Posts filed under ‘MISTY’

September 3rd- Chapter 32- NO LIMITS-Chris Ritchey






Chapter One :

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

Chapter Four:

Chapter Five:

Chapter Six:

Chapter Seven:

Chapter Eight:

Chapter Nine:

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Nineteen:

Chapter Twenty:

Chapter Twenty One:

Chapter Twenty Two :

Chapter Twenty Three:

Chapter Twenty Four:

Chapter Twenty  Five:

Chapter Twenty Six

Chapter Twenty Seven

Chapter Twenty Eight:

Chapter Twenty Nine:

Chapter Thirty:

Chapter Thirty-One:

The days of death

David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, bestselling author, and Guggenheim Fellow. Dr. Eagleman’s areas of research include sensory substitution, time perception, vision, and synesthesia. He also studies the intersection of neuroscience with the legal system, and in that capacity he directs the non-profit Center for Science and Law. Eagleman is the writer and presenter of The Brain, an Emmy-nominated television series on PBS and BBC. He is the author of 8 books, including Livewired, The Runaway Species, The Brain, Incognito, and Wednesday is Indigo Blue. He is also the author of a widely adopted textbook on cognitive neuroscience, Brain and Behavior. His internationally bestselling book of literary fiction, SUM, has been translated into 32 languages

David Eagleman in his book Sum states:

We actually die three times. We die the first time when our breath leaves our body. We die the second time when our loved ones return our body to the ground. And the third death, and final death, is a moment, sometime in the future, when our name is spoken for the last time.

As my  son  spent days dying  so  did I , every  hour was sheer torture and the days following his final breath saw me dying inside, losing  me,  losing a grip  on reality,  not knowing where I  was, what had happened.

All of a sudden I  was back in my  home,  the hospital left behind, the home where Chris had grown up, reminders of him everywhere .

Misty  , Chris’ dog. excited to  see us after all these days  away  ran to  greet us, ignorant at her  master’s death, her happiness was almost crushing.  I think someone must have let her out .  And then we were alone , a mother and a father  without their son.

I was so  cold,  shivering , I couldn’t stop  shaking . My  husband  wandered the rooms , sitting , getting up sitting again, Lost!!!  Finally  he noticed I  was shivering and shaking , he said

I will light a fire 

and he went out the den door to  get some firewood. Eventually,  he came back  with  a rose , the last rose from the garden  and put it in my  hands, it too was cold.  As he opened the fireplace doors to  put in the kindling  he let out the most awful sound, a wail , guttural cry  and choking  all combined, and fell to  his knees . I couldn’t move to  help  him and  Misty  hearing this awful cry  came to  him and lay  down nuzzling his body  trying to  get under him to  get him up.

I truly  thought he is choking on grief and there is nothing I  can do  , I  can’t move. 

I don’t know how long we stayed in that dark place , finally  exhaustion overcame us I  suppose. I really  don’t remember but I too  wandered about the house finally ending up in Chris’ old room, now decorated to hold guests and spied the little Harrods Bear he gave me when he returned from a soccer tournament in England. He had sat on his little perch for  years dusted but ignored for the most part. I had thought of eventually giving him ( with his little England shirt) to my new grandson.

I picked up the little 10 inch soft cuddly bear and pressed him like a compress to my heart, trying  to stop the pain that threatened to burst forth from me at any moment . I couldn’t put him down

. Somehow I  was aware that in the morning  we were expected to  go  to  the funeral home to  discuss  arrangements.

Nikki  had managed, much to Sue Lombardi’s annoyance,  to  have Chris’ body  taken to  the funeral home behind our house . The same funeral home where as a child he rode his bike in their parking lot, whose family  he had known all his life, whose daughter  baby sat him,  wonderful caring people. He was just  300 feet away  and yet not home , never coming home  and I  couldn’t reach  him.

I couldn’t go  to  that funeral home meeting , I couldn’t even stand up for any length  of time  let alone  walk. I never wanted to  see the Lombardis ever again . I  also  knew that whatever I  said they  would be  wanting to  do  the opposite , my  husband was in no  shape to  deal  with  them, they  who  seemingly  wanted this all “Done and Dusted”- over and done with  a quick as possible .

