Posts filed under ‘journey’

Jan 3rd- No Limits- the foreword- Chris Ritchey

I  start another decade, recent months have been very  hard, some of the situations I  have blogged about some may  not ever come to  light on this blog. I am waiting … I have spent most of December deciding on how to  proceed . I am definitely  going to  “try  and finish” the book NO LIMITS as it pertains to  my  son. Although 10 ish chapters have already  been written I have had to  decide how to  proceed. I have made the decision to not only  publish in paperback form  eventually  but I may start serializing  each month on this blog. Here for your edification ( readers who still bear with me ) is the foreword  of NO LIMITS!!!!!!


By Loraine Ritchey

“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “

Foreword- NO LIMITS

Brave words from my son, Christopher, on a fall day, his 4th year at Cleveland Institute of Art. I had met him for a meal in Tremont, Ohio. He was so very angry, one of his projects had met with resistance and indeed censorship. His anger and frustration spilled out:

Why were his thoughts not being accepted in a very community that accepts so much more than the general population? Why would he be censored in the very open environment of an art college where nothing it seemed was untouchable?

After all, his fellow students went outside so many politically incorrect boundaries. Had he gone past where even those of his peers were feared to go? Had he come up against the self-imposed limits of a society of his peers?

I never did find out what the project was that caused the censorship and his anger that day. In true Christopher fashion, he changed his project to another, an “Anti-Political Correctness Campaign– complete with displays and posters He used the situation to “speak out” and “show” those who believed themselves to be followers of the out of the box thinking, they were still inside a box, even if the box they had made was larger than most, their walls maybe be transparent yet there were and are walls.


freedom of speech by Chris Ritchey

As I ponder the wisdom of writing the events of life as we know it and death as we believe it to be, I know there will be questions I cannot answer, events I cannot prove.

I am opening myself, my family and my son to a world of naysayers, negativity and ridicule. I will reach the walls with this book. I will push aside and through the walls my peers in this “community”  and others have erected for themselves and for me.

Ironically although  I have always written the truth whenever I have sat at this keyboard and its predecessors I probably   won’t be believed , explanations will abound, logic ( as we perceive things to happen)will come into play .

I have hesitated for months, even years, to tell the story from my self-imposed box. I have written millions of words on my personal blog in the 10 years since my son died. . I have written his story, I have opened myself and my innermost thoughts and feelings. I have told the tale of cruelty, searing pain and thoughts of suicide. I have exposed myself in ways not many would without fear. So then, why is it I hesitate to share all of our story, a story of continuing love, strength and astonishment?

What could be so dangerous in opening up a world of hurt to my loved ones? Why would a love that continues cause such angst and trepidation in those of my society?

Society? Oh they can’t hurt me, I am beyond their pain, their laughter The sound of laughter to one who rarely laughs is just pleasant echo of what once was. There should be laughter in the world, I do not begrudge laughter or being the source of humor. The disbelief , I don’t care whether they believe or what they believe, so many believe so many different things, worship so many gods, those slings and arrows will not penetrate my being there is an armor in “knowing” The insults and negativity that will come as the story unfolds will bring the comments-

Why not my loved one? Why them? It is the grief, she wants money, she wants her five minutes of fame, and she always was strange. , needs medication, exploiting her son. They are just consumed with grief, hallucinating.

Yes! I can hear those raucous voices, tinged with the cynicism, of organized religion or lack of religious beliefs. So why martyr my family on the pyre of society? Why open this family to those who would wound?

I HAVE to document what happened to this family and my son, for the sake of my daughter, grandsons and future generations. I have to be brave, as my son was brave. I need to tell this story of a mother’s nightmare, of a love that reaches through the barriers of disbelief, of hope. I have the need to document and yet there is a fear my son will once again be negated in death as he was in life by those of “beliefs”.

Every night I see one of my son’s “projects’ from his graphic design course as it hangs framed upon the bedroom wall. It was a small project

Take three words and make the visual connection. Timid- Confidence, Aggressive- coupled with Past, Present and Future to tell a story.


It is the “future” graphic which nags at me, his future was not to be. The cartoon character of a snow boarder explaining his future and the word “aggressive”. I looked at the artwork through tears for weeks as it hung, along with other projects, on the wall. It wasn’t until I looked very carefully one day whilst dusting; I noticed written faintly on the bottom of the snowboard “No limits” and yet I too, have limited the truth by omitting a truth from my writings on my blog..

It is time to  tell the story  so long in waiting no matter the consequences….

