Posts filed under ‘Love’

June 3rd – delete- Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey

Hard weeks, when even writing is no  longer cathartic. Always months of anniversaries of this and that…. May  and June full of them. Some were happy  but in the dying times most are met with “wanting to  just get through” to  the other side. The “what if” things had turned out differently , “memories that should have been”  dissolved into  the murky waters of time  and reality  rippling out into  nothingness.

And yet the days of memories linger on the edge of our reality , the present.  As I wait for the pink rose  blossoms to  once again surround the fountain (you  purchased as my  “thank you “)  mingles with the memory  of you  carrying it piece by  piece that June day to  place it where it still sits- I  see you  the way  you  carried yourself, muscles taut  across your  back as the cast  concrete weighed upon those arms  recently  pumped with  chemo.

I see you  sitting on the edge of the pond slipping in the “Ghost Koi” that Mothers’ Day . The Koi that is now as long as my  fingertips to  my  elbow. He/she slips silently  through  the waters just a glimpse of the past melding with  the present. The reality  of missing you  and wanting to  see you , hear your voice, laughter to  make me smile through the grief that is always there  waiting…….

I can’t  “delete” those memories and the hundreds of them that assail with every  passing day. They hurt , even the very  good ones  but they  are you so  they  can be borne ….

I can and have deleted  people from my  mind  journey – the ones that have caused hurt, they  barely  exist in my  world except when I bring them to  the fore because they  are mentioned by others –  control , alt , delete . I can control those memories . It is if they  belong to  a different lifetime  and actually they  do  ….. they  are the purveyors of  wickedness personified , selfishness undiluted  and have no  room in the “what if”………

Another 3rd, another month  another year but you  are loved beyond all tears….

 

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June 3, 2018 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

May 3rd- Words are all I have- Chris Ritchey

Words- text- communication through  a written language. Reading was always difficult for you  as a little boy you were at the beginning of a local failing school system. A system that had to  show progress, so  although  you  had the extra classes , they  passed you  through as completing their  grant driven reading programs. It wasn’t until the 5th  grade we found out , when I  had you  privately  tested, just how bad the problem was. Three years of catch-up and a change to  private education.

Those years were hard for you , you  thought you  must be “stupid”.  However, you  also  developed a skill of  communicating “visually” . Eventually  reading caught up  with  your ability  to  use your art to  communicate.  You  found a niche for your talent at Lorain County  Community  College https://www.lorainccc.edu/

and on the advice of the college you transferred to  Cleveland Institute of Art

http://www.cia.edu/

artwork Chris Ritchey

It was at the students art show at Cleveland Institute of Art , I  was looking at some of your designs etc. I noticed a couple of mistakes in the text. I spoke to  the your instructor that evening about the  mistakes in the text.  He looked at me and said :

“that is not a problem , we can teach  and correct  spelling  etc. what I  can’t teach  is what your son has, his ability  , creativity  and talent. I will give a an assignment  to  the group – “come   up  with  three different  advertising concepts  on a given product/ client  within a week” – Chris, will come back  within two  days with  10  entirely  different takes.  I can’t teach  that……

 

Eventually  you  gained a  position as Art Director for  Wyse Advertising .

http://www.wyseadv.com/

Apparently , according to  your boss at the time, you were poised to do  great things in advertising … we will never know…. but Wyse  were wonderful to  you during that terrible time of your illness.

I do  remember that first year  you worked for Wyse  you  were asked to  do  the ad for them in the annual “Torchlight” Membership  Directory

The monthly AAF-Cleveland Portfolio features the latest in industry development and trends, association insights and updates, and achievements of local members. “Torchlight,” our annual membership directory, is an invaluable “Who’s Who” reference manual of members, agencies, and services in Cleveland advertising.

The directory  was in your portfolio   and the ad………. text, words …….. “scan of the full-page ad that appeared in the Torchlight”

Artwork Christopher Ritchey

 

But there aren’t any  words  that were  so  important as the last words you  wrote to  me – even with  the spelling mistake…….I carry  them with  me every  day

 

Mother’s Day  is coming, once again tinged with  tears and bitter-sweet  ———– I love you…………I need to  finish writing  the book  if I can find the words

 

May 3, 2018 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

March 3rd -It’s OK- Chris Ritchey

Reaching out- art work- Christopher Ritchey

It’s OK – (okay)  the origin of OK  has many  theories https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/explore/what-is-the-origin-of-the-word-ok

but basically   translated – Ok (okay) means it is alright, it is fine  or will be OK – will be alright – will be fine.