In the end we stayed with  the baby, Nikki, Jim and my  mum and brother-in law walked over to  the Funeral Home.  I was right in my  thinking Sue Lombardi  wanted a “big show….

I was petrified that  they  would ignore our beliefs  and put Chris in one of the silk lined, Cadillac  of caskets with  chrome handles  to  be buried , to  rot away  for decades,    after being drained of his blood,( more damned needles), things stuck into  orifices’ to  stop  leaks,  making him look presentable for a receiving line of grief and some curiosity, coffee and cakes in the anteroom. I couldn’t bear the thought of my  beautiful son turning into anaerobic sludge

An airtight coffin, for example, may foster decomposition by anaerobic bacteria, which results in a putrefied liquification of the body; all putrefied tissue would remain inside the container, only to be exposed in the event of an exhumation

It is the American way  I  know and that is fine if that is your culture  and of your beliefs

but it is and was NOT  our way and Chris was of our culture and beliefs not  the Lombardis and he hated  the rituals at the cemetery  they  did for the nephew and cousin. His name was Ritchey  not Lombardi. 

I begged my  son-in-law to  speak for Chris . You  see I  knew he and Chris had discussed things when they  drove back  to  Houston. He wanted to  be cremated  as it is our way  and his…..

My  understanding was that the Lombardis had  the floor and  Sue Lombardi  was against cremation ..

But  if there is no  casket what are we going to  decorate 


And there you  have it my  wonderful son the star of her funeral celebration…………

The wedding casket……… for that all important money was all I  could think of…… as I was told those words …..

September 3, 2022 at 11:44 am 2 comments

August 3rd- NO LIMITS- Chapter 19- Chris Ritchey


Chapter One :

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

Chapter Four:

Chapter Five:

Chapter Six:

Chapter Seven:

Chapter Eight:

Chapter Nine:

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Back to  Houston:

The family  all gathered back  at Nikki’s on October 3rd. Jim and Chris were leaving early in the morning on the 4th. Misty, Chris’s dog who  now lived with  us, due to  the situation we all found ourselves dealing with , came along to  Nikki’s to  see her master. She was a loopy  dog  and reminded me of Dino  of the Flintstones . However,  with  Chris she was all business, a totally  different animal , obeyed him and loved him. To  see her reaction when she saw Chris that day brought tears- I dare not shed -to  my  eyes . Chris and his dad and Misty  , who wouldn’t leave his side,  walked into  the woods behind Nikki’s. I didn’t follow,  my  husband hadn’t had many  alone times with  Chris in the preceding months , I  instinctively  felt  I should not follow.

We were loathe to  leave that day. Somehow my  gut told me this was the last time we would all be together . Photos were taken, laughter  was tried. Gavin, his nephew, was now  nearly  8 months old , Chris had missed those early   months and I so hoped he would be there as Gavin grew. He wanted to  be a great uncle to  Gavin  take him four wheeling and after  riding the horses in Texas decided he would buy  some land and get Gavin a horse, or at least a pony. I  wanted that to  happen with  everything that was in me.  Chris , bought Gavin a Texas  belt buckle, it was almost as big as him.

Jim and Chris  were on the road from Cleveland to  Houston  stopping every  so  often to  take in those sights that Chris wanted to  see. They  also  arranged to  go  wild boar hunting on the way  and stop off at a couple of shooting ranges.


Although  they  tried to  have a normal “man-cation” Jim told me when they  arrived back in Houston how worried he was.  Chris, was in a lot of pain and was popping pills the whole journey. Jim wasn’t sure what they  were but that I  should try  and see if I could take a look at the medication bottles.

I had arrived back in  Houston on the Saturday  morning. I had just arrived when the phone rang and it was JD’s secretary. JD had once again  been there for this family. His secretary  made arrangements with  me to  pick me up, go  to lunch  and pick up  staples I  would need until Jim and Chris arrived back on the Monday.  Bless her heart , we went to  an English  pub-like restaurant. The Black Labrador Pub.