To be continued … Chapter  One 

January 2, 2020 at 11:32 pm 8 comments

Jan 3rd- Relativity to Time – Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey CIA

Time  and relativity – I admit the highest  mark I  ever received from Norman Niles- my  Physics teacher was D minus! I  hated Math  and I detested Physics- loved Chemistry  and History.

However  ” Events that occur at the same time for one observer could occur at different times for another.”

Black Holes I never understood – more a case of not wanting to  be bothered- BUT and there is always a but I feel I am ( as well as probably  many  others of my  kind) lost in time .

A mother who  has lost her child – there are no  words  or labels for us – not a widow, an orphan, etc  unless you  consider  “tethligons”  (Sanskrit word which means ‘against the natural order’)which,  for me ,conjures up some sort of terrible monster- but then losing your  son or daughter makes you  feel like you  are in the world of monsters – caught , crunched between the teeth of the monster  and then spat out – only  to  be caught again

Most of humanity   live in a 3 dimensional world – and then again….

We can portray our reality as either a three-dimensional place where stuff happens over time,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Max Tegmark, “or as a four-dimensional place where nothing happens [‘block universe’] — and if it really is the second picture, then change really is an illusion, because there’s nothing that’s changing; it’s all just there — past, present, future.

The diagnostic box- self- portrait Chris Ritchey

My  universe, Christopher,  since you  have been taken away  has left me in a world where I float, for the most part, between the time before, then and now- New Year’s Eves  have come and gone but every  day  and night I am elsewhere  lost in time, as it no longer registers or is linear,  the time  that has come in between observed only  by others in the 3rd dimension   . I wake never knowing the year…………………. my  4 dimensional  world apart from the normal .


Struggling toward some knowledge of the “physics of it all” and once again a barely  passing grade. There are glimpses of understanding  but the are illusive  , on the edge of conscience , just out of reach –



but they  are there – if only  my  tired brain could grab them – the tools of science notwithstanding in their cold calculations .

I continue to  love and exist in this dimension – nothing changes our  love or missing of you……….except they  grow in strength no  matter the time ….




January 2, 2018 at 11:42 pm Leave a comment

Many faces of The Captain- Settlers’ Watch- Lorain 2017

Photo Mark Teleha

As I started to write this post with regard to the tree carvings at Settlers’ Watch and their journey
( yes you will see they have travelled over time) I realized we were coming up on the 10th anniversary of the first carvings. Time, bugs, road salt and weather have taken their toll.

But it is “The Captain” who has changed and was on life support for a year or more. We spent hundreds in chemicals and treatments and this is his story.

Born 2007 The Captain had a rough birth- CVSI had raised money to carve some of trees taken down by Ohio Edison – 19 of them along 2nd street making the street uglier and without any softness or much worth .

We had just started the carving – first up Lorain Portside Sign to coincide with the Lorain Bicentennial August 2007


when a change in the plan for the new sewers blindsided us. Originally these were going to bypass the area BUT as with all things plans change and trees marked for carving were taken down ( without warning) and piles of materials were stored on the site. We had already taken donations and the carvings were contracted.

This meant since they chopped down his tree and the one destined to be Eric Barnes Eagle we had to purchase other pieces of wood to be carved into the Captain and Eric Barnes Eagle off site.
The eagle when finished was safely stored at inside at the City of Lorain but the Captain went to Black River Landing.

He was supposed to be sealed and not stored on concrete due to the heat coming up from the concrete and in direct sunlight- this didn’t happen . Unfortunately, in the ensuing months of not being maintained , the toll taken by summer and winter the Captain started with issues.


Photo Mark Teleha

When we finally brought him back to the site he was very dry and whilst the other carvings took a gallon of sealer for all 4 he took 2 gallons by himself, he was soaking it up like a sponge but he and the other carvings finally had a home

Photo Mark Teleha

There he stood spring , summer , fall and winter for the next 4 years


His other problem is he attracts seagulls – these seagulls have a tendency to sit on his hat and poop – that poop eats away at the sealer opening his wood up to the elements and bugs .In 4 years he went from this to this

And his issues continued:

It was one day (during Pride Day 3 years ago) as we went to give him a coat of sealer we noticed what looked like a bullet hole in his back. No! not a bullet hole BUT wood wasps had made their homes in him, and the Heron and Lighthouse.

The Heron and Lighthouse were a quick fix but the Captain had a attracted seagulls who delighted in sitting on his hat . Their guano had eaten through the sealer and the wood on the top of his head leaving a huge hole in his head – just brilliant for collecting water. .

