Posts filed under ‘Fathers’
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
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
Every Spring since then I have waited for the ice and snow to melt – holding onto the hope the Koi will be there .
The disaster of taking down the Willow tree and changing the pond habitat .
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.
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.
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.
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…….
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.
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?
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–
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 –
and all is forgotten but as long as my son remains in that place of disrespect- I will not forget.
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 –
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
The domain in the garden past the pond
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.
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.
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
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.
Gabriel’s Last Day by his mother- Lisa Miller
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.😐
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 …………
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
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 19th- As I type this morning, once again watching the sunrise over the twinkling lights of the neighbors Christmas decorations lighting the now bare branches of the cherry tree, I am reminded of another December 19th. The day the Lombardis , your bride Angela http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147 , the Vykas , Gonzales, Zaworskis and Gotts and Father Divas took you my son, to their “family plot” without your kith or kin .
It was an act ( in my view) of pure selfishness,vindictiveness and without pity.
“Your name was RITCHEY , NOT – Lombardi , Vyka , Gonzales, Gott or Zaworski . You were taken to their faith and their closure, denying your family even the “time of your interment in their selfishness.”
As someone said
“it is like Chris’ family didn’t exist”
That day, just a week before the celebration of Christmas, a day of celebration, where they dress in their finest, attend a church and profess to their God they are worthy of taking Him and His Son into their hearts. They celebrate the “Mother of their Church ”
http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20091221/mary-mother-of-god-begins-anew but have taken– seemingly without a thought to the consequences of such an act, of inflicting further pain to another mother.
The Memorialization by Bereaved Parents Project– gave me a chance not only to share my son, his story and to realize I was not alone – there were others who walked the path who needed……….
Memorialization by Bereaved Parents
The death of a child is a devastating loss that has a profound impact on parents and a families . Prior research has found that maintaining /continuing bonds with deceased children is common and can be very beneficial.
This project sought to understand how bereaved parents maintain such bonds through memorializing their children as well as the meaning they find in doing so. Participants were asked to provide photographs that depict how they memorialize and remember their children thus allowing participants to provide the visual images of their choosing that capture unique aspects of their experience……….
Their children died from a variety of causes , including illness, accident , murder and unknown causes. All of the participants are female and are diverse in terms of age ethnicity, religious/spiritual beliefs and sexual orientation.
These mothers , including myself , all have the need to remember “out loud” in their own way; whether it is leaving tokens of love at the last tangible place on this earth that holds their child, a special place to go and reflect or call out to the silence “WHY” ?
The need to have their son or daughter remembered for a life that was lived, no matter how brief . The need to have a repository , if you will, of the love that was for that son or daughter that was theirs alone. A love that still flows from a mothers heart , seeking the child for which it was meant.
When the Lombardis, your bride and the “creatures of control” took you away into that place of deceit and cowardice – for not one had the strength to speak of “pity” for your family. The death of human kindness on that day led to the birth of my own memorial. A place where I revisit your life, your story and I can cry my tears and shout WHY? to the morning sunrise. I can remember you and let your art speak ….
I have only words to describe , it is a terrible thing to live out your life without the laughter of your son , incommunicable to those who have not felt this grief’s slashing ferocity. Words are inadequate………
“I will never forget the first moment I saw her work. I felt something inside me stir. It was a connection to the abyss, to the darkness of grief- I knew Kollwitz had seen something that I had also seen. I felt she, too, was a keeper of the dark secrets.
Kollwitz birthed art of the soul, from the depths of traumatic grief so frightening that few dare allow themselves to really see it. During WWII, her art (perceived accurately as anti-war) was banned by Hitler. She witnessed, first hand, the horrors of war and lost far too much because of it: Her grandson, named Peter after her dead son, lost his life in war too.
Look at her work. I mean, really look at it. ”
ED NOTE: Kollwitz’s work can be raw and full of truths it can scream the most primordial scream and does
She wrote of her son:
[I] made a drawing: the mother letting her dead son
slide into her arms.
I might make a hundred such drawings
and yet I do not get any closer to him.
I am seeking him.
As if I had to find him in my work.
And yet everything I do is so childishly foolish and inadequate…
I am shattered, weakened, drained by tears…
Yet new flowers have grown up which would not have grown
without the tears shed this year.
Men do not know the souls of one another.
Only the galley slaves know one another,
who side by side are chained, and gasp for breath.
Father’s Day in this family – is one of those bitter
But his daughter has given him, her father, two special gifts and also given them to the special man in her life and in so doing the gifts of “Father’s Day”
Hey Nog!!! that isn’t a pacifier -it is my “mouth guard
I THOUGHT YOU WANTED THE DRAPES DOWN AND I WASN’T TRYING TO ESCAPE… OK I’M BUSTED!!!!!
The Water is fine- Nana come on in
We love to share ( well sometimes)
Dad took “ME” Fishing and helped build my first monster truck!
Ahhhhhh BUT he showed “ME” how to Power Nap!