Posts filed under ‘Love’

The Dance ended- the room emptied- Mum 2018

 

Will you  write about me? What will you  say? You  won’t forget me ?

Yes mum I will write about you , but not an obituary  after all how could I put into  200 or at the most 450  words the life lived for 99 years ?  I could fill that space with  just the last 5 months.  I did write a special post on your 97th  birthday  which  covered some highlights  of your  life

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/in-the-pink-97-years-and-counting-mum/

My mum is gentle , sweet, never sees the bad in people ( sometimes a failing), can bake for Britain, loves people with a depth beyond knowing, always makes excuses for their not so nice behavior, and has a strength to her that has sustained her for 97 years.

I don’t know what I  will say  I never know until I sit down at the keyboard  but I  am sure  nothing I  can write can do  you  justice to  people who  do  not know you  or know you  well.

You  won’t write the bad bits will you? I  didn’t put the bad bits in my  book

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-everyone/

“ROY (  my  father)  was on leave from the Navy for 4 days. He phoned on the Sunday and we were to be married by special license in the little church on the Ridgeway , Mill Hill on the Monday.
What a day for a wedding France had surrendered and our guests were more concerned with the war news”
SOURCE
After the reception we left Roy’s home to “go away” Where? we had no idea . Uncle Jack had kindly lent us the Humber. As he stood at the door waving us off he said: “You look such a couple of kids no one will take you in” I was silent as we sped along the great North Way – this was June and the last time I had seen Roy was the previous Christmas when we became engaged”

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/long-time-passing-gone-to-fighting-everyone-part-three/

I promise  I won’t add to  what I have already  written and you  have already   seen and read. I have written reams about you  every  birthday for the past 10 years, your life with  us, I will not add to  what has already  been written of those times .   BUT  mum those bad bits and terrible times were your finest hours the adversity  and pain you  faced  showed your absolute courage and strength of purpose.

‘No  , not the bad bits that only  you  know…

Ok mum  but what about the artist that wanted to  paint you  nude?

NO certainly  not I only  found out in time he wanted to  paint my  breasts as a back splash for the hot and cold taps in his kitchen .

There are hundreds of people all over this world whose lives you  touched in your 99 years.  You  always found the good in even those that hurt you and caused life changes , you  were  so  different from myself. I could never forgive those that caused you  pain. I  did put up  with at least one of them for your sake, you  never made or wanted fuss and confrontation.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/what-are-they-thinking-the-thought-process-stops-here/

 

The only  people you  never forgave was the Tim and Sue Lombardi  clan and their offspring ( Angela Lombardi ( Ritchey) Murphy, ( she has a steel rod up  her back were your words just a few days ago , very  cold)  so  unlike you but they  caused this family  great hurt and in your words were unconscionably cruel to  your loved ones  in the passing of your long-awaited grandson Chris .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

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

It was the only time you  didn’t tell me to  “forget and forgive”, probably  knowing as well that is never going to  happen.

No  mum we will never forget you , you  were a stabilizing force in all our lives, kind to  a fault, funny  even in those last days trying to  bring a smile to  those having to  watch  the Danse Macabre  .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/oct-3rd-danse-macabre-chris-ritchey/

You  were always so  worried that you  would have to  go  into  a home,

“I am not afraid of dying  it is what you  have to  die with  that worries me”

She hated the thought of a long drawn out death  that she would not be in her own bed. and would be surrounded by  strangers . I promised her that she would remain with  us in this house, in her own bed and she would always be clean and her bedding fresh  but there was nothing I could do  about the months it took for her to  slowly  disappear . She hated the loss of her independence , such  an independent  little soul, not to  be able to  contribute to  the work load around here  but was adding to  it .

Mum tried every  day  to  “help” even when her little body  was less than 60  lbs.

Finally came the days when she was bedridden and needed help  to  do  the simplest task such  as eat or drink, no  longer having the strength . No  longer could she sit among the flowers on her balcony , only  viewing through  the window in her bedroom.  She did not deserve to  have to  wait for her death this way and I  am angry  that she lost the things in dying what she so  treasured in life, privacy, independence  but I  tried my  utmost to  give her the dignity  she so  deserved that was denied my  son, in that at least Nikki  and I  succeeded.