Research was started as how to preserve him and his crumbling insides- Many hundreds of dollars later we tried with preservatives , bug deterrents – drilling holes in him filling him with the wood chemicals, stabilizing wood pieces and plugging him up. We reached out to professionals all over the country. We added a hat over his carved head until we could deal with the damage and the seagulls. We had to leave his head open to access his insides.

Photo Lorain 365

Try as we might, his rotted insides didn’t react well and the chemicals actually reacted with the sealer and the Captain turned a dark mahogany.

He was literally flaking to death – his ship’s wheel would find the stanchions falling to the ground, his arms where the wasps and insects had done the most damage were hollow and flaking off, shedding with every week. It looked like curtains for the Captain. Obviously none of the “professional fixes ” were working we had to stabilize him whilst we experimented – otherwise the Captain was sunk.

His hat was retied onto his head ,back to front to protect his face , his cracks and holes filled with a special wood compound but

would it harden- would it stay- could we carve it -like the can said?

We worked on the top of his arms and shoulders , replaced the wheel stanchions . covered his top half with a black bag to keep out the water and painted his lower half with a white preservative- and there he sat for most of last summer, fall and winter.

Photo Lorain 365

The unveiling was done with much trepidation this June

The test areas seemed to be holding so the next step filling the insides- no more bugs but cavities were still a huge problem, experiments with special insulation foam and various fill products seemed to work- he was less hollow and stable. Where the foam etc leaked out we could carve it and it held the wood product alright and so we left him without his black bag and the water was shedding off him .

So there we were – what next? Obviously we couldn’t leave him looking like he was and we could no longer seal it with the varnish- The men in the know-( his surgeons) decided house paint.. but that would look awful I thought but something has to be done to cover and seal the patches etc. House paint it was – Tudor Brown ( can you guess where that came from)- well it looks good on my house) – the problem was he looked flat and semi glossed… a bit softening and highlighting, the Captains face changed again –

He is a little grayer ( more like driftwood than mahogany this time around) – but then who wouldn’t be grayer after all he has been through- I know I am! Fingers crossed and if you would like to donate to the Captain’s Hat

If you can see your way to helping to fill the Captains Hat – 100% percent of your donation goes to the project. We are a 501C3
Make checks payable to Charleston Village Society- ( Captain’s Hat in the memo line)
1127 West 4th Street, Lorain, Ohio 44052

There is still work to do at the very base and if this fix holds then hopefully he will remain at his helm for a few more years …Oh and his hat was put back on just incase a seagull alights!!!

July 26, 2017 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment

“Drop the Dead Donkey” are we still laughing?

Oscar Wilde, who opined in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying that, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life! ( with the exception of Drop the Dead Donkey !!!

Since I am addicted to Acorn TV ,
I spend more time than would be thought healthy in front of the television, overdosing on English programming. I noticed one of the series was leaving the line-up. I hadn’t head of it , yet it had an 8 year run in the UK “Drop the Dead Donkey” – I have to wonder whether it was thought unsuitable for American viewing at the time , didn’t travel well in the 1990’s, – too close to the truth perhaps?

Drop the Dead Donkey is a situation comedy that first aired on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom between 1990 and 1998. It is set in the offices of “GlobeLink News”, a fictional TV news company. Recorded close to transmission, it made use of contemporary news events to give the programme a greater sense of realism. It was created by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin. The series had an ensemble cast, making stars of Haydn Gwynne, Stephen Tompkinson and Neil Pearson.

The series began with the acquisition of GlobeLink by media mogul Sir Roysten Merchant, an allusion to either Robert Maxwell or Rupert Murdoch. Indeed, Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin note on their DVDs that it was fortunate for their libel lawyers that the two men shared the same initials. The series is mostly based on the ongoing battle between the staff of GlobeLink, led by editor George Dent, as they try to maintain the company as a serious news organisation, and Sir Roysten’s right-hand man Gus Hedges, trying to make the show more sensationalist and suppress stories that might harm Sir Roysten’s business empire.

dam dayresI started my viewing and yes, the show which started in 1990 was a bit dated. I found it fascinating to see Steven Tompkinson ( Father Clifford of Ballykiss Angel and ( DCI Banks) (PBS) as a very young actor portraying Damien Day the ambitious ,unethical reporter .
Yes, some of the comedy was a little forced and some of Tompkinson’s comedic timing a little off in these early episodes but my focus was of the “news events of the time”

Twenty five years ago – the subject matter topical of its day – of course a lot of the news that was happening at the time I recalled, as I went down through media memory lane.
The Invasion of Kuwait in 1990
we nervously watched our nightly news CNN and Peter Arnett giving us the night camera action and reporting controversy


His {Peter Arnett} reports on civilian damage caused by the bombing were not received well by the coalition war administration, who by their constant use of terms like “smart bombs” and “surgical precision” had tried to project an image that civilian casualties would be at a minimum. White House sources would later state that Arnett was being used as a tool for Iraqi disinformation and CNN received a letter from 34 Members of the United States Congress accusing Arnett of “unpatriotic journalism”.

