Posts filed under ‘Love’

May 3rd – Kid Fix – Chris Ritchey

It became a joke around here -just as my being Marie Barone in your and your sister’s eyes “my needing a kids fix” . If I called you out of the blue it was

“Ok mum you wanting your “Chris Fix” ?

I don’t remember aging but I did and there were times during those “days of before” when I would call you or Nikki (when you were elsewhere) just to hear your voices. ” My kid fix” – just knowing the both of you were safe during those moments of my need let me rest easy.

Chris and his sister, Nikki – on the happiest night of her life


As you both moved on to adulthood and your own lives I had visions of your Dad and I becoming an old Darby and Joan

Old Darby, with Joan by his side,
You’ve often regarded with wonder:
He’s dropsical, she is sore-eyed,
Yet they’re never happy asunder

spending the remaining years just getting on with life, the two of us. That was not to be.
Horror of Cancer, took that imagined life away. Selfishness of an in -law family and their priest took any respite and dignity left to us . We are left needing a “Chris Fix” – to see your face, to hear your voice , to see your smile, to know you are OK.

Long nights turn into longer days and yet they fly by for some unfathomable reason months into years I cannot remember living. Your poor sister now bears upon her shoulders the needs of her mother and father and two little boys give strength and have become the givers of the kid’s fix.

In troubled days they bring the smiles, the voices of a male child once more and a respite denied by others and yet there is more – a child’s toy that connects us in all its innocence

I love you still ……

May 3, 2017 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

April 3rd – sample of life – Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey


At first, after you died I girded myself for the arrival of the mailman – sympathy cards, notifications in your name, even the ones from the monuments people wanting us to purchase you a headstone- at least they recognized your family should have a say. As the months disappeared into years pretty much the only mail for you would be the yearly invite to a “four-wheeler” event.

Last week however, Monday , found me opening your letter calling for you to submit work created between January 2015 and December 2016 for AIGA Cleveland . My breath was only sucked out of me for just a few moments and although I was in a foul mood and very touchy for the rest of the day, causing everyone around me to tread on eggshells, I managed.

Then the mailman knocked on the door three days later with a registered letter from the Cleveland Clinic – I can’t abide that conglomerate of medical management http://my.clevelandclinic.org/ This letter was from the Andrology Laboratory and Reproductive Tissue Bank.
Apparently they were updating records and it came to their attention you had passed away “our condolences” (written as an after thought) but we need to dispose of what remains of your son’s life ( my words) hereto known as the “sample” .

I was confused, incredulous , not sure what I was reading – yes I remembered you, on doctor’s advice, had banked sperm before the chemo. I had wondered weeks after your death what would happen. I didn’t do anything because since the Lombardis and the then your wife – Angela Ritchey ( now Dr. Angela Murphy- http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/16147-angela-murphyespecially Sue Lombardi ,had made ALL the decisions as to what would be happening with you, my son and your mortal remains, with no input from his family – they would have seen to this as well. I hadn’t realized you had designated me in this instance.

And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!

I read and reread the letter , my gut churned, my mind ran amuck – this planet still holds your life essence and the cavalier Clinic wanted to tell me they were once again in disposal mode.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi


I cried ,gasped for air, memories became reality once again in the ensuing hours. Everything came rushing back – emotional incontinence, anger , disbelief, pain returned full force.

Thoughts of what could be , what should have been, pulling the plug conference in that damned hospital – stony faced Lombardis – removed from the emotions of your death – sitting at that conference table looking like they were smelling bad fish and hoping against hope I would agree to your being taken off life support. Inconvenient, if I wouldn’t agree as Sue Lombardi had already picked out the “coffin clothes”. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

I wasn’t thinking straight –

I could get legal advice about maintaining the “sample” – you see to me was more than a “sample” it was my grandchildren that would never be- the life essence of my son and yet there was hope still– surrogate mother ran through my head- what would that cost? and then the darker thoughts of what did they mean by “disposal ” did they dump your “essence of life” into medical waste, the toilet , down a sink? My mind raged , bled and remembered……

Logically I know, you had signed the contract your “sample” should be “disposed of” after your death, so I believe that is what you wanted. Even if I could find a surrogate – it would be sheer selfishness on my part to bring a child into the world when I am surely heading out of it before they would be grown and finally you had a blood cancer when the “sample of life” was taken, I couldn’t take a chance that any child born would have a chance of cancer.