The food was delicious and I was at my  ease . We then went to  a British  shop also  in Houston where I  carted off “English sausages, tea bags, favorite  biscuits, ( cookies) and snacks  a quick stop  to  a convenient store for bread and milk etc. I  was set for the next couple of days until Jim and Chris arrived. Thinking about it I am not sure what I  would have done for temporary  supplies over that weekend…. called for Pizza  I suppose.

I had just put the groceries away  when Jim called they  would be arriving at the apartment in a couple of hours. They  decided to  cut the “man-cation”  short.  After they  arrived and Chris was showering , Jim told me Chris was not doing well the drive had really  taken it out of him, the pills, and he could see Chris , although  he didn’t say  anything, was in pain.   They  had a supper of omelets and English sausages that evening , I know Jim “suffered” the sausages, as they  are somewhat bland  compared to  American sausages.  Chris, I  don’t think cared what he was eating. He just wanted to  sleep  so Jim and I went to  do  a grocery  shop. Chris looked awful , dark circles under his eyes, the trip  and driving certainly  had taken its toll on his  health and any  energy he had.

Later that night I  was able to  look in Chris’s shaving bag for his medication . There it was a number of bottles of Oxycodone 30 mg. I know he didn’t get it in Houston as the Doctors treating him wouldn’t prescribe it , especially  when he was filling out the forms weekly  stating his pain was at level 3.

I couldn’t ask him why  he had them without letting him know I had spied on him.  I looked at the label and recognized the name of the Dr. at South Pointe  Hospital where Angela was doing her residency.  I  was in a bad position  and didn’t know what to  do. I would just keep  a closer eye on him and hope to  hell these “medical marvels knew what they  were doing”

This medication is used to help relieve moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.

Since they  were two  days adrift Jim changed his flight back to  be with  Nikki  and the baby. It was agreed I  would keep a close eye on Chris , as much  as I  could.

Once again, we were on the treadmill of  tests, infusions  check ups . His heart rate had been high a steady  114   and he had had a procedure done but they  thought his heart was alright considering what it had been through in the previous months.  I was scared they  would show the drug  ( oxycodone) was in his system when they  did the tests. No  one said anything but he was  taking quite a few in a 24 hour period. He would keep tablets in his pocket and surreptitiously take a couple. As the days went on I notice the hand going into  that pocket more and more. I knew categorically  by  taking those drugs it was tantamount to  being taken off the trial. The trial that was his last chance of a “cure” . I had to  keep quiet and watch……

To  be continued …


August 3, 2021 at 12:40 am 3 comments

NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13

ED NOTE: These next chapters are among the most difficult to  write.  I  have to  “emotionally” pace myself so  I  can get through  the memories both mentally  and physically.  . Those who have lost a son or daughter  know that for the rest of your life you  are locked into  the “time of loss”. The days, week, months and years  go  by  but you  are held  within the  grasp  of those last moments and times of your child’s leaving.   You  see,   the part of you  that was theirs dies too, you  are not the same person you  were and you  never will be again.  Your body  adjusts, the brain tells you don’t go there, you  learn to  dodge the known triggers , the brain tries to  protect, to  stop  the gutting grief from destroying what is left of you . Your mind goes into  “protect mode” however, when revisiting  those times intentionally  in order to  tell the story  you  are a raw  and and the wounds open  as the days of death once again are relived..   

No  Limits – The Book


Chapter One :

Chapter Two:

Chapter Three:

Chapter Four:

Chapter Five:

Chapter Six:

Chapter Seven:

Chapter Eight:

Chapter Nine:

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (

Houston Days and Nights

I  watched as Chris and Angela went through  “security” at the Cleveland Airport. I hoped he would be able to  get on the plane. H1NI ( swine flu) had reared its head and the airlines were on the lookout for anyone displaying symptoms . Since the Hodgkin’s tumors were making their presence known once more in his body  he developed a cough  as the lungs tried to  expel the foreign body.

