Posts filed under ‘Love’

July 3rd- NO LIMITS- Chapter 6 – Chris Ritchey

No Limits- The book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

If the night before at the Rehearsal Dinner was hot , the day  of the wedding dawned  humid and hotter. I  don’t handle heat and no  sleep at the best of times, and this definitely  wasn’t a good time. For the sake of my  children  and family  I  tried so  hard  to  act cheerful and excited, all the while with  this great lump  of concrete in my gut and a  dread of things to come. I can only  liken this feeling to  having the overwhelming feeling /intuition by  getting on to  a plane and knowing it will crash.  I knew the prognosis for Chris form of cancer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was excellent, 95 percent cure rate, ” if  you  had to  have cancer this is the one you  would want” a few rounds of chemo  and a couple of treatments of radiation and you  will be fine.

BUT then why  did everything in my  mind scream at me there is a  world of hurt coming  our way ……?

artwork Chris Ritchey

THE WEDDING

I knew that Chris would be putting on a brave face, he had a round of chemo on the Thursday  and it usually  caught up  with  him by  the Saturday, and here he was having to  go  through  a horrendously  busy  morning, afternoon and evening. I knew he would not let on how he was dealing and feeling with  all the poisons  coursing through  his body.  He was so  particular when it came to  Nikki’s wedding  in regard to  his tuxedo, having to  make a special trip  to the tailor to  have it adjusted  the day  before.  Nana and Chris at Nikki’s Wedding

Chris had lost weight with  the cancer and chemo  and his tux was too big, but he didn’t seem to  care, not at all like Chris, but then he had more on his plate to  worry  about.

The wedding at St. Mary’s  Catholic Church  officiated by  Father Daniel Divis , Chris had refused the usual Catholic protocol  to  get married in the church  , and he was allowed to  do  so   probably  due to  the cancer diagnosis and the  Father Divis “relationship” he had with  the Lombardis.

I  sat in that church  , not being very  enamored with  organized religion  as a bit of a hypocrite, but it was  Chris and Angela’s day , it was her faith  and she was very  in touch  with  her faith.   My  husband and mother  and I  sat there  “together but alone”  .

The ceremony  over , and I  couldn’t hear a word, but then Angela always made me feel like I was deaf, so soft spoken was she. I had spent the morning putting together a small  cooler bag  for Chris  and  the wedding party  ( mainly  for Chris)   to  take in the limo. It had  cold water ,  some snacks he could eat after chemo , and some cool cloths  as his body  temps rose after chemo  set in.

Wedding over I  came home  showered and cried until it was time to  put on the “face” again for the reception. No  matter how I  tried I  just  could not get out of this terrible feeling  like some darkness was going to  envelop me.

Oh !  this happy  day  could only  get worse heat wise when the air-conditioning at the Holiday  Inn  failed. However, as bad as that was as I  went to  the gifts table to  put our check in for the Bride and Groom  , not a “wishing well” or a cute little decorated  box but a “casket ” with  flowers on the top courtesy  of Sue Lombardi ‘WHAT WAS THE WOMAN THINKING – WAS THIS APPROPRIATE”  Was I  being overly  sensitive?  although  the comments from my  friends they  too were shocked and my  mother was furious.

” I knew as soon as I  saw that  coffin on the table it would hurt you  Loraine”

 

The  wedding although  apparently  enjoyed by  others left me flat especially  when Father Divis  reacted to  the best man’s speech, I wrote about it afterward , (at the time I  did not mention his name BUT  of course now in that blog post he is mentioned )as I  was shocked , although  this man of God would shock me later after the death  of my  son   to  my  core  !

“This was brought home over the weekend ( and I can take a joke better that a lot of people) . A speech that bordered on not only the insulting ( for me )cultural racism  by a priest  (Daniel O. Divis – Office of the Secretariat)who insulted every English person and non catholic at a function. He spoke of Ulster and Northern Ireland in a way that for those of us who lived through the bombings and were directly effected by the IRA and the terrorism  THEY inflicted upon a population both Irish and English , that was  financed  primarily   from this side of the Atlantic  was akin to making jokes about 911. Would you tolerate jokes about 911?

 

So what makes it OK for a pseudo “Irish” priest of Lorain to make the jokes and insult a group of people because they are “English”? A fellow diner said it is just ignorance of the situation– I beg to differ any Catholic Priest who claims Irish lineage KNEW exactly what he was saying, which to me makes it all the more disgraceful – am I wrong??????

You tell me when is it ok for terrorism to be lauded and applauded and when is it abhorred – is it OK to make derogatory remarks as long as it is based on culture and then only one certain segment of the population’s culture – Is it Ok to do this based on culture and not colour???

Although I did have a “word” with the man- I am sure it fell on deaf ears…… So when is it OK – tell me???? because I find this grey area very confusing ?

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/06/08/when-is-it-ok/

AND THIS SPEECH  WAS AT A “wedding” 

We got through  the wedding and reception,. The Mother/ Son dance was one of the toughest things  I  knew I had very  little control left  and as  we danced ( and I  told Chris  ( who  was always my  confidant)   I may  need Nikki and his dad to  help  me through. He understood , he knew me so  well and we were always upfront with  one another. So  when I was becoming “emotionally  incontinent”  halfway through  the dance he signaled to  Nikki  and his dad to  join us on the floor  as a group. ( that did not go  down too well with  the Lombardi  clan)  .

My  husband , mother and I   left at a reasonable time  just after the first guests were leaving. I  told Chris Nana was tired but he knew and he by  this time was physically  showing the effects of a very  long day  and the poisonous chemo. I wanted to  gather my  child  up  and  make him  well , but all this was now out of my  hands , he was a married man now!

The next day  was “come over ( to  the Lombardis) and look at the presents” day , we had company  so  I stayed with  them . The next thing I  remember was Chris coming round the corner with  the casket under his arm with  his Best Man. I  said

what are you  doing here?

He said:

Sue Lombardi  and her mother were anxious to  open up  the “box” to  see how much  money  they  received

and he said

No! he and Angela would do  that later ..  I  don’t want them knowing our business and who  gave what so  I  have brought it here  to  stop  their prying . . Turns out there was no  check from the Lombardis in that casket,

Angela said : ” they  paid for the wedding”

HA! thanks to  their “bar arrangements”  we paid more to  the Holiday Inn for the drinks etc. than they  paid for the wedding, and I  know that how ? The wedding planner lady  was so   frustrated with them and their way  of ordering her about  she  told me and actually  gave me a  discount on the total bar bill. 