I haven’t responded to the Clinic as yet- although I know I will have to but it is hard to once again have to pull that plug……….

I love you ………

Artwork Chris Ritchey

April 3, 2017 at 11:55 am 2 comments

Food for (my ) thought -literally can make you fat

Or one woman’s plumpness- one woman’s memories
spag
Sunday found me making a Spaghetti Bolognese for myself- mum can’t abide spaghetti and my husband likes more “American” style ( bring on the Prego) so as I was cooking ground beef anyway I decided on an individual “spagbol” lunch

http://everythingthereistoknowaboutspagbol.blogspot.com/
I was transported back through time to a little Italian Café in London’s Soho . I was in one of my first jobs ( I used to go through jobs like chickens wings at a Super Bowl party) It turned out one of my friends was also working in the area so we used to pool our Luncheon Vouchers for lunch – For those that are unaware of a Luncheon Voucher – outside the UK
luncheon

“luncheon voucher is a voucher for a meal given to employees as an employee benefit, allowing them to eat at outside restaurants, typically for lunch. In many countries, meal vouchers have had favorable tax treatment. Vouchers are typically in the form of paper tickets.”

The proprietor could not help but be dismayed as to the way we ate his
“spaghetti” ( We used to use a knife and fork and cut it) One day, he could stand it no longer and promised if we tried to eat our pasta the proper way ( which he would demonstrate) until we mastered the skill he would not charge us for our meal. Needless to say it took weeks 😉 We progressed from cutting to using the fork and spoon method to finally the twist and twirl without slurping up errant strands or slavering sauce down our chins. I then changed jobs again and could no longer get my free meal .

Food always the comfort and I have realized when “cooking- ( sometimes successfully sometimes not so successfully I equate the dishes with people and memories .

digging for victory

digging for victory


My mum during the war was part of the rationing generation. Having to stock up and make things last has stayed with her and 75 years later she still stockpiles as evidenced by my cupboards “just in case”. Mum can make a roast last for three or more meals.

roast%20dinner%20comp
Roast on Sundayhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/recipes/the-ultimate-sunday-roast/ followed cold meat and bubble and squeak- shepherd’s pie and Cornish pasties and then if any is left over we have mince. I will say now she will make the items to freeze so we don’t have to eat them all at once. However, she has decided at her time of life that she hates leftovers so I am left with eating all the leftovers. ( sigh)

My husband on his ranting about our cooking with butter will not eat what we eat. Unhealthy!!!!! – mind you HE is the one with the stents and cholesterol – seems according to the heart Dr. and our Dr. when I asked how could he ,with his horribly healthy diet, have blockages “food consumption only affects cholesterol 3% – 20% –

sticky
this writing is making me hungry for a sticky toffee pudding
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3682/ultimate-sticky-toffee-pudding
and that reminds me of the Goring Hotel London http://www.thegoring.com/ and Cousin Pat. goring-hotel-london_11

My memories are everywhere in this kitchen making strong tea and thick toast and butter with chunky marmalade – My Auntie Ethel and a little cottage in Lincolnshire .