When something traumatic happens  either in real life or in tv / movie land – invariably , along with  the hug and the patting on the back http://www.saywhydoi.com/the-back-pat-why-do-we-pat-on-the-back/ comes the  words – “it’s OK”

No  it isn’t OK  really …. but like shaking hands when you  meet someone it is something  those  who  try  to comfort  do.

I found myself yelling at the television as yet another traumatized mother – having disaster over take her family  – and the well-meaning friend , the “it’s Ok” tripping from their mouth for want of something to  say – throw away  words ….

NO it isn’t OK, it will never be OK – her  “ok world” is no  more – stop telling them it is OK- alright – you  will be fine – just stop! hold them tell them they  are loved

but I  am here to  tell you   when you  lose  a son or daughter   nothing is ever alright, fine or okay in your world   ever again.

OK! well I  maybe be making a mountain out of a molehill…  and bitching about the human condition when we are at a loss for words and trying to  be kind and give comfort  but it cuts me to  the quick when I  see and hear those words spoken

The flawed Hand of the Healer by Chris Ritchey

AND  it is not okay  that my  wonderful, talented, loving  son with  his whole life ahead of him- is nothing more than a memory- and in some cases not even that – whilst the dregs of mankind and other sons cause terror and destruction to the world’s children.

 

AND it is not OK that once again I am losing from my  life  a sweet, caring , selfless , sparkling wine of a woman to  the obscenity  of cancer- another family  waiting and watching as she leaves us slowly. It is not OK that she is leaving whilst   the cruel bitches of this world thrive………

It is NOT OK Chris that I  am here and you  are not…….. I love you

March 3, 2018 at 12:20 pm 1 comment

Gonna Party like you’re 99 – !!!!!

 

I have been thinking about this post all week- how do  I write about my  mum and her life  experiences   and loves. I decided to   let her words tell the tale of the time before – before she was my  mum and a young child and woman in her mid twenties.  I  think she said it best in her book ( published for family  only and written to  my  daughter when she was a wee one) in  the foreword :

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

It is sometimes safer to write about other people than about oneself and easier to shape their lives into a consistent pattern. When you come to examine your subject, in this case my life, more closely the process is somewhat more complex and daunting than I originally thought. Every human life is at once so complex, yet simple, so perplexing yet clear, superficial and yet plunges to the depths that attempts to present it as a unified whole may take more talent than your Nana has but I will try.

 

The times before when she was a young girl  scrumping apples with  her brother  Mark , that didn’t bode well as you  will see:

Parrot snout ( his nickname  for her) , tell me whatever you do- if you see anyone whilst I climb to the top of that tree”

“Ok, Mark, I will stand underneath whilst you throw the fruit down”.

What a wonderful bag I collected. The sunshine was brilliant and I got caught up watching the butterflies, I seemed to be lulled with the peace and tranquility of it all. “ What was that I could see? Could it be the policeman’s helmet appearing over the fence and two eyes taking in the scene!”? My voice froze, I could not warn my brother, not a sound came from my throat. I tried and tried to make the sound come “ Oh! Vi don’t muff this one” but I took to my heels, the bag of lovely fruit spilling and scattering in the orchard joining the feast for the wasps. I made for the hole in the fence and bolted without ever looking back, leaving the policeman underneath the tree waiting for an unsuspecting boy to descend.I was terrified, would I once again be shunned and ostracized by all and sundry? My  brother  angry  gave me  clip round the ear and said “ I will never take girls along again!”

 

The opportunity  for higher learning denied , although passing her exams and obtaining a scholarship, the family  could not afford the extras .

digging for victory

Her first job at the Express Dairy  when she was 15 as a window dresser  and in charge of the shop –  she too became one of the ME TOO      – this generation didn’t invent  sexual harassment…… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_movement 

 The visits of Mr. B { a travelling Superintendent for the company } grew more frequent, I grew more apprehensive. I longed to confide my fears to someone, my sister Renee was too young, my mother would have advised and helped me but I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her…what could I tell her as nothing had yet occurred. Events came to a head one afternoon, Mr. B called in; he had a very nice shiny new car and invited me to go for a ride with him that evening. I said I was unable to do so.

