth- England, but for my traditional values and a culture that still remain such an integral part of who I am. My cousin, has been visiting the old days, the family stories pulled out again , and laughter- something that I have not had too much of since losing my son.

I feel trapped by the values of others, I feel trapped by the thinking of the majority or those that have the power of the rules. It amazes me sometimes how this my new “hometown” has , by the sheer majority of religious beliefs and ethnic values” so differing for my own, has caused such unhappiness to this family.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/bishop-lennon-due-respect-beliefs-the-dead-and-calvary-cemetery-lorain/
divis
Of course, I am talking about the Italian/ Polish religious community headed by Father Divis ( read Roman Catholic of St. Mary’s Lorain ) and we can do whatever we wish to do because thinking of the Lombardi Vyka Clan ( and now the Angela Murphy) control.

My son’s remains trapped in their toxic ground – without benefit of family . Of course Angela Lombardi Ritchey Murphy http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
has moved on – dumped the possessions( that were not of any monetary value) and art work of my son– as soon as she could – after our Chris’s death but held onto those ashes. Why? she was done with Chris after the 2nd stem cell transplant failed- the show -put on was good for the “community” and they did it well! But never the less it was a show – Does she still require that “grave” place for the depositing of vodka , beer cans, cake and balloons?
lombardivyka clan

I am amazed at the thinking – how does a woman profess to be a healer and turn around with such coldness and callousness of control as to deny a father his son in the darkest hour of any parent’s life?

I would ask any father, any mother reading this to look at your son or your daughter, imagine the horror of helplessly standing by watching them fight for each breath , nursing them every day of those last months of life, watching them die , having information kept from you by the “in law family, helpless and then have your flesh and blood and the last vestige of your child taken without your input or any consideration as to your wishes. Look at your son or daughter , try to imagine the pain and grief at losing them and you tell me tell me what these people did was right
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/dec-4th-how-cold-is-cold-lombardi/

to put your son in a cemetery of their faith without you even being told they were doing so- and now of course “their moving on” Sue Lombardi , Tim Lombardi now mother and father in law to another Chris ( Murphy) – the do over wedding
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/the-bliss-of-a-wedding-not-for-me-ritchey-murphy/

wedding bells and black hearts

wedding bells and black hearts

and all is forgotten but as long as my son remains in that place of disrespect- I will not forget.

chris dad mistyFathers Day
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/fathers-day-2011-time-passes/

We tip toe around the edges of Fathers Day- whilst his daughter tries so hard to be both of his children- the fact her brother is no longer here to share the breakfast at McDonald’s ( a tradition started when they were both little) . There is always the reminder Chris –
chrismeresglow1
There is a tenaciousness being British- we don’t as a true Brit ever give up- I am not sure that is a good trait- so much easier to go with the flow- give in to the majority of put it away, move on, forget it, nothing we can do apathy , why try you are in the minority, thinking that pervades this community. But apart from being British I am also a mother and I carry my son in my heart and soul and his DNA in my body! Emotionally and physically he is with me still and always will be.

The waste of trying to make a difference lost on the “altars” of those who have the power.
So another Fathers Day- another reminder of wonder at the children given life- and another reminder of a death and a cruelty given to a Father who loved unconditionally.

To be continued

June 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm 4 comments

March 3rd- feeling the energy- Chris Ritchey

Hard signature

The domain in the garden past the pond

pondlife

is a place I don’t frequent- it was and is your father’s “area’ and like his basement not a place I care to go or for which to take responsibility. The Weeping Willow hid a lot of his sins- but that too had to go last spring.

treestumpcol

I still kept to my end of the garden and closed my eyes to the time it was taking to get the garden back into some sort of order. The truth be told I no longer had the “energy to fight the blight” that is the male idea of “need.

But one day , late last summer , I could stand it no longer and I had to do “something’ to tidy up. I moved the wrought iron trellis which had been leaning up against the garden wall. I positioned the trellis by the side of the garage over the curve in the pathway by the boat. Hopefully this would hide the “boat” from my view, a job the Willow did so well. I took the grape vines that were in abundance and tied them up on to the trellis. Then, as I precariously stood upon the step-ladder, I turned toward the garage to tie in the next side of the trellis. My eyes became fixed , not really taking in what I was seeing – they saw where you had left your name in paint on the garage wall.
chrpnt2res

Unexpected, as it was, the effect was instantaneous I felt my knees buckle , my breath catch, and those eyes that have cried so many days and nights filled once more with tears. I was transported back from the present once again, in the memory of my mind, to another place and time where once again we walked, talked, hoped and waited in vain for a cure ………..no work of art ever touched me so profoundly as that signature .