Baked potatoes – my childhood ( and I have never had baked potatoes since that were so good ) and cocoa coming in from Guy Fawkes Night and the chill in the air to Mrs. Cushing’s lovely warm kitchen( London England) – ( my cousin’s paternal grandmother) She of the white hair and cherubic face – she should have been a model for the ultimate Mrs. Clause .

marys_lemon_meringue_pie_02330_16x9 Chocolate Chip Cookies ( the best) and Lemon Meringue Pie http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/marys_lemon_meringue_pie_02330 will take me back to the 7th grade and New Brunswick Canada when a young teacher ” Miss Calder” came to live with us.
pavlova
Pavlovahttp://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/711658/strawberry-pavlova I can’t say I, or even my mum, have been successful in making the perfect Pavlova but as we try memories of Susan’s Pavlovas , Sunday afternoon tea time complete with her spread of new potatoes sliced ham and salad spread before us Ipswich, Suffolk England .

oliver
http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/steak-and-kidney-pudding/ Steak and Kidney Pudding -well that would be my own Nana ( on my mum’s side) when she lived with us in South Harrow Middlesex England – she had long white hair she used to pull up in a bun and the brightest blue eyes- she had a hard life and was nearly killed being strafed by a German flyer during WW2 as she was collecting wood.

untitled
But figs, dates, pomegranates,
https://wimshulcooks.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/wimshul-cooks-bakes-tu-bshevat/

chocolates and wonderful fresh cream cakes and éclairs from the bakery – cheese and watercress sandwiches was my more wealthy grandmother on my father’s side – It as all very exotic in her home silks and fringes an Aladdin’s cave to my eyes. The home of “children should be seen but not heard in Hendon EnglandNanny Bunyan

300868-1-eng-gb_359-470x540
Cooking egg and chips http://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/recipes/the-ultimate-egg-and-chips/ takes me back once again to being a little girl and sharing Saturday night tea time with the Braynes in South Harrow, Aunt Lilly’s lovely fairy cakes which I have never managed to make successfully bring such happy innocent times.fairy

british-food-full-english-breakfast-large
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/only-in-britain/the-15-most-british-foods-ever/full-english-breakfast/
Cooking the “English Breakfast”- Dusseldorf Germany and my Uncle Austin running along the Rhine embankment with pennies in my hand to buy sweeties from Frau Bloomers sweet shop.

black
Chocolate Gateaux http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8095/black-forest-cake-i/ I make a fairly decent Chocolate Gateaux – memories of Nikki as a two – year old and the Mohne mohne Dam of Dambusters fame Germany https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%B6hne_Reservoir
and her insistence she be allowed ‘gatoes” before she would eat a sandwich! and my cousin John
cheeseandonionpie_89625_16x9
From Germany back to England and Devon Cheese and Onion pie http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/cheeseandonionpie_89625 gracing cousin Dawn’s table at the farm. The table used to fair creak under the weight of all the dishes – How much fun I had riding the tractor over the fields to the pub- my husband playing darts in the Cider Shed getting blotto.

Not all food brings back pleasant memories – the smell of creamed corn turns me into a puddle of nerves and tears. Hopefully none who read this ever have to go through a stem cell transplant the smell of the preservative used in the gathered stem cells stinks like creamed corn. The odor permeates everything including my brain and takes me to a time of hope and hell with my son Chris. You won’t find creamed corn here in this house.
christmas-pudding
Another banned from memory and kitchen food is Christmas Pudding http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/christmas_pudding I make a mean Christmas Pud but no longer – because the memory of Chris ‘s job of always lighting the pudding can’t be replicated and only mum and I ate it anyway – the memory still too raw……..In fact our previous traditions when it comes to celebrating have been exchanged for new ones .
lobsters-pot
Chris – whose love of lobster and shrimp is always celebrated on special occasions – the lobsters in the pot bearing the names of those evil and wicked individuals who have added nothing but terrible negatives to our lives.( Good job I am not Elizabeth the 1st). He and Jim wiping out the buffet of seafood at the Bomber Squadron Cleveland Ohio.