Who would have thought that 25 years later we would still be embroiled in the middle east mess and the area would still be on our nightly news feed. .

Terrorism and the response of the media???? – Oh yes! that is still happening

The made up stories by the “top reporter/ anchor “??? – Yes! that too still happens

The first fiction you’re probably familiar with. Last winter, Williams was caught for having repeated a tall tale about his experiences embedded with U.S. troops on a helicopter in the 2003 Iraq War. NBC removed him from the newscast and conducted an internal investigation; according to the announcement, the network found other (unspecified) examples of Williams’ “inaccurate statements,” most of them not on NBC News but “on late-night programs and during public appearances.”

and not just in America
pet williams

The talking heads of news delivery 1990

yes they are still with us they have become the satire


Charles and Camilla and his wanting to be a tampon

source not found

source not found

The tape’s notoriety was due to Prince Charles’s wistful remark that he’d like to be Camilla’s ”tampon”, to which she replied: ”You are a complete idiot … Oh, what a wonderful idea.”
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook

as his conversations were hacked???? –

Oh yes…. a recent happening again

Did the News of the World scandal have its unsavoury beginnings in Camillagate, the phone-tapping ”scoop” that scandalised the royal family 18 years ago?

The Clintons, and what jobs they would be give? How Hillary wanted to run Washington and had her heart set on the Presidency ( not a lot has changed there the 😉 A Bush Presidency??? It seems we are still in that familiar loop; older faces and now the brother faces.

Source   Wikipedia

Source Wikipedia

Mega millionaires like the disgraced Robert Maxwell and his hat in the political media and of course Rupert Murdoch oh yes! he and another mega millionaire still frothing at the mouth connection
The relatively low-key Murdoch has long been turned off by Trump’s braggadocio. Photo: Reuters
Read more:

However, just today we find the headline News on BBC and the Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch” holding forth on Twitter ( twitter = twits)

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has sent a tweet suggesting President Barack Obama is not a “real black president”.

 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In tweets praising Republican candidate Ben Carson, Mr Murdoch wrote: “Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide?”

One thing though, Gus- a wanna be gobbledygook Americanized salacious Chief Executive – making all the right political noises and over the top political correctness- – not much has changed in those 25 years either”

The unctuous Chief Executive of the company, and yes-man to Sir Roysten Merchant and an unwavering supporter of then Conservative Prime Minister John Major. A management stereotype, complete with clichés and clumsy metaphors, he swiftly transforms GlobeLink from a serious news network to a ratings-chasing tabloid channel

Ironically in a couple of shots in the 1990-1 series Gus had a above his desk in his office a photo of the twin towers. As I looked at that scene, who could have known those towers would 11 years later become a symbol of terror ……

Not much has changed it seems in the topical comedic world of our news and who gets the last laugh????

by Chris Ritchey

by Chris Ritchey

October 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

My immortality- my eyes- the new keepers of happiness

For many months, as I watched Gavin grow, I have seen this bundle of energy who explodes into life at full tilt all day long reminding me of people I love.

Gavin is a composite of those I love – his daddy’s head, dimples and legs – he was the only baby I have ever seen that was born with defined calf muscles.

His mother’s and great – grandmother’s eyes, mother’s nose and mouth . Chris’s hands ,which were just like his own fathers – his great- grandfather’s way of sitting on the floor and the “screwed up” face smile. And yes! my own son’s- Chris’ temper and penchant for drama – which was also inherited from me – Nag nog. (Apologies to those Target shoppers of last night- due to the

I NEEEEEEEED and WANT that truck!

and the reaction to NO! 🙂

The way Gavin telegraphs, to those watching, his next move, the emotions flitting across his face as quickly as the thoughts in his brain . And you had better be quick- his total lack of fear and curiosity – a personality made of quick silver can lead you to “run” to keep up. I see the people I love all wrapped up in this dynamic little body .