And so  the next  weeks  came and went all too quickly.

To  be continued …..

 

 

July 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm 5 comments

June 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 5- Chris Ritchey

No Limits- The book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

The wedding plans went on. I  excused myself from most  of them by feigning migraines leaving my  mother, daughter and husband to  do  the duty.

I was stretched thin on patience and discretion and retreat was for the me the better part of valor.  I  know my  limits  and I knew I  could not  deal  with  the Lombardi  women (  at least not quietly).

The kick off  came re the bridesmaid dresses , the drama- because my  daughter (  who  was, in my  opinion, added to  the group because of Chris’ insistence) DARED to  have her dress altered to  better fit. The phone call from the irate Sue Lombardi after they  saw Nikki’s dress hanging at the seamstress ( without their permission) . I  was curious as to  WHY they  apparently  were at that same  seamstress with  their garments  was never explained.

It was then after the ensuing  chastising phone call from Sue,   Chris who  was irate, as he listened, as I  dealt with  his future mother in law , not angry   with  me but with  Angela and Sue and the upset such  a pettiness caused  – I  decided to politely    back  away  from all things concerning the wedding, apart from paying. Truth  be known they  really  didn’t want my  input and obviously  Chris was becoming caught in the middle of the women of his life at the same time as dealing with  cancer.

 

We managed to  get through  the wedding shower all smiles and  faking  for the guests.

There was no  way  I  could go  to  the “hen night”, aptly  named in my opinion, so  the dreaded migraine reappeared although  I  know I didn’t fool Chris , but he understood, he understood me better than anyone.That duty was left to  Nikki  and my  mother .

My  mother , bless her, got a bit inebriated   ( thanks to  Nikki) and since they  were not made the most welcome by  the “clan”, barely  speaking to  them I  am told. My  mother joined people at another table , after a few of the beverages my  daughter ordered for her  became the  hit of the night with  the other tables.

A dear friend, Mark, was eating at the same venue , he took some photos  called me  and said

” Your mum is such  a character, she is entertaining the whole restaurant  by  grabbing a blow up  man from another  hen night group and dancing around the place, cheered on by  the onlookers.

Not bad for a 90  year old woman.

Chris, who  turned up  with  his friends to  drive people home, laughed and said

Mum , Nana is just wonderful

I don’t think  she went down too well with  the Lombardi’s though.

 a smile from Sue would have cracked her face in two

said Chris.

 

The Friday, of the rehearsal dinner on the 6th  dawned so very hot and airless, totally out of keeping for early June. The wedding date  was based on Angela wanting 06.07.08  numerical sequence. The dinner was planned at a facility overlooking Lake Erie in Lakeview Park. I had booked the place before it was even finished being built.

There was (of course)  issues as to  my  choice of  menu, I had decided on heavy, hot and cold  hors d’oeuvres. I  worked with  a local  caterer, who  actually  had been a family  friend, well respected for his establishment and catering abilities. He told me that when the Lombardi  women  came to his establishment to  check out its viability  for the reception, they  left him feeling insulted  by  their attitude . He was quite annoyed, and went above and beyond in  all I  asked from him.

The menu  included  mini  Beef Wellingtons, meatballs, pasta, mini  quiches,   a carvery ( turkey, beef  and ham)  for sandwiches, salads of all kinds, crab claws  and shrimp in ice, underneath an ice vase sculpture topped with  flowers. Beer and wine (  no hard liquor  allowed at that time) . cakes , cookies and deserts, strawberries and fresh  fruit.  The table fared groaned with  food. However, when Angela  was shown the menu, prior to the  dinner ( as a courtesy  I  might add) , she went into  the den with  Chris and sent him out  and he said to  me….

Angela feels this needs to  be adjusted , people will be coming in from out of town ( the event was set of 50) they  will be hungry  and she doesn’t think hors d’oeuvres will be appropriate  , she suggests chicken , red skin  potatoes ,  green beans and cheese and macaroni.

I said:

NO! Chris –  this is my  contribution to your wedding .  I  have put a great deal of thought, along with  Nikki, and Nana  on this  from entertainment  , decor  and giving you  something from me!

I realized Angela had not been at any  of my  “party  planning” previously but I  looked at Chris and said

when have I  ever not had enough  food at anything I  have planned?

I called my  caterer and told him what had been said  and I  asked him to   add something  along the line of chicken wings  and a macaroni dish. He sighed and said  “Typical”

The morning of the rehersal  dinner  I drove to  Lakeview Park  to  check on final arrangement the food, tables ,  decorations etc. I looked out as I got into my car over to the lighthouse where Chris and Angela had become engaged.

Lorain Lighthouse – Lorain 365 ( L. Miller)

Nikki and I had helped Chris plan that July day of engagement, 11 months prior, the “asking Angela to marry me “place”. Christopher saying:

“You helped Jim to make Nikki’s engagement special you have to help me make this special too mum!

And Nikki and I did help- organizing champagne, roses, a table holding silver goblets and a boat trip to the Lorain Lighthouse on a beautiful day. Anticipating celebration Nikki and I, dad and others sat on the patio of the Jacalope restaurant looking out at the lighthouse happy for the young couple on this very special day.

So why, as I sat in the car looking out at the same scene- the same lighthouse shimmering in the heat of the day the afternoon before the wedding, albeit from a different perspective – why did, I feel such panic and the “knowing” this wedding should not take place?

I looked out on a shining blue lake, sunshine kissing the waves and argued with myself:

“What the hell is wrong with you, why aren’t you happy you should be happy –
Yes, Chris has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s but the prognosis is good, why aren’t you wanting to celebrate?

Angela has stood by him through this diagnosis, she has helped him – she has stuck by him- this has to be such a difficult time for her – (I admired her and was grateful to her for that)

He is getting married, starting a life so what is it with you? Why are you sitting here at Lakeview looking out at the lighthouse and feeling such a dreadful feeling?

I went home in a mood so dark, I couldn’t shake the feeling this wedding should not take place. My husband called my daughter I was in such a foul temper!

“you  had better come talk to  your mother she is having a melt down”

It was as if every fiber of my being was pulling at me NO! this wedding must not happen it will bring pain and sorrow to those I love. What was making me think this way? I  have always trusted my  “gut feelings” and this time I  couldn’t and wouldn’t.