”OK then some other time maybe!” Meanwhile he made some coffee, opened a tin of pineapple chunks (4 1/2 d) and a carton of cream (2d) he offered me some. I don’t really know what happened then, but I was suddenly held in a vise like grip, the small table upon which the pineapple and cream were sitting went over, juice spilling all over me! The fingers with the hairs were groping and fumbling, I was shaking with fright, and my overall was off ….my brass buttons “pinged” as they hit the floor.

Sometimes the unbelievable happens, it did a customer came in the shop door. And the bell really saved me! The lady bless her never knew what she did for me that day. I didn’t stop to lock the shop up but tore off on my bicycle, not daring to look around. I turned in my resignation and applied for a position in the G.P.O. (General Post Office)

Mum managed to  get a placement

The training school was in Holborn, with dummy switchboards. It seemed there were nothing but aged old dried up spinsters ladies were teaching us,( how unkind and thoughtless we are when we are young.) The wonder of it all when we finally finished our training and passed as “thirty six hour girls” ( you were only allowed to work for 36 hours to start with hence the expression). We were then directed to our “local” telephone exchanges. During this training time which took three months we weren’t paid. How my mother coped not only not having my wages coming in to help but to give me enough for fares and lunches must have been so very difficult for her but somehow she managed.

The meeting of the young man who would eventually  be her husband and my  father.

. After one of the dances, as was the custom then, we were standing clapping waiting for the band to start up again; a chap around 5ft 9, quite well-built with terrifically strong-looking shoulders and periwinkle blue eyes and with blonde hair, one curl of which had fallen across his forehead. He came over and whisked and danced me to the other end of the room.

 

Then War!! Mum volunteered for special duty  and ended up  at the Ministry  of Information


Three of us would be required to man the emergency switchboard, which was housed in the basement of the building; this was called the war room. A big square room, around the walls were telephone boxes which were connected with a direct line to all the important ministries for example, the Admiralty, War Office, Air Ministry, Foreign Office, Ministry of Supply etc. etc.

In each telephone box sat a high-ranking official who would be in communication with his respective Ministry. The censors and press officials were they’re sorting and sifting through thousands of reports coming in from all areas of Britain and the world.

These people were tremendous and treated the operators extremely well Lord Reith had taken on the job of Minister of Information; he had been head of the BBC. Winston Churchill, who was then 1st Lord of the Admiralty, used to come through on his direct line “ Good Morning, give me the Minister please” short polite and always to the point. The town clerks and mayors of today in local council could well take a lesson from those gentlemen of yesteryear.

Sir Walter Monkton was there; he was a good friend of the Duke of Windsor who was in France at the time. The Duke would call quite frequently to have a chat with his friend. I enjoyed my work immensely it was extremely busy especially if any kind of action, naval air or army was taking place.

However all was not fun and games  my  19-year-old mum working at the Ministry  of Information you  got the  war news before most and one day:

 

HMS Southampton

her boyfriend’s ship

Damaged during air raid on warships in Forth Estuary.One bomb penetrated three decks. Casualties.

came through the ticker tape

NOTE: ” The Man who Designed the Spitfire” again little life coincidences. The Spitfire first saw action on that October 16th 1939 protecting the Royal Navy and my Dad.

On 16 October 1939, Junkers Ju-88s of 1/KG 30 led by Hauptmann Helmuth Pohle attacked British warships in the Firth of Forth. Nine of the Ju-88s were intercepted over Rosyth by three Spitfires of 603 Squadron, each of which attacked Pohle’s aircraft which was hit repeatedly and crashed into the sea

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-part-6/

However she too was in peril and felt the Nazi Blitz…


It must have been only 9: pm. There seemed to be a great deal of activity outside. We used to be able to tell by the sound of the aircraft engine whether it was one of ours or one of the Germans.

The whistle of the descending bombs and the following explosions was terrifying. We sighed a breath of relief when hearing that explosion didn’t have our name on it. This night I did not hear the whistle nothing suddenly a complete and utter silence. The bricks seemed to be crumbling and falling all around. I tried to hold onto something. I only grabbed at empty space. The air was filled with dust. I realized the house must have received a direct hit and the three people who had been near me had disappeared. I tried calling the silence was eerie and shocking. I had bricks and wood and plaster all around me “was I going to be buried alive?”