I can assure you all that Gavin’s temper/drama is not a learned behaviour it is in his genes- as neither parent has that particular personality quirk( no! and nor can they even begin understand it) – that part of Gavin definitely came down from me and my heredity . I understand Gavin’s temper – I know what will set him off before he does- just like I knew my son. (The journey)

Luckily, we of the drama, get over our drama quickly , although others tend to sulk- but we do remember why , what and who sets us off- as does Gavin. Still one can hope Gavin will learn to deal with his frustration as he gets older, he will mellow and hopefully the energy will be constructive. I cannot see anything of me in his little face though just in his personality .

Braedyn, now 5 months old , is a totally different personality – takes after his mummy and daddy in that respect – happy , content, loving and an infectious laugh that simply bubbles out of that cuddly little package and no drama ( so far). Braedyn just enjoys all that is put before him. I can’t tell about his hands just yet, the shape of his head is more his mothers as is his nose – his father’s mouth and forehead and penchant for laughter and companionship.

But as Braedyn grows I have realized I have been looking into my own eyes- . This is a very strange experience to look into one’s own eyes -something I can’t quite describe.

It was just a few weeks ago as I was cuddling him, giving him his bottle, I looked upon his little happy chubby face with cheeks like his mummy. Looking down into those blue eyes I realized I was looking at eyes I had seen in a mirror all my life.

Oh! due to age and months of constant tears my eyes have changed – they are now pale , saddened , sodden and swollen – no longer reflecting happiness that once shone through from my soul, or the fire that would spark from time to time , they are no longer bright with joy and laughter.

Braedyn’s eyes, so much like mine now hold the legacy – gone these many months from mine own – joy and happiness are now captured the sparkling blue depths of Braedyn’s eyes .

My fervent hope is Braedyn never loses the happiness in those eyes and that Gavin continues to rush at life his spirit buoyed on with the laughter and love of his little brother who now holds and becomes the keeper of the legacy of my happiness in his eyes .

July 7, 2012 at 10:52 am 5 comments

February 3rd- the earth is flat- Chris Ritchey

I have been on the rollercoaster of yin and yang again this week. My ticket to ride a new little life and all that goes with it. As I sat in the hallway outside the “Birthing Room” at EMH- watching as dads scurried back and forth to the vending machine and an expectant mother walked her labor and they smiled at this plump rather disheveled probable grandmother – if they only knew the anguish and control she was trying to keep as she weakly smiled in return.

The corridor had a bank of windows which overlooked the surgical waiting room down below- I had no choice but from my vantage point to look out onto the very chairs where I had sat with my daughter as Chris was going through an exploratory surgery for a cancer diagnosis. The surgeon, not hopeful and those words

Yes it is more than likely cancer- I suggest you get an oncologist.

Just a one floor down from where I was sitting my heart broke – a journey began .

Yet, one floor up and on another winter day, I waited once more as another journey was beginning for a child of mine as well, a happy journey but one as any mother will tell you comes with pain. Since I had a cold, I masked and gloved myself – again taking me back to the time my son needed me most and I sat masked and gloved – removed from touch or smile . The mere gesture of putting on that mask again caused my stomach to tightened, a cold grip cramping my heart-my throat tightening fighting the inevitable tears but once again a child of mine was vulnerable so I fought down the need to run or dissolve.

I watched my daughter’s little face as the nurse said

“at 36 weeks there is a danger of respiratory problems” –

I wanted to shout at her –

Well what is she supposed to do about that – why mention it to her she can’t stop her labor can she?

I said nothing just

‘It will be alright”-

but that is what I had said to my son and it wasn’t and she knew it – her eyes told me of her fear.

The nurse then reiterated the “breathing issue” I watched the stress effecting her through the monitor as I watched it happen with Chris.

No! not this time – the “professionals” were not going to do this again.

I said ”

Do not pay any attention to that Nikki – do not listen – this baby is not 36 weeks I know that and so does the baby”.

I told the nurse out of my daughter’s hearing –

IF there are any concerns you tell her husband or myself – you do not mention anything in front of her- there is nothing she can do – this “right to know” has to be treated with SOME intelligence.

I am sure I was classified that “bitch of a mother in 306 “ once again but I didn’t and don’t care.

The nursing staff had no idea that since the birth of my daughter’s first child in that unit 2 1/2 years previously her world had been rocked to its foundations- she had lost her brother- the memory of him talking her through from his hospital room to her, seeing her through as she was in labor with her first-born – on her mind and in her heart , faced the evil obscenity of cancer, lost members of her family through their selfishness and control and then trying to be brave knowing her new little one was early – and now she was just an insurance number with a patient ID being given “possible” news- clinical and cold from a “stranger” .