My daughter duly arrived and told me off in such a fashion as to make my own guilt and selfishness of feeling take place of the dreadful fear or premonition I was experiencing – Nikki did not hold back  in her telling me like it was:

This is Chris’ wedding- the happiest day of his life- You have to stop this you have to think of Chris, he will be fine he will come out the other side of this, you can’t let him see you like this.

Of course , I thought she is right, once again I  was being selfish, Chris has to come first and so you have to suck it up.

The rehearsal  dinner for which  I  was responsible was lovely   and everything  went well I  thought. I put on a brave face and tried to  be a good hostess , but that feeling of dread  did not leave – it was there with  every  smile every  word uttered.

Chapter 6 the Wedding…….

 

June 3, 2020 at 11:19 am 1 comment

No LIMITS – Chapter 4- Chris Ritchey

No Limits- The book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter  Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

I watched out the window as my son’s car drew up outside and he walked slowly to the house. He no longer had that bounce of youth, he walked like an old man with the weight of the world crashing down on him. He had started out that day on a journey of hope, love and a wedding and returned with a diagnosis of obscenity.

He just reached the living room when Nikki flew in the door, her face full of confusion and pain, mirroring her brothers. Jim, her husband standing there not knowing what to say or do, my husband sitting in the chair in shock. Chris trying to reassure us that it could be wrong

“they said his blood counts were all in the normal range so maybe it wasn’t as bad as we were told- they were going to have to do more tests”.

 

Angela was on her way to the house. I put my faith in the fact she was a going to be a doctor, maybe she could make sense out of what we were being told. Maybe she could find out more than we could.

Angela and Chris went into the den, not to discuss a bright wedding and future but “cancer”. I sat on the couch Nikki and my husband looking to me to sort this out” because that is what I do – I fix things , I have a plan, I see a way through only this time my brain was numb , I was at a loss. Chris came out of the den and sat on the bottom landing of the stairs, Angela beside him. No one said anything, no way forward, no plans just this terrible pall that enveloped us.

Then some small talk which ensued about Chris’ dog, Misty, those that loved Chris trying to erase the obscenity with normalcy. I just couldn’t be “brave” any longer pretending this was just another afternoon sitting there in this surreal world. I knew I would crumble and I had to leave the living room and escape from the “living” room of horror it had become.

I lay on my bed, the silence from below deafening, trying to sort through all the fear, the uncertainty , trying to figure out what I needed to do. Nothing was penetrating except the word CANCER in my brain. Cancer became my world in that moment, it threw up its own walls around me. Then , Chris was there – he put his hand on my shoulder and said

“Mum it will be OK”

I remember saying Oh Chris I am so scared. As soon as I said it I realized I was being selfish. This was not about me , this was about my beautiful son, who just had the worst news in the world and he was , as he had done so many times before, putting his family before himself. I

felt guilty because whatever I was feeling he was the one who would have to fight this obscenity. I must put aside and cover my own terror , to be there no matter what for my son, he needed to be first and foremost , I couldn’t do anything about what treatments were needed and what he would have to go through but I would do whatever was needed to see he got whatever it was he needed to survive. I could be his mother and put my son first. I felt relief, his bride- to- be seemed as if she would be supportive and with her knowledge of the medical options. He had his sister, who would move heaven and earth for him, he would have a support group of love to see him through. I would wait for the results of the tests and once more my brain started to function.

The tests, the diagnosis, doctors’ visits and the treatment began as did the days of hope and horror as the “curable cancer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma invaded my son’s body and our world. Initially the obscenity was treated as “Oh if you have to have cancer this is the one you want” 4 to 6 chemo treatment spot radiation and you will be fine – 95% cure rate. The prognosis was excellent, just a small bump in the road of life.

I walked into the “chemo “ room that first day- March 13th 2008 , I had driven Chris and Angela to South Pointe Hospital ( an hour’s drive from home) to start his treatment after meeting with Dr.Abraksia who was chosen by his bride- to -be , Angela.

The decision made sense at the time, Angela would be doing her residency at South Pointe, and the hospital was in the Cleveland Clinic System. When Chis and Angela married in a couple of months’ time they would be living in the vicinity. I convinced myself this was a good idea. I, at the time, admired this young woman, Angela, she would be supportive and seemed to take the diagnosis in stride, she seemed calm and cool whereas I was being consumed by fear, panic and doubt. Perhaps it was her faith, as well as her medical knowledge, that enabled her to be so cool. I know that was one of things my son admired in her was her “coolness” and quiet voice.

Close up of Intravenous drip

As I crossed the room, where half a dozen “elderly people” were hooked up to IV’s ,I saw my son- poison’s flowing into his body to kill the invader. I wanted to pull the needles from him, gather him up and run away from this place, he shouldn’t be here my mind screamed at me. Instead I sat with him for a little time. The first chemo was going to take all afternoon, I couldn’t bear watching the slow drip of poisons, so I drove the hour home, had Angela call me when they were about an hour from finishing and drove back to pick them up to drive home again. I had to do something I just couldn’t sit by watching destruction being pumped into my son, for chemo destroys the bad and the good.

That night, as I worried about my son, listening for his every move as he tried to sleep in the room across the landing from me. I remembered how many nights I had spent when he was a baby, getting up three or four times just to make sure he was breathing , alert even in sleep to hear the faint whimper or cry of your new born. Yet not daring to disturb him, I had had to be a positive for his sake. Finally sleep came.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi

I did not know Angela’s family well, although Chris and Angela had dated for a few years, both were in college, and living away from home. We, as families, did not have much of an occasion to socialize. However, at the engagement celebration I realized the mother, Sue Lombardi , was not a person that I would embrace and that my son would have a “mother in law” who controlled and was self-promoting . Well his problem I thought, little did I know she would end up my problem.

I awoke in the early morning hours of that first night after chemo, shaking, gasping for breath. I had a dream; it was so real.

I was in a room, in the middle of the room was an open casket in which lay my son and around this casket was Angela, her mother and father and family. I was drenched in sweat and tears, the realization it was a nightmare slowly came to the front of my mind.

I crept, as quietly as I could, into my son’s room to check on him – he was awake.

“You alright mum?”

I said:

yes just wondering if I can get you anything?