Yes food for thought and cooking the food of comfort – as the memories come flooding in so do the calories. Yes! you can gain weight just by going down memory lane and find yourself all over the world. ………. bacon_butty_4-570x564
http://www.mrbreakfast.com/breakfast/oy-yanks-introducing-britains-bacon-butty/

Now I am going to visit Granddad with a bacon buttie grandad

February 7, 2017 at 7:22 pm 1 comment

Feb 3rd – The Toilet Bowl – Chris Ritchey-

chrisart collage

There are over 1,500 posts on this site now. Some are more popular than others. Searches are driven by information on particular subjects and some by images that have been uploaded to the internet. There is one post that ranks above all the rest everyday, it is the first in ranking bringing in thousands of hits in any month since it’s inclusion in 2010 . It is the photos included in the post that drives the traffic .

I am not sure how you would feel about this “still life” for classwork (?)2003 as having been interesting to so many every day since I first uploaded it . The work was not included in my collage of you or even in the “art show” . I am not sure what the message was if any – just a classwork assignment????? – but it has a following every single day and seemingly the most popular of any of the jpgs I use of yours with nearly every post.

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

Les toilettes comédie by Chris Ritchey

I watched a commercial for Poo- pourri and thought well maybe you were before your time

Sweet Toilet by  Chris Ritchey

Sweet Toilet by Chris Ritchey

So many times I have wished I could ask you why or what when looking at your work and so many time each day I miss your humor as I watch this world spinning into chaos and justice fleeting. I wonder what you would say about the current political situation, how you would express visually all that I cannot put into words………..I love and miss you more each day………

 the Dancing man - Chris Ritchey

the Dancing man – Chris Ritchey

February 3, 2017 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Jan 3rd- Broken Heart Syndrome- Chris Ritchey

This past week has seen Carrie Fisher die and a day later her mother Debbie Reynolds die of what is being called a broken heart.
debres
There has been much too-ing and fro-ing as to whether you can die of a broken heart or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy,

Tako

also known as transient apical ballooning syndrome, apical ballooning cardiomyopathy, stress-induced cardiomyopathy, broken-heart-syndrome and simply stress cardiomyopathy, is a type of non-ischemic cardiomyopathy in which there is a sudden temporary weakening of the myocardium (the muscle of the heart). Because this weakening can be triggered by emotional stress, such as the death of a loved one, the condition is also known as broken heart syndrome. It has also been reported in cases of partial drowning. The presence of a trigger such as emotional or physical has been reported in 33% to 100% of the cases.
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takotsubo_cardiomyopathy

Just a month and a half after you passed I wrote a post
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/dying-of-a-broken-heart/

And I have felt the pain in my chest, it is like a tight band , a crushing and tightening , it interferes with breathing, as if something has stopped my lungs from filling with air, holding ones breath too long underwater is a similar sensation . Just when you think you will drown in the pain and grief you surface , an explosion of tears and sobs pulling you back from the depths, a relief but also knowing that you have also lost an opportunity to be released from the slow suffocation of sorrow that has become your world.


heart hostage
And here I am “living with a broken heart”. How is that possible? Maybe my physical heart was strong, maybe because of my daughter and grandchildren acting as some sort of emotional relief valve – I am still here. If you had told me that would be the case in those first months after you passed I would have said ” not possible this gutting pain of losing you would kill me” . Every day I amazed another day has passed, week, month year and I am still walking upright .

I believe the anger kept me upright, an anger at the despicable behavior at your death and afterwards . For some people faith keeps them going but I know for me it was the combination of anger at “that” family, as well as the need to be there for my daughter and mother has continued to keep me on the planet. I also believe because I can write on this blog pouring out my heart has provided a relief valve of sorts.
x-eve

What happens should I let go of the anger will my heart finally break; the anger stays because what was done I cannot undo………..

I love you Chris, with all the pieces of my broken heart.