Thankfully, a little boy came into this life announcing his displeasure at being poked and prodded with lungs that let everyone know they were working and my tears were allowed to fill my eyes as I looked at the complete happiness that radiated from my daughter’s face.

I have regrets I didn’t do what my gut told me to do as my son lay dying in the Cleveland Clinic – I will no longer ignore my ” gut feeling ” ever again whether it comes to situations or people. And as another month passes I realize the earth is flat, it has to be , because I am hanging for dear life on to the edge of it trying not to fall off .

February 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm 4 comments

The journey continues – I long for laughter- Chris Ritchey

In Search of My Son- Part 17

I used to love this time of year- the burst of colour, crimson, golds and green – bright blue skies intensified by the crystal coldness of the air – a time to breathe without the heat and humidity I have never appreciated. I looked forward to curling up with a book in front of a fire as evening drew the curtains of inky blue over the outside world.

No longer do I greet this time of year with past enthusiasm. I read so many books whilst you fought for your life through stem cell transplants and in Texas- all those hours in waiting rooms, reading quietly whilst you tried to sleep in the next room in the Texas apartment. I don’t remember any of the ones I read- except for the one . It still is the most important book in this house.

I have tried reading to escape, I can’t, it just takes me back to that Thanksgiving Day in the Cleveland Clinic and as I read out loud to you – the episode– that is what they called it – he is having an episode– a code blue episode!!!! . Although the Dr. on duty came out to the “empty waiting room” said you were dying and did I want a clergyman- ironically the only time in that waiting room I wasn’t surrounded by the “gypsy encampment”
Circus by Chris Ritchey

I was alone – I couldn’t fathom what this Dr. was saying to me……. a nurse bringing me hot chocolate –

dying – what are they talking about?

But then you rallied -again hope – a chance for laughter once again in my life.

You see Chris was always the one who made me laugh– he could be very naughty as a little boy but it is hard to punish someone when he would make you laugh. Even as he grew he could be so exasperating at times but then that smile and irreverent humour which would make me melt.

It had been known to heal – his humour – it helped his Dad. A few months before Nikki got married my husband suffered an “episode” himself and had to have open heart surgery . He was in ICU at the Cleveland Clinic and was intubated.

He was in an induced coma for a while and according to the Drs. was “completely out of it” – only he wasn’t- although unable to respond he heard every word that was said – he knew I was holding his hand talking to him.

They said he wouldn’t remember anything but he did and told us afterwards everything we were saying and who was there – it was horrible not being able to show he heard and he knew what they and we were saying. It was very frightening for him. He has never gotten over that experience.
I remembered that as Chris lay in his bed those last days hooked up – I ache at the thought that he could have heard the dreadful Sue Lombardi and her daughter, Angela Ritchey DO calmly discussing what to dress Chris in in his coffin– it shatters me to think my son trapped in his body was hearing their thoughts on parking at the funeral home. Imagine that if you will.

Chris’s Dad insisted we say nothing in front of Chris when he was intubated worried he could hear and never to say goodbye because he didn’t want Chris to feel like he did – panicked and helpless. I watched the tears trickle down my sons cheek as they prepared to intubate him – I heard his last words he spoke and I hear them every day …………

My husband, in the ICU had a nurse who quite frankly he didn’t like – she was the sort of officious, all business type , mechanical in her dealings – probably a very good nurse truth be told- but she was “mean” according to the patient. Her bedside manner was definitely lacking.

Candidate for medical degree being examined in the subject of “Bedside Manner.” Punch Cartoon 1914

He wanted the tubes out- he has a phobia about being tied down etc. – they told him so many hours which kept dragging on causing him more distress as time lines came and went. I couldn’t get any answers and being tied down with the tube down his throat caused him so much anxiety and the anxiety – it became a vicious circle -the tube was causing him distress – the distress was causing the tube to stay in…. anyway he eventually got the tube out and although he wasn’t allowed anything but ice chips – this nurse “Nancy” didn’t think it was advisable. All well and good but this healer instead of explaining why would just pull the curtain across with a “no ice for you”. It became so bad that when she would come into the cubicle his blood pressure would soar- I finally requested she no longer be assigned to him -coincidence or not after he found out she wouldn’t be coming back as his nurse he calmed – I stayed – and he was finally released out of ICU.

Unlike the ICU where Chris had the “crowd” I was the only one apart from my daughter allowed in and then only for twenty minutes every 4 hours…… many trips in a day I drove to the Clinic I can’t count in those first days. My husband was moved to the floor but the damage had been done by Nancy Nurse Nancy. He had nightmares about her. I explained to Chris as we went up on the elevator how he had been impacted. As we talked he pulled out a small pad of paper, asked me what she looked like and by the time we got to the room handed his father his interpretation of Nancy Nurse Nancy.