Oh! the explanation is simple enough you were , that spring , helping your father to paint the side of the garage – but everything went wrong – cancer and chemo put paid to painting but not before you had taken a brush and used your energy to write your name in the old paintwork.

Your father told me that he couldn’t bring himself to paint over your name so there it has stayed these many , many months, unbeknownst to me, as I never venture past the pond if I can help it. .

I can still see the energy you used in the writing of your name , the pressure of the brush to wood, the adding of paint to the brush as you proclaimed you were here at that time” .

Not being an artist or an art critic, I was always a little perplexed when I would hear ” the energy of the brushwork”- but here it was – not a Van Gogh or even a Boccioni http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umberto_Boccioni
or Julia Watkins https://www.facebook.com/pages/Energy-Artist-Julia-Watkins/69027658560

Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey

Just a young man on a warm spring day leaving his mark on the garage before he painted over it -something that never happened. Yet, seeing your name, left there these many months brought home once more how I much I still love you , a love that grows and doesn’t diminish , miss you, your laughter and your energy

My heart is in pieces and I miss you more than life itself………. and yes it is “Hard” harder than I ever thought possible to bear.

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey

March 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm 4 comments

Gabriel Miller- a light still reaches into the darkness

Gabriel’s Last Day by his mother- Lisa Miller

http://bustershouse.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/gabriels-last-day/

This post from Lisa is honestly and terribly beautiful in its torment and shows a mother’s love for her child- and how those that grieve try to walk upright- her last two paragraphs are ones that every mother who has lost has experienced …

As I walked through the automatic doors of the CICU [cardiac intensive care unit] for the last time, the hallway appeared to stretch itself out before me, becoming endless. I stood up a little straighter and set out to make that endless walk through the hospital and across the street to the safety of our room without completely losing it in front of everyone along the way. Little did I know then what good practice that was going be for my new future.

* * * *
It has taken me four years to tell you the story of Gabriel’s last day. I remember every moment of his final two weeks in the hospital – and especially his death – as if it just happened. His death literally took my words away and society reinforced my silence as a condition of being allowed into the land of the living. After all, the grieving are so much easier to deal with when they keep their sorrow to themselves. 😕

I was reminded of that by a relative on Christmas Day this year. His boisterous “Merry Christmas!” greeting to me was met with as much of a smile as I could muster and I said “Something like that. Thanks, same to you.” He quickly responded “Well, this is a happy holiday for everyone else.” I sarcastically thanked him for that friendly reminder and went on to endure being a spectator to the festivities (again) and being reminded at every turn who was missing (still). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year indeed. 😐

2013

Gabes tree 2013moon

2012
gabemiller
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/gabriel-miller-a-child-of-light-remembering-the-smile/

Gabriel’s smile was bestowed for a just a briefness of time , but it remains in the hearts of his mummy and daddy . They, in turn, share with us a small smile sparkling in the darkness, given to those that pass a certain spot where a tiny tree brings light for just a little …… remembering the child of light …………

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/gabriel-miller-a-child-of-light-remembering-the-smile/

2011
gabe_1471_hands
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/gabriel-miller-the-missing-moonbeam-2011/

As this year passes once more it is a reminder there is a missing moonbeam, whose silvery light is lost to our world but the spark that flared into a flame of love brighter than any ray of the sun continues to burn in the hearts of those that loved their moon beam and basked in the light of his smile

2010

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/31/a-year-passes/

Moonbeams - Chris Ritchey

Moonbeams – Chris Ritchey

December 31st with song, laughter,food, fireworks and noise makers they will not notice a small light is no longer shining this year.

But in a home in Lorain, a mother and father dread this New Years Eve, they will not celebrate because all the fireworks, lights in the sky cannot make up for the “light they lost” – their precious moonbeam -who shone so brightly for just a little while and radiated such love and truth as to shame the dark.

December 30, 2013 at 11:08 pm 3 comments

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