January 2, 2017 at 10:19 pm 2 comments

Gabriel Miller – moonlight and moonbeams -2016

Moonbeams - Chris Ritchey

Moonbeams – Chris Ritchey

There are times in this old house where we wander at night, sleep taken away, stolen by memories of what was and what should have been . We do not put on the lights so as not to disturb those that can find respite in oblivion.
There are nights when the moon close to being full either in the waxing or waning phase shines through the windows like some great night-light.

The moon beams light a path through the hallways of this old house. It is then when I think of Gabriel – his mother and father – and another New Year’s Eve when their little moonbeam- a light that burned so bright for such a short while but glowed with such strength of love in their hearts- was taken from this place but not from their hearts and the memories that were supposed to be.

gabriel
Gabriel Miller- a child of light, of moonbeams and magic –

I know the love they have for Gabriel doesn’t diminish but shines through just as in the darkest of nights , Gabe’s tree at Settler’s Watch breaks up the darkness. Tonight , another New Year” Eve has come, lights will flash, fireworks will drown out the stars in the sky but through it all a little moon beam shines lighting a pathway of love through the tears.

gabes-treeres

December 31, 2016 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

The parallel world- lights bright- Christmas of White

whiteres
Another Christmas – it came anyway- no matter my world fell apart just days previous to its arrival. I could actually relate to Scrooge and his quote

“If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol

The lights decorating the houses blurred through tears, were wished away. No Christmas cards were opened as they lay on the mat intermingled with sympathy cards- my mother became the keeper of the cards . I wished the merriment over, I wished it all to go away. I had lost hope , my son, my belief in kindness in death (thanks to Tim and Sue Lombardi, their daughter and their “priest” , their “will of control”- that wickedness not forgiven.

angsuecol

What faith I had was taken with his Chris’ last breath and as I saw the faces of his church- going holier than thou in-laws , the look on his brides face, no grief there just a relief there would be no long term dealing with his illness. The haunting of a Christmas past not forgotten as lights twinkle and candles burn.

And yet Christmas comes again and again and once more I am caught up in its intrusiveness . I still “visit” Christmas – how do you deny the children, my grand children, their excitement, their belief in goodness , the love for all the trappings- they refuse to “tone down” Christmas. Christmas for them explodes with laughter and happiness- as it should be.

Nanacol2012
Christmas has been “managed in this house” – no tree adorns the living room, my mother sends and receives cards decorated her Christmas grotto in her little living room. Gone are the Christmas Past, Christmas present but the world of children’s wonder is visited.

Still the cry – Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, fought over as to the “greeting- the dogma of belief that your “holiday of religion” is the “real one” and Christian or not you should be caught up in Merry Christmas continues to wreak havoc around the world. .

I shop for little ones on line- and venture out only to get my daughter her special present , the children will receive their over the top present from Chris- the “Chris-miss- present”

On this latest trip to “holiday” as I waited in the line of ” holiday traffic” the radio started playing the “holiday happy music” as I reached to turn it off I realized this wasn’t one I had heard before ( maybe I had and had just forgotten). The song fitted my mood. I listened for a bit then traffic and horns of a different kind were blaring. I came home and went to the computer pulled up the song ( now forty years old )- another decade indeed another century – Vietnam- the Middle East the death and dying continuing. The song topped the UK charts – maybe it didn’t get played here in Lorain – it was controversial- this “Christmas Song” was one that struck home .

“I Believe in Father Christmas” is a song by English musician Greg Lake with lyrics by Peter Sinfield. Although it is often categorized as a Christmas song, this was not Lake’s intention. He said that he wrote the song in protest at the commercialization of Christmas. Sinfield, however, said that the words are about a loss of innocence and childhood belief. Released in 1975, the song reached number two on the UK Singles Chart.

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin’s birth
I remember one Christmas morning
A winters light and a distant choir
And the peal of a bell and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire

They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
’till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in father Christmas
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
’till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise…………………

And so another Christmas comes and the questions linger along with the pain…..

December 21, 2016 at 9:37 pm 6 comments

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