“Try  not to  cough  Chris , that would be all we needed to  be banned from the flight”

It had been a whirlwind of action since the phone call that morning  and now I stood in the lobby  of the airport drained, hopeful once again and yet wondering WHY?

Why  was life being so  cruel?

I had booked  Angela and Chris into  the Marriot Hotel near  MD Anderson Cancer Center  for  three nights. I wasn’t sure how long the tests and interviews would take . I got a phone call from Chris that night to  say  they  had arrived and were having room service  ( was that OK? ) I told him:

I didn’t care they  had my  credit card information whatever makes life easier for you  darling

We aren’t wealthy  but I would have sold my soul for him and I would worry  about the debts later.

The next day  I did not leave the phone, finally  Angela rang to  say  that although  MD Anderson had also  closed the trials for SGN 35  they  were going to make a place for Chris on that trial as he fit the profile  and he was going through  a barrage of tests.

Cancer Clinical Trials | MD Anderson Cancer Center

Relief flooded back filling the void of fear once again. Then more good news, trials aren’t typically  paid for by Health  Insurance , again I would have sold my  house if need be, but Angela  being an employee of the Cleveland Clinic  insurance did cover the trial even though  Chris was not at their facility  because he had been denied a place in the Cleveland Clinic Trial.  I truly  felt things  may be falling our way.

After the tests they  concurred Chris was right for the trial. By  now we were at the start of the Labor Day  weekend . Chris was set for more tests the following week  and all being well the first infusion of SGN 35 on September 11th. I  had contacted the family  services people at MD Anderson  to  see about long term lodging. The hotel would be  far to  expensive  over $230 per night  at that time.  I needed to  get them somewhere comfortable and close.

The offices  emailed me a list of about 50 hotels and apartments all of varying quality  and prices.  I had no  clue about where anything was in relationship  to  the Cancer Center , nor did I  know anything at all about Houston.  I gave a short list to  Angela to  see if she could find out any  more information.

Chris called that evening , the tests went well and acquaintances of both  the Lombardi’s and actually   of mine had interceded by  phoning  friends  with  whom they  had been college roommates  who  lived in Houston.  JD and Karen , these people were wonderful they  took Chris and Angela under their protective wing  and invited them to  their ranch  for the long weekend.  I was thrilled , some normalcy  for once. Chris was so  happy  I could have cried.

I found out that  MD Anderson was huge bringing in patients from all over the world  and the places available for short stay/ long stay  accommodation  were few and far between. I reserved a couple and asked Angela to check up on them for suitability . I lost two   because “they  were going to  look after the weekend”

I couldn’t seem to make Angela  understand  this was probably  NOT going to  be an option. I received a call from the one Houston Apartment  Corporate Housing. I had reserved a one bedroom apartment but they  had someone else wanting it so  I  took it sight unseen. It was the Esplanade.

Angela  was not very  happy  I  had done that but I  said

“you  have to  have somewhere to stay and Chris needs to be where he can rest. I  have taken care of all the finances, all you  have to  do  is bring your cases  and get some food shopping  “

It had been decided  that Angela would stay  until the night before his first infusion on the 11th   but she  would return to  Cleveland on the 10th.  I didn’t know what to  say , I realized Angela would need to  come back  to  sort out work and necessary  details but I  thought she would take time off to  be be with  Chris. After all this was a “trial” he was weaker than ever with  the cancer coursing through  his body, surely  she didn’t intend for him to  stay  there by  himself.

Angela said:“He will be fine…. there is a kitchen and he can order in pizza and JD and Karen had lent him a truck……he has to  take ownership  of his illness”

I was incredulous, like it or not my  son was facing death  and an unknown treatment. Nikki  said upon hearing this :

“mum you  have to  go  and be with  Chris, he can’t handle doing this on his own” ” Who  will see to  it that he eats, that he is OK  , you  know how hard it was on him with  the chemo….call an ambulance….”

I could see Nikki  was also so worried so I left for Houston on September 12th, as Chris  refused to  let me fly  on September 11th.  I told him I would find my  own way  from the airport as he needed to  rest after the infusion of the day  before.