Nancy Nurse Nancy- by Chris Ritchey
It was the first time his Dad had smiled in days and even managed a weak laugh . He asked for it to be put up where he could see it and when he woke from his nightmares he would find comfort in his son’s take on Nancy Nurse Nancy – He chased away the nightmares with his humour .

Chris’s dad kept that little drawing , it is framed and hangs where he can see it when he wakes. The nightmares of a different sort come now – but it still brings back, if just a little, the gift of a smile and laughter by his son.

How I wish for laughter – how I wish for my son- how I wish we could have peace on this journey with no end save one .

Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2) Part Two – Who Are We Really?
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight

Part Nine– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten (a)There is an “I” in Death
Part Ten (b)- I didn’t know my son- Chris Ritchey
Part Eleven- Unfinished Portrait the Artistic Gene
Part Twelve- Unfinished Portrait- the Artistic Gene- Part Two
Part ThirteenA Place of Echoes
Part FourteenAn Absence of Laughter
Part 15 Who I am , the artist speaks
Part 16- The Lowest Ebb- I knew my son- Chris Ritchey

November 3, 2011 at 10:02 am 10 comments

September 3rd – War- Movin’ on- Hell truly is other people – Chris Ritchey

Who I am by Chris Ritchey

Over the past months readers have had more than a peek into the workings of my mind, sometimes it is so painful for me to write it takes all I have left in me .

I have hoped my writings would help me and to some extent they have, seeing my thoughts before me clarifies the moment in which I am living. My being completely open and as honest as I can be as to how I am feeling and reaction caused by the ripple effect of what others do, I thought it might help someone else recognize in themselves behaviours and results of those behaviours and maybe just maybe give them pause to think a little bit.

It has been said that

“I should be getting over it by now” ( my son’s death )
movin’ on- it isn’t healthy- put him away now Loraine- you are a big girl- suck it up and stop making people feel uncomfortable. You need to get involved with other things write about anything else but… let it go … move on with your life

Others , they have have moved on and they – Parteeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!! like it is Cynco de Mayo Angela ritchey DO.

HEY! infact another “Chris” has come into the picture …… – what the well dressed Dr. wears apparently.

Yeah! I have complete faith in the medical profession after all I have seen these past months – one day I will write about the “Drs.” I have come across on this journey.


– the taking of our closure and putting us through what she and her family decided was “best” – ALL of those church going pillars of society- and the Do unto others as you would have done unto to you bunch!!!

The Lombardi – Vyka posers

What they, by their actions,
put us through and because we have had no closure continues … Celebration time!!!!! for some

but not for those that loved intensely-

obviously the “movin on” for the merry widow and company has not been a problem. I am glad – she is young full of life and they have their compensation for the inconvenience my son and his illness caused them.

So Angela and family since you are done with my son’s short excursion into your lives –

I respectfully request that CHRIS’S family be allowed to remove my son’s ashes – buried without his family or knowledge – from your family plot, in your toxic cemetery. Then maybe we too can try to “move on”.


War September 3rd I have been thinking a lot about World War 2 as I have been trying to take my mind off of things by completing the Fleet Admiral King Tribute on 1st and Hamilton . It doesn’t work really but I try to “move on”. I have realized war, whether in families or between states / countries, basically comes down to –

Because THEY CAN and because THEY WANT

Whether it is a sovereign nation or not it is down to “self and no thought for others and not caring how ones actions effects other people, imposing their will on others and when the other person/country etc is usually at its weakest….. self on all levels” ….

Simplistic reasoning I know – but my brain is struggling these days with anything too complicated …. so sorry about that!

I also realized that I don’t react the way I am supposed to or at least how others think I am supposed to react. I am not being a good little girl and taking it on the chin and being private in my thoughts. I have decided since I have also suffered from the “I should’ve , why didn’t I” syndrome never to carry that with me again.

I am done holding back if ‘ BECAUSE THEY CAN” works for them well let see how BECAUSE ‘I’ CAN works for me .

There is always talk about karma and what goes around comes around – I don’t believe that – actually I have found scum rises to the top of the pond in most cases – but then again …

Maybe ” I” am the karma – maybe I am the consequence to ones actions as they affect the ones I love…………….

Maybe that is supposed to be my job lot in life -who knows but I do know there is freedom in this terrible loss – I have bottomed out – no one can hurt me or cause me as much pain as I feel everyday.

