Posts filed under ‘men of substance’

Oct. 3rd No Limits Chapter 9 – 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/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Double Cell Transplant:

We went to  see  Dr. Brad Pohlman  who  had been involved through  South Pointe with Chris’ initial treatment.

:Brad Pohlman, MD, is Vice Chair of Operations at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. DrPohlman is a member of the American Society of Hematology, American Society of Clinical Oncology, and American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sngT_dShxsw

 

So  much  for the 95% cure rate  re Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Chris was  now diagnosed with   Refractory  Hodgkin’s Lymphoma , the cancer came back very  quickly https://www.webmd.com/cancer/lymphoma/qa/what-is-refractory-or-recurrent-hodgkins-lymphoma

The day, Chris and Angela and I  went to   we went to the Cleveland Clinic and saw the Lymphoma specialist Dr. Brad Pohlman, once again we rode the rails of hope. My son wanted to  do  whatever it took to

get this “crap” out of me, cut it, burn it, kill it, I want to  reach  the age of 50″.

I looked at his face as he said those words and my heart ached for him.

It was suggested that Chris undergo  a Double Stem Cell transplant ,  good results had been seen in a study  out of California . A tandem (double autologous) transplant is a process in which you have two stem cell transplants with your own cells — done about three to six months apart — to increase chances of success.

Basically  this involved removing stem cells  from Chris  through  his blood. The need a certain amount and they  did manage to  get all they  needed in one  removal

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stem-cell-transplant/what-happens/

The most common way to harvest stem cells involves temporarily removing blood from the body, separating out the stem cells, and then returning the blood to the body.

To boost the number of stem cells in the blood, medication that stimulates their production will be given for about 4 days beforehand. On the fifth day, a blood test will be carried out to check there are enough circulating stem cells.

If there are enough cells, veins in each arm will be connected by tubes to a cell-separator machine. Blood is removed from one arm and passed through a filter, before being returned to the body through the other arm.

This procedure isn’t painful and is done while you’re awake. It takes around 3 hours and may need to be repeated the next day if not enough cells are removed the first time.”

He then, after harvesting, went through more Chemo therapy  and  in one year from his first chemo  was back in the Cleveland Clinic isolation  etc. to be chemically  killed . There is no  other word for it. We prepared as best we could because of the high risk of infection he was initially  behind a glass window. The side effects of the first transplant  were given to  us :

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores or ulcers
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Infertility or sterility
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Cataracts
  • Organ complications, such as heart, liver or lung failure

As he went through the  first of the stem cell transplants I would go to the hospital every day, he hated the food, refused to eat it. Apparently  the smell of the plastic covers covering the food  and the steam coming off of them  nauseated him. I would cook him lunch and supper, trying to devise a menu which would appeal to the lack of appetite, high calorie content that slipped down easily, dishes he liked from childhood. Then I  would take the dishes to  him. The nutritionist had to  OK what I  cooked, but they  were more nutritious than what they  were trying to  give him so  I was allowed.

Finally  the glass screen came down, he was supposed to  be the hospital that first time around for at least 4 weeks. He experienced most of the side effects.  I still suffer from that place and  that transplant. The nurse warned me they  would be putting his own irradiated and treated cells back into  his body  and the preservative  used would smell like creamed corn and it did. The smell permeated the very  air  for hours. I can no longer smell  creamed corn cooking  or dished out  without being violently  ill both  in mind and body.

I would arrived at 11:30 am, most of the time he would be in the chair by the time I arrived, hooked up to poisons and fluids. I would get clean sheets from the nurse every day and make up his bed.  This was my only way of trying to make him comfortable, with clean sheets and freshly made bed. I would stay whilst he slept, or watched TV. Most of the time I read. I can’t remember one book or title of any book during that time.

I would stay with him in that “cell” because that is what it became for both of us a cancerous prison but with hope the door would be unlocked to a future.  I would heat his supper in the hospital’s “family room” microwave – clean up and come home at 7 to get dishes etc. for the next day and start all over again.

My daughter was at the end of her pregnancy, when Chris was admitted for the first stem cell procedure.  She wasn’t due until at least two  weeks after Chris was due to  be released from the first stem cell transplant ( Autologous) , but once again, somehow I  KNEW  (yet another premonition) , I was going to  be torn would   between hospitals –  I would be travelling between hospitals and the needs of my  two  children.   I was right, Chris was at the end of the first procedure when Nikki went into labor two  weeks early .