The night before I  left Sue Lombardi  and Tim arrived at my  front door with  a suitcase of clothes and essentials  that Chris had asked  Angela to  get to  me as he went to  Houston with just a small bag .

Chris’s dog, Misty, was a loopy  friendly   bundle of happy, she loved everyone, we always joked if an intruder came to  the house  she would lick them to  death

So  I was shocked when Sue walked into  the living room and Misty went mental, growling, teeth  barred and barking  definitely  in a protective mode. Neither  my  husband  or I  had ever seen her demonstrate such  behavior , she would not stop  and it was very  embarrassing. Finally  realizing this was not stopping, my  husband put her outside where she continued to  bark as if the devils from hell were threatening us.

Looking back it may  be because underneath  all the smiles and nicety, nicety syrupy talk Sue was giving off vibes the dog could understand and saw her as a threat . I don’t know but Misty never behaved that way  before or since  or maybe she knew the true character of the woman who  would cause us so  much  pain

To  be continued……

February 3, 2021 at 1:12 pm 3 comments

The Shadow Knew – the canine life savers

The rescuers
We haven’t had many dogs in this old house, truth be told I am somewhat afraid of dogs, always have been. SHEENA came to us as a pup. Some cretin threw soap into the original fish pond killing all the fish . It was then I decided- time for a dog. Excitedly my two children accompanied me to the Rescue Shelter. Among the animals was a fairly large litter of mixed Shepherd and Labrador breed, they were tumbling and rough housing all over each other, nipping and yelping with joy and play.

Each of my children had their favorite. I noticed in the “getting to know” area a little two-year old being introduced to one of the pups. The little girl was pulling the pup’s ears, tail , screaming with delight and this pup just let her and was so calm .

“That is the pup ” I want

thought I . I so hoped this family didn’t take this pup and they didn’t but we did and for 13 years she was the best dog anyone could’ve wanted .

Sheena’s intelligence amazed me and there was a knowing look in her eyes you could see her very soul in those eyes . She remained patient with her family even when my mum’s little Tetley would visit. Although she had her ways of showing displeasure sheena

MISTY was the designer dog ( Silver Lab), she was ten months old when she joined the family.

Misty  lake
My daughter was trying to find a home for her as her family had to relocate without her. Stopping off here to visit on her way to show her to a prospective family ( I always wondered if this was by design as well) my son fell in love.
Trying poor Sheena’s patience once again Misty entered our lives.

Oh what a dog! She was more like Dino on the Flintstones except when it came to my son, a word or look from him and she became the world’s best trained animal. It was heartbreaking when Sheena succumbed to age and illness and poor Misty wandered the house looking for her friend. Life took a terrible turn and my son also succumbed to Cancer and left us, leaving Misty Morn to a house of grief.
chris dad misty

It was Misty that pulled and demanded my husband leave his chair to look after her, it was Misty who insisted on walks, who didn’t leave him. Misty who spent hours sitting with him in the garden at all hours of the day , a nuzzle for comfort, her soft silky fur comforting to his hand, Misty who slept at his feet.
During this horrendous time of grief TETLEY
came to live here, in a house where laughter is now seldom heard, my mum having to give up her home and independence through no fault of hers –

Misty was not as patient as Sheena when it came to Tetley but they managed .

It was Misty who stopped the choking of grief in the night. But her heart too was broken and although she was only 5 it bled out. Oh! there is a technical term but she was Chris’ dog and her true master was no longer there to throw the balls, take her swimming or for runs. I think she stayed long enough to see us through, but once again we felt we had failed our son. We had gone to the Emergency Vet with Misty knowing something was not right And the consensus was she had to leave.
For two days I watched as grief and undeserved guilt once more took its terrible toll. My daughter said:

“We have to get Dad a dog to get him through and give him something to hold onto “

And so an internet search, a call to “Luv my Shepherd Pups” and the breeder Denise Cieslik. There was one pup available – the runt-. Nikki , Gavin and I went to be introduced.