Some cold water would be nice, this stuff is warm

a smile and the beginning of a pretense way of dealing- I would check on his “water needs” I would be reassured he was alright and the game of pretending began, both of us knowing “ I was awake – do you need some water/ juice?” was not the real reason for my “checking in”.

The next day , I opened up my terror to my good friend Barb, I broke down when she called to check on how we were, Christopher was her godson I tried the small talk but blurted out

“ Barb I am going to watch my son die”
A very definite Barbara firmly stated:

Pull yourself together, the prognosis is great, don’t be silly, you have to put those thoughts from you for Chris’s sake – he will be fine.

And so I tried, all through those weeks of chemo, to push aside the negative thoughts that would creep into my head; but still the dream came back to haunt of Angela and her family standing around the casket.

E. Munch- 1895

The wedding plans continued and I tried to be normal, but the doubt and dream tore at m. I wear my heart on my sleeve, always have done, I am not good at hiding my emotions and thoughts…..

To be continued

May 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm 2 comments

Nana’s MY BOOK- memories of another time

 

ED NOTE: My  mother, Violet Janet Gabbey  1919-2018

My  mum  had a long and amazing life. Mum was 99 when she passed  and was loved by  all her friends and family. However, 40  years ago  she was going through  a very  trying and emotional time in her life.  Her only  child, me,  was three thousand miles away  in the United States at the time and was unable to  do  much  of anything.

Mum had nights of not sleeping  I  suggested she use that time to  start writing down her memories of being young for her  granddaughter , Nikki . I have always found writing things down cathartic and still find that to  be the case. Mum scribbled notes on scraps of paper every  time she couldn’t sleep .( I  still have those notes)

A few years ago  we sat in the den and she and I put them in some sort of order. Mum then sent a copy  of what she named “MY  BOOK”  to  the oldest grandchild of each  of her brothers and sisters and to  some special people .

Please remember when reading her words and memories  it was a very  different time , especially  in her young years, what was  pretty  much  the norm then probably  wouldn’t be acceptable today.

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

So , where is the beginning of it all? Upon reflection and trying to  summon up  the very  first picture, there is a faint imprint in my  mind. Can  a child of three really  retain, retell the event so many years on? Could I  really  see six or seven human forms lying on a mattress of black and white ticking strung between wooden frames? The box like shapes, the harsh  sounds of human retching , the pungent smell of oil and vomit, that unpleasant fragrance still is in my  nostrils. Some photo of that time with  its sights and smells must have embedded itself forever in my  mind

I can still feel still the roll and steady beat of a noise below. I  was huddled, warmed and comforted  by  another little body  next to  mine. I can see my  mother lying stretched out a short distance away from us; her long dark hair was damp and lying untidily on the pillow. I knew somehow she was ill too. My  Father was on his feet , I see his arms with dark shapes and lines on them holding a cup  to  my  mouth. He was telling me

“Drink  this, you  will feel better” 

then oblivion and I  remember no  more .

Many  years afterwards I made the discovery  that my  first recollection was of being in a cabin of a troop ship  travelling home to  England. The ship  was bringing soldiers and their families, who  had been serving in southern Ireland  ( where the Anglo  – Irish War – [1919-1921]  had broken out after the Great War.(1914-1918)

My  father was a soldier and a very  good one.  I fear, however he always drank  too much  and was forever shouting . He had scores of wonderful stories in him. He had a moustache which  tickled and scratched  when he would kiss you.

The dark shapes and lines were tattoos which he had subjected himself to  in a far away  land. When I  was very little and  asked about them he said the one said ” I love Betty”  I used to  wonder how could my  mother  bear to  see that day after day , as her name was Charlotte! However,  the “I love Betty” was just my  fathers peculiar sense of humour . When I  was older  and could read and looked  more closely I found there was only  two  hearts entwined  with  a lover’s knot  and there was no  wording there at all……

To  be continued:

April 22, 2020 at 12:48 pm 3 comments

April 3rd- NO LIMITS -Chapt 3- Chris Ritchey

No Limits- The book 

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

After the engagement announcement and the resulting kerfuffle with  the in laws to  be, I decided I would only  do  what I  was asked , no  suggestions or real involvement with  this wedding. I  could tell it would be walking on egg shells time.

A few days after the ring fiasco  Chris called and said Angela wanted us to  go  to  Beechwood where she had made an appointment to try  on wedding gowns.  It was rather short notice but Nikki  and I,  for the sake of fence mending, agreed to  share in  what should have been a delightful afternoon. In fact it was  except the mother of the bride was not there, aunts and grandmother etc but no  Sue Lombardi.  Angela duly  tried on various gowns and she did look lovely. I suggested that I would purchase the  wedding veil  of her choice.

 

Since I  had to  get back to  a meeting – already planned- Nikki  and I  left. I found out later Sue eventually showed up  as she didn’t want to  take the time off work. Chris called and said Sue was  very upset and

“What would I  have done- would I  have taken the time off? “ 

” Chris you  aren’t pulling me into  that  situation”.. and I  kept quiet. 

 

Chris had  still not recovered his usual good humour , although  he was speaking to  his sister once again. I couldn’t figure out what we had done wrong now. Finally , Nikki told me : Apparently  Chris was beside himself  worrying as to  how he was going to  pay  for the wedding items that Sue and Angela had said  were his obligation. The rehearsal dinner, cars, flowers , liquor for the reception, gifts, photographer, honeymoon  etc. He had spent his savings on that ring and had just been offered a position with Wyse Advertising. Since  his family  had paid for all his college – 5 years at Cleveland Institute of Art he did not have any  student loans and he was trying to  get a loan for this wedding.

I thought to  myself some of those  of those expenses should have been covered by  the Lombardi  family and they  should have realized what a wedding list of over 200 would cost this young man.  but as I  said

I  was going to  keep  my  mouth  shut .

Chris came home from work and I asked him what exactly  was worrying him  and he told me. I told him his father and I  would pay  for all he needed to  pay  for and not to  worry. He balked at the idea  and I  said:

OK let us pay  for it , rather than you  taking out a loan  and you  can pay  it  back to  us over time.

It was decided and life pretty  much  went on, people being young and planning. Although   it wasn’t  all plain sailing as  the bridesmaids and groomsmen were picked and Nikki , Chris’s sister was left out of the plans.  Chris asked her why  she wasn’t going to  look at the bridesmaids dresses  and she informed him

” I  wasn’t asked , I  don’t believe I  am part of the wedding party” ( although  her husband was)

Chris immediately  got on the phone to  Angela

“Nikki  is one of the wedding party  right? ( the reply  of yes if she wants to  be) rather a backhanded invitation ….