I choose now to hold dear those who put others before self ……….. and I will be karmatic in dealing with those that hurt the loved ones I have left no matter who does the hurting – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and the freedom to be I CAN TOO!!!

September 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm 31 comments

Cleveland Institute of Art- a journey continues – Christopher D. Ritchey

Another month passes but we are so very fortunate to have the very walls that surround us reach out to embrace our memory- my son -through his works- speaks to us every day .

Sometimes the glimpse of remembered humour of the piece will pierce my being with the torturing spear of longing and missing – I see his smile- his anger – his love – kindness – laughter as I try to go through my day .

My son is here, in all his moods and his talent, still speaks as I find yet another design, project, photograph or sketch. Some I know existed others reach out through boxes in the basement and attic.

Some of the best times Chris had were at Cleveland Institute of Art and they have given me more of my son than they will ever know.

Last year we were able , thanks to the generosity of contributors along with Chris’s sister,uncle, and nana offer a $1,500.00 scholarship

The recipient was a very talented young lady Jessica Obando

We met with Jessica at a CIA meet and greet for scholarship recipients
Jessica invited us to come to her BFA presentation but I knew I wasn’t going to be strong enough to walk back into the display area where I had walked in such happiness in 2006, to see the pride on my son’s face , the excitement of starting his professional life –

I just couldn’t, no matter how I tried, to walk that path- just yet.

Thankfully, Jessica understood my plight and that of my daughters, however she did send me some photos-

I decided to publish three of them as readers have been so generous in this living rememberance of Chris.

BFA presentation display

The graduate and her mom

I am pleased to say that this year’s $1,500.00 recipient of the CIA scholarship in Chris’s name has gone to a young man Andrew Frank. The following is from this month’s CIA publication LINK


We are hoping to continue with the scholarship at CIA for 2012 in order that another “communication design student” can share with their loved ones the excitement and pride as they too receive their BFA and continue a journey denied my son.

Should you wish to contribute to the 2012 scholarship in the name of Christopher D. Ritchey
please contact or send checks to

Megan French
Assistant Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations
The Cleveland Institute of Art
11141 East Boulevard
Cleveland Ohio 44106-1710

June 2, 2011 at 11:35 pm 2 comments

Tears – I Hear Each Tear- hear(t)ears -Chris Ritchey

A woodland glade greens with the spring rains, no one ventures close, the path is heavily pregnant from the coupling of the already sodden earth and watery sky , the path to the clearing will need days of sunshine to birth the way – this is a special place- a place of great love- one that is secret to only those that know – a place where love does not forget nor is forgotten.

And yet, through the veil of watery mists can be seen, as eyes, through their own veil of tears, seach the woodland landscape -a spark-

a glimmer of gold, a splash of sunshine, a shock of red, a greeting of purple reaches through the grey dampness as if some lone rainbow comes to kiss the earth.

I don’t have to walk the woodland path where deer graze in the evening, wild turkeys flock, squirrels play noisly to the mournful song of the Morning Dove as birds are building nests for new life, to know what is the cause of my rainbow.

A promise kept and renewed with each spring – and love that continues vibrant , strong and on the other side of grief.

A small tree fights for its place in the woodland reaching to the canopy of green above and beneath its own branches- a small plaque – given by another mother marks the spot where love is focused

“Missed beyond all grief- loved beyond all tears”

I am not alone in the shedding of my tears, there are others of this sisterhood. One is my friend Jayne, who lost her daughter. Jayne wrote on her face book page the following:

I Hear Each Tear
My mom doesn’t know I’m watching her, but I’m watching her just the same. And I hear each tear fall on her face at the mention of my name.

She says it sounds like music to her ears and can be heard over a crowd. Oh, I hear each tear fall on her face,when my name is said aloud.

I watch her stumble through each day as she wishes the day would end. And I hear each tear fall on her face as she talks of me with her friends

But there are few who truly understand Oh this I’ve heard her proclam, and I hear each tear fall on her face will my mom ever be the same?

I know that her smile can light up a sky , but I don’t see her smile today . Oh, but I hear each tear fall on her face, her blue skies have turned gray.

Oh I send to her my warmest hug with the rays of the morning sun, then I won’t hear a tear fall on her face, for I shall erase them one by one.

Yes, my mom doesn’t know I’m watching her, but I’m watching her just the same and if I hear a tear fall on her face I’ll just softly mention her name.
By: Jayne Bartish-Kacik

Photo appears with permission of Virginia Mak

May 26, 2011 at 6:36 pm 1 comment

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