“I am so  tired, exhausted, I know I  won’t see those little boys grow up , I  love them so  much  they  are held in my  heart , make sure you tell them. Make sure they  always have a Christmas present from me.

My  mum  made her arrangements in 1992- and nothing changed -she once again thought of others even those long years ago  , just as she had made life easier for me as her daughter in life , she did so as she passed.  I got to  hold her hand , sing her the songs of my  childhood , songs she sang to  me to  quiet my  bad dreams or pain hoping that it would help calm her journey and take away  the fear we all must face. She slipped past me quietly without fuss or drama , her granddaughters words of love bringing a quiet smile.

No  mum we won’t forget you , how could we you are in your granddaughter’s eyes, Braedyn’s laugh  and Gavin’s kind heart……………..You  are in the collective memory of nieces nephews, some of whom are in their 70’s and 80’s whom you  knew and held as babies, who  came to  stay  with  you  over the years, of friends who became family……  as for me I  cherish your spirit and always will……. til we meet again……..

A mother understands what her child does NOT say

 

 

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October 18, 2018 at 5:30 pm 12 comments

Sept. 3rd – The Bubble- Chris Ritchey

 

August– and the week of hell as far as memories go ( and come) has been left behind for another year. The wedding anniversary  , your birthday  and mine  now in the past once more. I live in a self-imposed  bubble, especially  now ,with  your  Nana slowly  disappearing from this existence.

I haven’t left this house for much  more than an hour at a time for weeks, and this house has become my own “living in a bubble,” surrounded by the people and things I  love most. I let  very  few intrude in the fragile existence  I  am living .

 

I have stopped letting in the distraction of “other lives” whilst I  currently  deal with  life and death  in this house. The crime, the angst, the annoyances of people , politics and  lifestyles  that I  cannot  do  anything about outside these walls  , even writing and documenting has been relegated to  another existence.

I  close  the windows , turn on the air-conditioning not only  to  deal with  the heat of August days  but to  add a sound barrier to  my  bubble  – to  defend against the intrusion of the “noise “of a people without respect for others in this neighborhood. I don’t want to  deal with them or anyone not welcome to  come into  my  bubble. I am dealing the best way  I  know how to  get through.

 

I  have taken some time to  look at “your book” – No  Limits –  still stuck after so  many  chapters, looking for strength  to  continue , it seems I  have limits .

– and I  am reminded that for  30  years I lived without “knowing you “, you  were not a part of this existence  and then you came into  our lives  and left all too soon ,  and I miss you   so much . Most of those  that knew you in your all too short existence  have  relegated you  to  a mere memory  , if that anymore. Your life ,floating as a bubble on the wind ,has left their existence  and eventually  has disappeared, a name on a headstone ,in a place not of your liking or choosing……. . you  are only  bright ,living  and  colorful in our little universe.

This  loss of you from memory  will be  repeated  in all our lives. We are all  only  remembered   for as long as “living memory ” is in play. When your Nana passes so  will all the lives of the people she loved , knew and shared her  life with  when  she was young, she is the last one left to  remember those times, people and places.

Eventually  we all  will be forgotten, relegated to  some cemetery  or plaque  that will fall into  disrepair and get buried over and forgotten, unless of course you  are famous or infamous enough to  be documented  for some great or terrible deed or happenstance of life.  Life consigned to  a  shelf in a library, computer, television program, “history” interpreted , discussed and revised .

The happiness and love you  brought into our lives is not fleeting and neither is the gutting pain left behind  after your leaving…….. the love endures …. and so  do  you in my  fragile bubble like  world.

 

September 3, 2018 at 11:50 am 1 comment

August 3rd- continuation- Chris Ritchey

You  would think after all this time I would run out of things to  share about you  and the fact you  lived but as life “continues” I find, far from being at a loss to find subject matter  , everyday  continues with  you .

Recently,  another mother wondered about whether people  felt she should be “over her grief by  now”  another  if there is a time limit to  being broken?

Because we are broken, and the pieces of us are held together with  a very tenuous glue.  The slightest “wobble of a memory “ entering into  one’s day  can see us picking up  the pieces and trying to  put ourselves back  together in order to  be on “life’s display”, hoping those we meet , work and socialize with  will not notice the cracks. Broken can make people uncomfortable, because  they too are not immune from losing a son or a daughter and we  are constant reminders that can happen.