Looking back these things faded into  the realm of  really  didn’t matter they  were inconsequential  in the grand scheme of life. Summer passed , autumn and Christmas and then in February  a trip  to  the Doctors for Chris, whom we thought  was not getting over bronchitus and swollen glands .

Our world was suddenly  turned  upside down inside out and  the silent screaming started : I wrote about the phone call   10  days  later:

All it takes is a phone call to  start you screaming

Hello!
It was a phone call that sent an icy cold that permeated through my very core and has not left me yet, my brain not wanting to “compute” what my ears were hearing, mouth dry, eyes welling with tears , the incredulousness, the denial , the confusion, the sheer terror that runs through your frame, your mind screaming, a few seconds that changes your life forever- nothing will ever be the same.

A phone call that leaves you weeping with fear, that terror, whose tentacles reach through your very being, tearing at your insides, ripping to shreds happiness and laughter. One of the people you love more than life itself, one that you gave birth to, cuddled, bathed, fed and protected is on Route 2 and has answered another (cell) phone to be told that test results (for possible bronchitis) have come back with a life threatening disease.

face of a cancer cell

Someone please wake me from this nightmare……..what am I supposed to do, what do I say, how can I do anything- someone , anyone why????????????????
The look on your husband’s face as he tries to understand the picture of what is happening with this conversation………

The dread disease that sends a mother into the world of deal making ,

No please – not my child , let it be me, take me ,God how can I bear this?
How can I be brave and make it better when my heart is exploding with pain, every part of me screaming from the gauntlet of emotions that are coursing through my very essence?

You are removed from the world around you –

Nothing matters, not the politics, not the crime, not the state of the roads, not the weddings, the weather, blogs, the pettiness, media , CRA’s, pontificators, principles , presidents, arguments ….. .nothing…. your world has shrunk, your planet consists of no more than 8 people and the all consuming fire of fear that your child is going to be in a world of hurt and you are helpless.


You want to curl up in a dark place – trying not to feel, to escape but the pain and confusion drags you back to the surface of desperation, despair and the reality that is now your world.

Eventually the body decides, through sheer exhaustion, to sleep but the nightmare doesn’t stop, you wake, a pillow wet with tears, a coldness that remains in your very core reminding you there is no escape- you truly do

“wake from sleep exhausted”(Susette Kelo)

Family , friends try to be encouraging and for that you are grateful but in a mother’s heart there is really nothing that they can do or say , you want to wake up from the nightmare, make it go away.

Make it stop

You look for anything that will give you hope -that there is a mistake but somehow inside you know the truth – it will not go away – it is going to have to be dealt with.

No matter how old your child becomes they will always be your child. You see not the young man or daughter – you see the chubby 2 year old with soft plump arms, the eyes that never change

only mummy can’t- no soft butterfly kisses or a cookie is going to fix this – there is no magic bandaid with happy faces.

Your life and that of your loved ones is contingent upon a surgeon’s knife and upon a lab in California – a stranger making a decision that will decide whether there is happiness , hope or pain to come in your life and that of your child. You are just another lab report , a number with an insurance billing code- a job of work.

This nightmare of speculation and waiting for the next body blow , like some sort of insidious torture technique, rips at you and the very fabric of your family . Life goes on around you but you are removed you go through the motions but you aren’t really there and you only care about the turmoil that one phone call caused.

The tests, the scans, the trips to the hospital, the waiting rooms with color co-ordinated furnishings, a laugh echoing through a hallway, people talking about the weather, a child crying as life goes on -biopsies, more waiting – hoping- praying pleading with a greater power

“please let them have this wrong ” “please let it be a mistake”

Watching every movement,

“are they eating , are they paler today , the cough – is it better, worse,?”

Trying to smile, to put on the brave face and make life normal until the results are in, cooking food no one really wants to eat , but the strength has to be kept up.

Laying awake watching the clock tick away the hours of life and darkness, waiting for morning……things always look better in the daylight,
but that isn’t true- the mornings come and there is no sanctuary in the watery, wintery sun. Days run into one another, hours, the calendar and the marked events deemed important enough to make note of are no longer significant in their passing.

The darkness envelopes and you think of other mothers, how do they cope with news that threatens their babies, their teenagers, the mothers whose sons and daughters return from war missing limbs and with horrific injuries, how do they cope even having them in harms way- day after day ?

How does a mother bear the news that her child is gone- no longer to hold them, to feel a heartbeat , to gaze with love upon their face, the hear their laugh , to see their eyes no more ….the gut wrenching sadness the rises up. unasked, unwanted, and overflows with the releasing of tears without warning.

Then the results and you know, even before the Doctor opens his mouth – you see his eyes- what they are…. you hear the bad news tempered with good news and hope and another journey begins…………and you know that somewhere another mother shares your pain and fear and is trying to make a deal

take me, not my child………………..

To  be continued

April 3, 2020 at 2:03 pm 2 comments

March 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 2 – Chris Ritchey

  NO LIMITS-The Book

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

I find this rehashing of “life” and the connection with the Lombardi  family  and my  son’s choice of a life partner very  difficult to bring back to  light in my  life  and write. I wish I could file all those memories and people away  in some dark corner  never to  be thought of again. However, in order for those that read this “book” as it will be ( after it has been serialized here) to fully  understand the emotions, the relationships, the thought processes  and the connection to what happened and happens after my  son passed , the  connections  and especially those of Christopher have to  be explored. In some cases , with  hindsight and indeed some premonition I felt I should have seen a lot of the pain coming. 

THE ENGAGEMENT- CHAPTER 2

Although  I  must admit to  some “mother’s reservations” as to  the engagement of my son and Angela Lombardi , his sister and I wanted to  make this day  special.

Chris had said one evening , after he and Nikki  had gone to  a jeweler friend of Nikki’s husband to  design  “the ring” – which  cost him all of his savings $6,000.00 –

“Mum you  helped Jim (  Nikki’s husband) find a special place for him to  ask Nikki to  marry  him, you  have to  help  me  too”

Nikki  and I set about searching the internet, making suggestions, all of which  were not what Chris felt were right. Finally  I  said ….