I had just crawled, exhausted,  into  bed when my  son in law called to  say  Nikki’s water had broken and to  meet them at the hospital as Nikki  wanted me  with  her when she gave birth.  Even though Chris had been in one hospital being chemically killed he was on the phone to Nikki the whole time talking her through the pain of birth, making her laugh, easing her mind. They were miles apart and yet Chris was there for her as I knew he would be. Chris talked to  her through  the hours of labor, making her laugh, getting her through. They  were always there for each  other

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

Chris said:

hey  at least you  will get out of there in a couple of days  even when I  get out I  will have to  come back….. hang in there … you  can do  this….

 

 

He said to  Nikki  after he heard  it was a baby  boy. let me tell Nana and Dad and he did .  I didn’t see him for 4 days after the birth  as I  was with  Nikki, but his counts came back quickly , quicker than expected and he was released/

Chris came home on April 3rd and met his nephew for the first time, he was amazed at how tiny  Gavin was. Nikki’s house was the first place he came straight from the hospital . Nikki, with  Gavin in her arms   and Chris and held onto  each  other that afternoon ….

To be continued

October 3, 2020 at 12:00 pm 1 comment

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 2 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 8 comments

Nov 3rd – Museum of the Heart- Chris Ritchey

This is an old house, and I  am getting old.

I am comfortable in this house because it reminds me of the homes of my  family, the people  I loved with  whom I  shared my  early  years  growing up in England.

The fringes on lampshades , large cabbage roses in a vase on the table and on the walls and bedspreads.

Then there was always chintz in the old cottages and especially  in my  grandmothers’ abodes, the wealthy  one especially, along with  velvet winter drapes , changed to  chintz in the spring  I always thought of her living room with  silks and overstuffed furniture, brass reflecting the firelight as a bit of an Aladdin’s cave. Yes! due to  drafts and no  central heating drapes and curtain were changed out from spring and autumn. I  used to  do  that in my  younger days, slipcovers going over the couch  etc. when summer arrived.

When my  mother had to  leave her home in England , she brought with  her  the things she loved. When she finally  had to  move in with us

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

We had to  clear away  a lot of things  – six rooms  did not go  into  the two  rooms we were able to  give her.

 

Still some of the items she could not bear to  give or throw away. Those items that didn’t fit into  her new living space had to  be introduced to  the rest of my  house.

One of the reasons I  have two  antique cocktail cabinets, one a wedding present from my  parents and one my  father made.

A couple of years ago I featured in a magazine, Pulse.

The writer/photographer came to  interview and as she went through  the house she exclaimed

OH this is like a museum!!!

To tell the truth  I  was a little taken aback.

No!.this was my  home, yes some of the things are antiques  having come down through  family, probably  not worth  a lot but you  would find them in most “cottagey type homes” in England.

 

 

 

 

 

( Horse Brasses, warming pans , brass or copper kettles and fire fenders ( very  useful)

Some things are old not antiques just remembrances of holidays, gifts through  the years. Then there are the things my  children made or purchased for my  birthdays , Mother’s Day  etc. and finally  your artwork Chris. You  work hangs along side , pride of place on the walls  with  the portrait of the old lady  –  circa 1785,

and paintings and water colours from your great – great grandfather  and great great uncle.

Fairyland painting by Jack Stokes

Oil by  Jack Henry Stringer

 

Nana’s needlework pictures . These are things I love and live with  and yes! use everyday and try  to dust at least once a week……….. .

Today , as I  was thinking about this old house and a “museum piece” I realized that although  a few years ago I  had decided to  de- clutter- out with the old…..life got in the way  and your dying – leaving me just your work ,

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

 

and then my  mum having to  spend her last years here and all the things she loved coming with  her,. Artwork and items made by  my  father came with  her. The little gifts from Braedyn and Gavin, Nikki I  realized in some way  it is a museum – this old housea museum of my  heart.

I love you  more each  day  that passes and I am as proud of you  as I  ever was…. you  are still in my  heart and home…………

Reaching out- art work- Christopher Ritchey

November 3, 2019 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

October 3rd- out of reach- Chris Ritchey

 

The brieftake a photo  of self  taking a photo  of self……….. and I found that classwork after you passed. I remember, I cried thinking  how at that moment in time  you  were captured on the other side of the window just out of my  reach. I feel that still that you  are just there , a shadow,  just out of my  reach ………..