As your  Nana is “transitioning” and I  am once again “caring” with cooking special foods, diets, changing sheets every  couple of days and giving medications ( you  too were prescribed) the glue is hardly  doing its job most days. It is probably  a good thing I  am not interacting with  people at the moment because  I am not handling  being  broken in “two” .

What little patience and tolerance I  had before this latest life event has disappeared. I have become selfish  with  my  time and energy. Telemarketers have found that to  call me subjects them to a tirade of “language” not generally  associated with  one of my  age and upbringing. They  have become my  relief valve, something I  need,  so  I  don’t shatter   altogether.

As I  looked on your Nana’s face this morning I was reminded of the charcoal drawing you  made of her when she was 85 looking out of a window. She was quite annoyed. “Chris you  made me look 95 not 85” but your artwork prophesied the future as today the portrait is a true likeness as she continues and slowly disappears from this world.

Loving you  continues- being broken continues ….

photo -self -Chris Ritchey

August 2, 2018 at 10:58 pm 2 comments

July 3rd – Life Changes- Chris Ritchey

Regular readers will notice that for the past weeks the only posts have been my  promised ” I  will write as best I  can your  story , Chris” until  there is a closure…..…

Oh!  there have been plenty  of things happening in this neighborhood, this  city , the state and country  and even the world  that would set my  fingers flying in years and months gone by.

I have reached a place of “sigh” everything seems to be too much  to  bear, too much  to  handle  and  apathy  has set in. One of the reasons is life changes ,here in this house and the losing of a wonderful friend, Paula Tobias. Death  and dying – I  am so  tired of watching those I  love die by  increments with  nothing I  can do  or say to  make a difference.

I  am at war with death  in the form of  a bird- a huge Blue Heron  who  found the pond.

He has become my angel of death  silently  swooping down , waiting , watching  to  strike. As beautiful as he is , he is now the enemy . I wait for him in the mornings and late evening  since I  first saw him a month  ago. He has no  fear,  intent on reigning havoc upon the habitat in the pond whether it is fish or frogs .

The pond where you  put my  Mother’s Day  present –  the “Ghost Koi “ that very  last time .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/the-ghost-in-the-pond/

The koi  is huge, a good 24 inches , he glides stealth like through  the water. I was surprised this Ghost Koi , no  larger than the span of my  hand when you  released that May  day,  has become the size he has . I guess I  should have researched him – As I  read about this Ghost Koi, I had a funny  feeling YOU  did research  his characteristics  and thought it would be funny  to  land your mother with  a giant fish, somehow it fitted with  your sense of humour. Big fish   little pond !

Jumbo sized Koi grow up to 34 to 36 inches long and 40Lbs . Does the size of the pond hinder a Koi’s growth? The size of a pond will not stop a Koi from growing. The size of the pond, along with other factors like health, feeding, water temperature and water quality affect the speed of their growth.

https://www.koiacres.com/koi/faq.html

The Heron killed at least two  of the large gold-fish before I  could act.

I quickly  purchased a Heron net to  put over the  pond, in the 4 decades we have had the pond  we never had a problem , it was intentionally built deep with  steep sides to  keep away  the critters. This latest pond you  dug for me , moaning all the time as I remember.

I have watched, as this beautiful angel of death  circles , lands  silently , he and I  watching the other , the net raised higher , road blocks of obstacles put in   so  he can’t find a place to  “fish”. He has gotten through  the net , knocked down the supports , there is no  giving up  with  this bird.

He adjusts  his flight path  and landings, picks his moment .

He waits in the early  mornings on the roof of the surrounding garages and homes, leaving his calling card , looking for a way  through  the netting and me.

He was here at 5:30 am this morning, this bringer of death, haughty  and proud but like death  I  too  can wait , a Mothers’ Day  Koi  has become more than just another fish………

I would like to  think your “Ghost Koi” will continue and I  can at least do  something to  save it from this particular ‘Angel  of Death”- our love of you  never fades or dies…….

 

July 2, 2018 at 9:51 pm 2 comments

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….

 

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

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