“How about the top  of the Lorain Lighthouse”? I  am  not sure if I  can arrange that , but I  can try to  contact some of the people at the Lighthouse Foundation”

At that time the Lorain Lighthouse was still undergoing repairs and the top  of the Lighthouse was not open to  the public. But a few years earlier Chris had been asked to  paint the Lighthouse on a shed to  be put at the Marina to  be used to  hand out literature about Lorain. I thought that possibly  they  might be open to  the fact he would like some help  in what was supposed to  be a happy  occasion.

I duly  did the contacts and offered to  pay  for a day’s insurance policy  to  cover the the event of just the two  of them. After a lot of negotiating  and Ok’s by  the people involved it was a go. The date was set for July  12th. at 2:00 pm.  Lighthouse volunteers entered into  the excitement. It was arranged, I  would meet the little boat earlier in the morning, with  the champagne , a table, two  wine goblets, checkered red and white  table cloth  and roses and they  would be put at the top  of the Lighthouse.

My conspirators cunningly hid them on the far side so Angela wouldn’t see them as she ascended the lighthouse platform. Angela had wanted to go to the zoo that day and was a little annoyed ( I was told later) -my son had an errand to do for me first  or so she thought. Chris explained to her that first he had to take some photos for one of my “projects” he told her:

“You know how she is always roping me to do artwork and stuff for her projects- it won’t take long – mum needs some photos of the harbor for the Lorain Bicentennial she is planning next month”

I told Chris  that  we would meet him and Angela afterwards to  celebrate.

Naively  I  thought to  include the Lombardi  clan…. my  first interaction with  these people. I  had met them rarely  in the past  not more than a half dozen time , really  never having an in-depth  conversation with  them.  Since  we ( “Chris’s family”) had planned to  go  to  the Jacalope – a restaurant that over looks the Marina and the Lighthouse to celebrate after the event for some drinks and food, I thought it might be nice to  include the “family  of Angela”

I told Chris that we would be at the Jacalope and would watch with the binoculars for the wave of all was well and to have the boat drop them off there afterwards and we would celebrate.

 

I called the “in laws to be” on the Friday afternoon when it was all the arrangement were set – hoping that weather wouldn’t dampen the day- no it was Sue Lombardi that actually put a damper on the day

Photo Sue Lombardi .

 

I  must admit to  be more than a little taken aback when the “Mother of the Bride to  be” stated:

“Oh! we are building a new house and we are scheduled to have the electric done and some painting tomorrow – CAN”T Chris DO  THIS ANOTHER TIME!!!”

I thought to myself silly cow- doesn’t she realize this is her daughter’s engagement and getting this arranged has taken days and no little expense” ;

I said
Well surely you could take an hour off- maybe for lunch – we are meeting at the Jacalope to celebrate-
A big sigh from Sue  came down the phone :

Oh! this isn’t very convenient…… I will see what we can do

Well said I:

It is up to you but we will be there on the patio…..

and made a note to self – I would not get involved in “the brides mother’s wedding” plans – I could see that we are as different as chalk and cheese . I could tell from that very short conversation things had to be her way and her idea –
Oh Chris! you are in for a time I thought- little did I know it would be me bearing the brunt of the “Control Diva”.

The weather was indeed perfect, arrangements went like clockwork and even the in-laws and some of the family  of Angela duly  arrived on the patio. The happy  couple eventually  arrived  by  boat and Angela was flushed with  excitement. One of the aunts expressed a desire to  see the ring, and oohs and ahs duly  followed however from Sue Lombardi came the  concern

“Won’t that get caught up  and rip your  surgical gloves (  Angela  was going to  be a doctor)

As the afternoon progressed, I found out that I shouldn’t have relaxed  about it being a long engagement  they  were getting married  the next summer in June.  Oh dear I thought , must lose weight, how are they  going to  afford to  live Chris hadn’t been offered a position  with Wyse advertising , he was still a paid intern but my  thoughts soon were sent in another direction.

My  daughter, Nikki, who  actually  had never met Sue Lombardi  was cornered in another part of the restaurant by  Sue. I  should explain Nikki  and her husband had just been transferred back  to  Lorain from Toledo  and had just purchased a house. Nikki  had taken a break from employment to  get things together. Apparently  knowing this ( Angela, had lived with  my  daughter for over a month  in Toledo  so  she could do   one of her “rotations”) Sue requested  firmly  that Nikki  would to  go  with  Angela and drive to  Philidelphia , stay  overnight  so  Angela could take some  medical requirement. It was in a bad part of town apparently  and they  didn’t want her to  go  alone.

Nikki was upset, she didn’t want to  say  no  and upset Chris, but neither was she comfortable driving to  Philadelphia a distance of 451 miles, ,after talking to her husband , he definitely  wasn’t in favor either.

Why  doesn’t her mother or father take the day  off, they  have a large family  Why  you  Nikki? Two  women going to  a bad part of Philadelphia????

I waited until the Sunday  evening to  talk to  Chris , he didn’t want Angela to  driver alone  and no-one in her  family  were  prepared to  take her, so  he had to  take two  days off of work ( not only  unpaid but also he was still on probation at work , so  that didn’t bode well) .

( note  similar ring in design)

In the meantime on the Monday  Nikki  called me  she was in the middle of tiling a back splash in her new kitchen:

“Angela has called and is angry  and upset, apparently  one or two  of the aunts had  gone with  Angela to  local jewelers  to  get the  engagement ring appraised  and the one who  did give them an off the cuff appraisal  came in at $3,000.00 half of what it was supposed to  be worth. They  blamed Jim’s friend, Jim    and poor Chris had been cheated”

Nikki  was beside herself and dropped what she was doing and met Angela at another jewelers but they  would not do  an appraisal. Chris was furious  as Angela had been on the phone crying to  him at work.

I, for one, could not believe the crassness of this family  and  two days later were valuing the ring she had just received. I  thought of my own poor little speck of a diamond engagement ring , I didn’t care how much  it cost I  was so  happy.

To  solve the situation I  asked Chris to  bring me the ring . I  paid  $150.00 dollars for a proper evaluation  of the stone and setting . The paperwork came back a week later

Stone..its clarity  size etc. was valued at $8,000.00 and the setting designed by  Chris in white gold was  another $1,800.00 and was deemed to  be on the conservative side. 