 

There was one sound, a hissing sound coming from somewhere beneath me. “A fractured gas pipe perhaps”. I remembered hearing accounts of people being gassed to death before they had been dug out from all the rubble. I groped all around in that black darkness and found a pipe, maneuvered myself and sat over the leakage. Bricks were still falling but I had heard human voices Maudie and her mother and sister (Barbara) everyone was at least alive. Then came the sound of faint movements. These became clearer and what seemed to be hours later a chalky white face appeared, Mr. Cushing’s. He had been on ARP duty outside and seen his own house go up!

Many hands helped me out; I was the first and escaped with hardly a scratch but was holding a very sore backside and apparently hysterically asked the first aid warden “ can you get gassed in the posterior” he obviously thought I was a little balmy. Mrs. Cushing fared the worse and Maudie and Barbara were very badly bruised and shaken, seeing the remains of what was left of the house. Just one heap of broken bricks, shattered glass and matchsticks only remains of doors and beams. The marvel is that we escaped at all.

These things happened  before I  even knew this wonderful woman who was  to  be my mum.

After the war years came family  years – chock a block full with  uncles , aunts, cousins  a lots of laughter. As always there were  some bad and terrible times   but always through it all was my  mum constant , loving and keeping the wolf from the door and being there for me.

MY mum may  not have amassed a fortune but I don’t know any  other person who  has, through the years  gathered so  many  friends and such  love, due to  her just being her . Never a day  goes by when there isn’t at least one card or letter coming through the mail from some far-flung corner of the globe. She is Aunty  Vi or Aunty  Janet, mother in law  and sometimes the “Dame”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Best of all she is my  mum, and her  grandchilden’s

and her Great grand children’s  NANA!!!


 

Happy  Birthday  Mum this one is for you !

 

February 11, 2018 at 1:45 pm 3 comments

Feb 3rd -Helpless- Chris Ritchey

Heart of Thorns- artwork Chris Ritchey

Another February , and  the beginning of the  scream , the weeks of feeling totally  useless and helpless . Walking in two worlds – trying to  remain calm, positive  and supportive for the journey  thrust upon your young life.  All the while my  chest  collapsing, jaw clenching to  stop the tears and terror I was feeling from showing.  The weeks and months after you  passed   trying to  stop from going mad,  running from the “black dog” of Churchill fame.

The emotional incontinence – staying close to  home  – not wanting to  drive  incase the sight of a young man in black  Ford 150 truck  would split my  reality.  I learned how to  hide, how to  suppress the emotional nightmare with tricks of the grief-stricken. We, who  have lost our son or our daughter  learn lessons no  one should have to  learn.

The nights  when the dying days visit –  the  mind tools kicking in  to temper the  ferocity  of memory so sleep can come.  Turning a corner , one would think, but like the damned cancer it is there lying quietly , building upon itself.  I thought I  was managing quite well in the last few months  and then- not cancer- but once again wanting and trying to  get your Nana  through a situation caused by  bureaucrats. Weeks and months of fighting , trying to  make sense of a situation beyond my  control . Holding on,  trying to  be the Loraine I  once was …. A bureaucratic wall was thrown up

I couldn’t get through , your Nana’s physical and emotional well-being  compromised by an officious, pseudo-listener  “gatekeeper” . After months of dealing with  her ilk  and they,  not knowing or caring how this situation was causing such distress to   a 98-year-old woman- as the phone was hung up – and I  sat stunned – bewildered  not knowing where to  turn next.

 

BFA project
Chris Ritchey

And then it happened – the trigger- those feelings  of the dying days were unleashed , not in waves but  with a flood- overwhelming  logic – nothing could stop the torrent- hours  and hours of raw emotion, tears that just wouldn’t  cease, the sobs that wracked  were back – brought forth  from their hiding place. Worried faces of family  , concern , the questions  upon  furrowed brows.

Then just as “anger ”  at  the cretins  of your bride’s family  kept me upright in those days of   total despair and surrender… anger once again surged through the dark and made me strong enough to  continue- to  fight back against  the ignorance  – the   “people” inflicting pain  upon those I love.