I felt so  strongly  about the photo I  had it made into  blank cards. I used them to  thank  people for all they  had done after you died and I sent one , pouring out my  heart to  the Vatican . I  was so  confused as to  why  these “strong  faith based Catholics” (Lombardis) and their priest – Father Divas decided to  take from your family  any  semblance of  closure and peace…… I  wanted  clarification on how this was part of a faith  based on love and kindness not retribution and selfishness!

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/when-death-becomes-divorce-chris-ritchey/

Well I  did receive a letter back which  was published on my  blog. Telling me to  forgive , well not likely  to  happen then or now , not “Catholic”  just “Celtic ”

BUT I remember thinking that somewhere in the archives and files of the Vatican is a letter of heartbreak  with  your artwork  – Just out of Reach– amongst all the millions of papers and prints and works of art.

I love you  my  son that has never gone away  and neither have the tears I cry and won’t  until you  are no  longer out of my  reach………..

October 2, 2019 at 10:10 pm 1 comment

April 3rd- FORGOTTEN- Chris Ritchey

In the days and weeks I  have been in this latest medical situation I  managed to  watch a movie – Hunters Lodge– not a wonderful movie but entertaining enough  to  take my  mind off of things. However, the opening lines  resonated with me:

“They  say  you  die three times – once when your body  fails you – again when you  are buried ( funeral) and again when you  are forgotten”

Those were the lines that  set me watching the rest of the movie… I agree with them.   I believe   you  have died twice and in some cases  three times. There are those that  forgot and dismissed you  from memory  in the very beginning of our loss but there are those who  truly  love you  from whose memory  and life you  will not be forgotten.

 

 

Gavin, just a few months old when you  passed  and Braedyn  born 3 years later KNOW you,  talk of you  and “remember” not in the usual way of remembering a life  but who  you  are now! You  are still very  much  a part of their lives.

Very  few of my  family  left remember my  Grandmother  “Nanny  Bunyan” and her sons, my  mum’s mother , Nanny  Hines – such  a different person from my  Dad’s mother  not the exotic sophisticated wealthy  red- haired fashion conscious , jewel wearing and Channel  No  5   for her. Nanny  Hines  a nurse/ midwife  mother to  6 – 3 boys and 3 girls and all that entailed, no,  she was warm and loving and gentle .

 

Soon, those of us that still remember each  of them as they  were when they  were alive and part of our living memory  will also  have passed  and apart from the little bits of information  left in  my  mothers” ” MY BOOK” ( hopefully  passed down to  the younger family  members) we too will die our third death.

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

I  have tried to  hold (in the present )  the “man that time forgets” – you- by  keeping your life, your art, your thoughts and our love for you  alive on this blog- archived (hopefully  for  all time)   – and  with  my  own book, when it is completed

and our own  contributions to  the great – what happens after you  die  theories ……

 

Love doesn’t forget……. and neither do  we

April 3, 2019 at 10:31 am 4 comments

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

Dec 3rd- The waiting – Chris Ritchey

The dark days are here – night-time draws ever closer- I am as a child  frightened of the coming bleak hours/ days –  cuddled down in the bed that is life -looking for warmth- a place to  escape  the dreading –  a window has a glimmer of a lighter shade of night illuminating the place where I  lay.

Still my  eyes are drawn to  the corners , where darkness has gathered  and I know that as the dying days draw ever nearer I will have to  face that darkness that has accumulated  and grown over the days , months and years .  As hard as I try to  keep back the darkness of those days of death  , they are ever-present waiting  to  be released by  the memories of your dying   and those terrible days.

The hope – massacred  by  cancer  causing the onslaught of a pain so deep , a scream that never ends  just becomes silent – to  all but a few.  Every  year I dread these days , the holidays  that hold so  much  more to  me now than pumpkin pies, turkey, lighted trees , singing – they  are tinged with  a blight  that dulls happiness to  that of a  shadow  of holidays past.

 

You  are with  us , I  know.. more so than any other … and for that I  am grateful.. but I  long to  see your face.. hear your  voice…… and laugh at your irreverence instead  I have to  pull over my  face  the  covers of protection-   muffle my  sobs into  the bosom of my  family   and wait…………….

I love and miss you  more with  each  passing day

 

December 3, 2017 at 12:15 am 3 comments

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

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