I immediately  called Chris , but he still was in a mood , which  got darker by  the time he came home. He and I  had words, the ones you  shout. I criticized  how this whole situation had come about.  He then informed both his sister and I  that Nikki  had lied, Angela did not call her upset and blaming  anyone.   This was the first time that Angela tried to  come between  Chris and his family, in this case Nikki. Nikki said

are you calling me a liar?  Why  would I  lie about something like that….?

Nikki  left the house, and she and Chris did not speak for days . Finally,  I  had enough  and another dressing down to  my  son…..  who  had by  now  cooled down- thought about the situation  and went to  apologize to his sister…

 

So much  for love and happiness.

NOTE: All events and conversations were witnessed  and  although  these events etc are from my  perspective and opinions however  they  are the truth. Loraine Ritchey

 

 

March 3, 2020 at 1:11 pm 1 comment

Feb 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 1. Chris Ritchey

NOTE: At one point in their relationship  Angela told me she had said to  Chris, ” Your  mother  ( Me) will write our love story and you  ( Chris) will do  the illustrations. Well not exactly  the story  anyone envisioned.. but the truth!

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

CHAPTER ONE…. 

I was married for 8 years before I felt the quickening of a baby beneath my heart, a baby girl whom I cherished and cherish. 3 years and 10 months later a little boy completed our small family. Like countless mothers before me, I would talk to my children as they grew within my body. The day they were born, the moment mother and child were left to one another after all the turmoil of birth, I too, promised them to always love them, protect them and never let anything happen to them. I wish I could put into words the feeling that grabs at your very innards as your child is put into your arms.

Some say that exquisite joy must be compensation for the pain of birth, others will tell you the bond is strengthened by the fact the child’s DNA having passed through the walls of the womb stays with the mother. Therefore, you are always part of your mother’s body. Months of sharing a body, heart and breath of life, there is nothing closer, the sound of a mother’s heartbeat- the lullaby of life. The very life essence that makes each one of individuals shared and a love that knows no limits. All I can tell you is that from that first fluttering of life I was consumed with a love for them that was greater than anything I had previously known.

The bond I shared with my son was different to the one I shared with my daughter. Nikki was so like her father, laid back, non-confrontational and even tempered. Chris, on the other hand, was volatile, passionate, definitely did not suffer fools and loved a good fight. He was more my child. I always knew what would set him off and we had the proverbial test of wills as he was growing up but underneath the clashes of wills he knew I would walk through fire for him and I knew he would do the same for us. The love shared was not on show, it was there and deep rooted.

My little girl and her baby brother soon left childhood days behind, life was normal, school, holidays, hobbies new friends , new loves and yet my daughter Nikki and her brother Chris retained a bond between them that was unbreakable. Nikki was always there for Chris and Chris was always there for Nikki. It wasn’t contrived or for show, they were each other’s sounding board, life line – it was them against the world, if need be.

I would watch them and knew whatever happened to me or their father they would always take care of each other no matter what.

 

 

 

 

Nikki married, moved out, life went on.

 

Chris was a student at Cleveland Institute of Art.

Other self by Chris Ritchey

Every weekend he came home and when I say home – he had two, this house where he was born and his sister’s. Nikki’s husband, Jim, became the brother Chris never had.

There was a lot of love and laughter in those years. I knew Nikki would always have Chris in time of need and Nikki would fly to his side no matter what. I relaxed in the notion they would always have each other.

He had been dating a young woman in his last year of High School- Angela Lombardi. She seemed a quiet little thing, I tried to make her welcome when she came for holiday dinners. I always got the feeling we were getting what my mother called the white glove test and that we didn’t measure up to her standards.

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

Although my son broke up with her for a few weeks in the latter part of 2005 “as she was too clingy and didn’t give him room” they did get back together thanks in part to a conversation I had with him at 4 o’clock in the morning!

He had asked me:

mum what is love ? 

We explored, love, the flush of new love and sexual attraction, the role of family and caring. The conversation lasted many hours, a few weeks later Chris renewed the relationship with Angela.

I was happy at the time although the day in June when  he came through the door with his sister with “news” – I wasn’t so sure .

I saw the look on Chris and Nikki’s faces that June day- they sat guilty together , after asking their dad to join us in the living room my mind racing, something was up? Finally Nikki said to Chris-

you’d better tell them!

My first thought was Oh God Angela is pregnant- it was that sort of vibe – not such good news coming- I held my breath.

Then Chris said quietly-

Angela wants to get married –

I was stunned, not what I was expecting!  Not knowing what to say ‘relief I guess she wasn’t pregnant”

“ Well congratulations, I guess – how about YOU do you want to get married ?

Chris gave a little shrug :

I suppose so –

Worrying to me what he said and didn’t say – this was not the reaction of a young man who was getting engaged.

Chris had just been hired by Wyse Advertising, he had very little money to speak of and was just starting his career.

I said “well you’d better plan on living here to save up for married life.

My thoughts of this is not good timing – my  thoughts  to the “other mother in the equation” A person I  had barely  met more that a half a dozen times , and never really  had any  conversation with  her at all.  – I asked:

when was the date?

Chris didn’t know and I found myself thinking Sue Lombardi, the mother of Angela, I knew from mutual acquaintances  was a controlling individual when it came to Angela – she  would surely make it a long engagement .

How many times had Chris ordered flowers on my credit card  account to cheer Angela up when the mother, whom they called Mama Sue and Psycho Sue, had upset her for NOT living up to Sue’s standards of achievement? I thought, Sue will not be happy at this and therefore I needn’t worry………..

The engagement – to  be continued 

 

February 3, 2020 at 2:04 pm 5 comments

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!!!!!!

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. https://www.thatwoman.wordpress.com . 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 7 comments

Dec 3rd – TIME of our Life- Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Every  3rd of the month I write a tribute to you   my  son , I  have  written , apart from the other memories of your passing  over 120 posts. I write to  release the pain that builds, to  take the thoughts out of my  mind and put them on paper, or in this case on this blog. If I didn’t they  would consume me more than they  do  and I  would not get any  relief. The tears I  shed as I  write drop  onto the desk  and over these many  months the varnish  has all but gone  – a surface worn away  by  my  tears.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/category/chris-ritchey/

Other self by Chris Ritchey

How can that be possible? How have 10  years passed? How can that be?  You  see for most of my  nights and days I am back in time , to  a time where life and death  and selfishness have trapped me, and not only  me  your father is on this same journey. I dream of you  but you  always have cancer and I  am always searching for a cure or help, then I  wake  there is a moment of relief that it was just a dream and then I  realize  I  have woken to  my  nightmare, there was no  cure no  help… I  am in reality……………..