Your Nana survived the bureaucrats, thanks to help  from those that did and do  listen .  And I  realized once more  the wound has not healed- the scar is still only  surface deep and it waits…… because there is nothing I  can do – even in anger- to  see you  walk through a doorway  once more , hear your voice laugh with you  and enjoy  you  being you………

February 3, 2018 at 1:28 pm Leave a comment

Tree of Love- Gabriel Miller- moonbeam and light 2017


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

 

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

and night fell on a snowy Christmas

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

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

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

Photos Lisa Miller – Lorain 365

December 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm 4 comments

Figgy Pudding – A celebration tale – Chris (tmas) Pudding

Traditions in this house took a 180 degree about-face when my  son Chris died. I could no  longer have Christmas  in this house- Oh! my  mum has her “Christmas Grotto” in her little living room  and Gavin and Braedyn come a decorate her little tree and hang the ornaments.

There are no  longer twinkling lights inside or outside this house in celebration of  anyone’s birth- the beliefs of my  childhood torn asunder.

I have  “visited the holidays ” at my  daughters for the sake of her and her family  and the boys. Traditions changed from my  “English  Christmas of yesteryear” – now Christmas Eve  finds lobsters in the pot – named for those that are not very  nice.. and laughter yes, but the traditions of my  daughter’s youth  and of this house have gone the way  of so many  things. Yes! I visit  the holidays – peace on earth  and good will toward men – has a sour note…….. ( too many religious  hypocrites, sadness and questions  added to  the mix of my  life)

But Christmas  is for children and like every  other grandparent last week I  smiled, laughed and cried as the kindergartners at Braedyn’s school put on their holiday  program .  As all the children wore their Santa, Reindeer, Snowflake and Frosty  hats  little faces all a glow , voices were exuberant  in their renditions  and they  joyously  proclaimed the fun that was coming . My  eyes and heart  fell on  Braedyn singing along

Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding,Oh, bring us some figgy pudding, And bring it right here.Good tidings we bring you and your kin;We wish you a merry Christmas And a Happy New Year!

I realized not one of them, including my  own grandson, probably  had any  idea  what figgy  pudding was . For the cooks among you  there are two  versions – Figgy  Pudding and Christmas Pudding – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/warm-sticky-figgy-pudding-recipe-1918585

Traditionally  we and my  family, through the generations,   used the  Christmas Pudding   and this is the recipe  that is close to  what we  always served.( although instead of glace fruit – which  I  hate -we add dried apricots , shredded carrot and a shredded Granny  Smith  apple .)   http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/33519/delicious-christmas-pudding.aspx

Every  year my  mum and I  faithfully  made the “real” fruitcake -( not that terrible American facsimile  that is tossed like rotten pumpkins) and Christmas Pud.  It was tradition and Christopher’s job from about  the age of 7 was to  bring in the lighted pudding  to  the table – he loved lighting the pudding  but never ate any. The only  ones eating it were my  mother and I  and my  husband would “force a little down”.  Christopher was the last to  light a pudding in this house.

However, as I  looked at all those little faces – I  said to  Nikki:

Gavin and Braedyn have no  idea what they   sing about with  this song . They  have never seen a Christmas pudding !

I  decided then it was time to  hand the tradition over to  my  daughter and grandsons. We had missed out on  “Stir Up Sunday”  but better late than never  http://metro.co.uk/2017/11/26/stir-up-sunday-what-is-this-christmas-pudding-tradition-all-about-7109142/

All the members of the family, especially the kids, need to take a turn to stir the mixture and everyone should make a secret wish while they stir.

Gavin had gone hunting with  his Dad  but Braedyn and his mum were game –  so  over the river and through the snowy streets they  came today . Ingredients all measured out  and we have a new pudding maker in the family  under the watchful eye of his Nana .

We all made our wishes , there were smiles and a few opinions as to  how much  brandy  went into  the pudding and now they – the puddings ( we made too much  mixture so  now we have two)  bubble and sing on the stove for the next few hours.  I am not sure about the traditional pudding  boiling away  on Christmas Eve this year with  the lobsters in the pot – but to  each  his own………..

December 16, 2017 at 10:18 pm 5 comments

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