The diagnostic box- self- portrait Chris Ritchey

I am reminded of H.G. Wells and The Time Machine , I feel like the lead character sitting in that machine , only the lever is not controlled by  me but by  a profound grief, that is stronger than any  will of mine.   I  sit in place in my  own device  as I  watch the world around me go from the future to  the present.

photo -self -Chris Ritchey

Every now and then I leave the machine of grief and experience the world of the present, happiness comes , anger comes, passion – very  rarely, duty to  others is limited and they  are the ones I  hold most dear. That is why  although  it is now 10 years this December 3rd. since I last saw  your face, kissed your cheek,  held your hand and lost ME. No  longer Loraine, but a facsimile   who left this place when you  did . The unbearable is borne  tempered by  love of your family , sisters, nephews  brother in law and father. Deep breaths  and the conscious and sub-conscience  effort by  the brain to  hold back the excruciating  emotions that wrack the physical body.

Anger at those that through  hypocrisy  and selfishness ( Tim Sue Lombardi, Angela (Lombardi – Ritchey) and now Murphy – and their family  and church ( Father Daniel  Divas  whose wickedness ( in my  opinion)  perpetuated  and took whatever compassion with  them in their  act of callousness. not to  be forgiven- then or now  

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/something-wicked-our-way-came/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/december-11th-the-beginning-of-the-beginning/

 

 

but that same anger also  has kept me upright.

 

The 10th  anniversary marked by   the yearly  posts of December 3rd  and as the new year dawns once again to  finally  finish  the book- NO LIMITS.

Starting a new chapter both  literally  and figuratively  -not the regurgitating of posts- but of your life and presence in the present………..

The Touch- Chris Ritchey

Your words ring through  my  mind  and indeed is part of the forward in the book

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

freedom of speech by Chris Ritchey

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/dec-4th-how-cold-is-cold-lombardi/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/december-3rd-chris-ritchey-yesterday/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/december-3rd-the-trilogy-of-tears-christopher-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/december-3rd-memorial-chris-ritchey/

 

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/december-3rd-there-is-no-peace-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/december-3rd-end-of-days-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/dec-3rd-the-loop-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/dec-3rd-the-waiting-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/dec-3rd-crumbling-walls-chris-ritchey/

My  time here in this world  grows shorter as the days continue – I have to  finish this book and publish – as “truth  is definitely  the daughter of time” and time is running out…… I  love you  and miss you  every  moment of these days  and oh so long nights  no matter the  year I find myself existing……

 

December 2, 2019 at 11:01 pm Leave a comment

How does your garden grow? Part Three

 

Part One – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/08/18/how-does-your-garden-grow-part-one/

Part Two – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/09/22/how-does-your-garden-grow-part-two/

I  haven’t had much  time for “writing” ,what little time I  have had has been trying to  get the ponds and the garden winterized.  The large pond that had to  be Heron proofed needed to  have all the floating vegetation taken out . This meant all those water hyacinths and water lettuce  had to  be removed. They  had protected the fish  from the evil eyes of the Heron, denying them breakfast, lunch  and dinner.

 

The pots and shrubs , such  as the raspberry  bushes  that had seeded themselves around the edges had to  be taken out before their roots compromised the liner.

They have done their job of denying the Heron a place to  land  The Yellow Water Iris cut back. This was all done because  the frost would blacken and kill the plants in the pond and cause toxicity  as they  decayed.

The water is crystal clear thanks to  three pumps and an aeriator , clear enough to  be seen by  those high  flying angels of death  to  my  fish . I  am crossing my  fingers they  are “fishing elsewhere”.

I was surprised after losing half of my  fish  to  the Heron some must have still managed to  procrerate. In the clear water I  saw at least 4 tiny  black  fry and three larger fish  that had turned to  gold/orange. So life goes on in the pond.

My Mothers Day   Ghost Koi  present from Chris 10  years ago  continues to  remain the King of the Pond.

 

The one thing I was pleased with  was the fact that I  was able to  pick some of the wildflowers (  that are still blooming) this autumn bringing memories of those two  little boys sewing the seeds with  abandon.

 

My  mother’s balcony, this time last year, got the minimum of clearing away. I  threw away  most of the smaller pots but never got around to clearing out the dead petunias and pansies.

With  all that happened in Jan/Feb/March  and April with  health issues and hospitals I didn’t do  anything on the balcony  apart from placing  a pot of pansies  in remembrance of my  mum. I certainly  didn’t have the energy to  plant up  the remaining window boxes and plant stands.

I was amazed  when I  went to  put out the seat cushions the Petunias, yellow Daisy types flowers  and Pansies had come back from the previous year.

Well, I  was flummoxed , February’s winds and temperatures had seen us losing  the ornamental plum and lilac bush  that were well established. How could such  delicate petunias and annuals have managed to not only  survive but to  flower beautifully  in abundance ? Once again the answer came not from the supernatural but from Monty  Don. https://montydon.com/

Apparently  my  2nd floor  balcony  faces south and the house has protected the pots and plants from the winter winds , coupled with  the fact the frost stays lower down and the fact I didn’t have the energy  to  dump  out all the pots before the winter as had been done in previous years.  I  have left the boxes and the grasses that also  survived . Weeds they  might be but I  did notice the birds had  a lovely  time eating the seeds all winter. In fact I  left one window box to  the birds

The hedges  clipped beautifully  by  my  neighbor has become a sort of Hotel for nesting pairs of Morning Doves, Cardinals, and dozens of sparrows.

 

On the other side of the garden where the hedge remained unclipped and left to  blossom  attracted bees  both  solitary https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/solitary-bees.html and honey.    In fact with  the birds coming in to  drink and bathe  in the water fountain that area was very  “busy” all spring and summer

All in all with  just having the grass cut  and the goodness of heart by  my neighbor in cutting back  the hedge , grandchildren planting wildflowers and sunflowers, the garden ,considering our lack  of daily  maintenance  Mother Nature gave pleasure to  not only  the birds, bees and wildlife  but to  me as well. Fragrance of Lavender, Honeysuckle and Roses help to  soothe  the troubled mind and give some peace and energy  during some very rough  times this year

To be continued in the Spring! ( I  hope)

October 20, 2019 at 4:11 pm 2 comments

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