Love at first sight , well except for Tetley –

This pup of life and love needed a name- there was great debate, none suggested suited everyone. Her name changed periodically through the ensuring days. I watched as this little bundle of energy, who seemed to know right from the outset that she was here to rescue my husband from his profound grief and bring life back into this house; she shadowed his every move and hence SHADOW , the name seemed to fit.

She has her ways and personality , she will bring the shoe of the person she wants to take notice of her to them , meets family with someone’s shoe or another gift when she likes you. She gives the mailman a heart attack if I have forgotten to close the main door before he arrives and barks around the property every morning to let the neighbors know she is on guard, her tail held high like waving a furry flag. No-one better enter the alley without her OK and she talks to every dog in the neighborhood. She definitely does not know her place- she reigns supreme .


She is my husband’s dog, it is for him she pines when goes out, for him she waits and it was his life she saved.

It has been hot here in Ohio, terrible damning days of unrelenting sun. The property next door needed a lot of work and to that end the summer days were spent getting it in order.
One July night, I was exhausted from daily life and routine and went to bed early , my husband downstairs with Shadow. It was 2:30 in the morning when I was rudely awakened by Shadow pawing at me and licking my face , not something she usually does unless there are fireworks or thunder. I told her

go away- downstairs

. I am selfish when I am asleep as there aren’t many such nights since my son passed.

Soon she was back again this time more insistent, I listened for thunder, fireworks nothing-

Go away Shadow go find Ritch

– she did .
However, he next thing I knew was she was literally thumping me with my husband’s shoe insistent once more I get up with her.

Grumbling, thinking he had fallen asleep in the chair and she wanted out I got up and went downstairs. Well he had fallen- but not asleep – he was stretched out- collapsed on the floor . Whilst I took in the sight before me, Shadow immediately went to him lay beside him and wouldn’t move – she stayed there whilst the rescue squad was called , it took two of us to get her outside – she wouldn’t leave him and the paramedics were leery of such an animal. Shadow barked and barked, waking the whole neighborhood as they put him on the gurney for the ambulance she tried jumping over the fence to follow . My mother told me she cried and whined the whole morning, pacing and off her food.

Had Shadow not woken me my husband would’ve died it was that serious! He passed out from severe dehydration and ended up with a condition called Rhabdomyolysis

He was in hospital and rehab for two weeks. The condition causing a heart attack, pneumonia . Had Shadow not been so insistent in bringing me downstairs grief would once again visited this home.

In all their ways these dogs , including Tetley who brought comfort, companionship and love to my mum before he too passed this summer, give us their everything and unconditional love. Shadow though, is truly a rescue dog because she has rescued this family from so much and we owe her so much

September 13, 2016 at 4:13 pm 5 comments

August 3rd- the enviroment changed-Chris Ritchey

Another “third” of the month comes quickly, stalking the unwary soul , shivers to the core in its bleak reminders of what should have been, and passes to yet return again, all too soon………


When we first purchased this old house, a neighbor, informed me the previous owners had covered over a pond in the back garden. Maybe it is because I grew up with beautiful gardens in England, maybe it is because many hours were spent as a little girl making up stories in my head about fairies sitting on lilly pads and riding on backs of goldfish. Ponds have always given me pleasure .

The pond we uncovered actually appeared in a photo on the front page of the Morning Journal, years ago , advertising the Ohio Scottish Games. Both my children were involved in the Scottish Arts.

When we uncovered the pond I planted a small Willow tree , which grew to immense proportions, putting that particular pond in too much shade.

I loved the Willow tree- she was the first to green in the spring and the last to lose her leaves in the fall. AND she hid, behind her waving fronds, my husband’s idea of garden design :(Definitely a clash of cultures there – he considers a garden is “storage” sigh– the Willow tree marked the boundary between his ideas and mine.
Chris and my husband dug another pond in 2002( with much grumbling ) but I got my desired water fall going from the top pond to the bottom .

For years the pond thrived in the dappled sun light under the willow tree. Her shade, in the hottest days of Ohio summers, she kept the pond water healthy and protected it and her many goldfish safe from the overhead prying eyes of the blue and green heron that ply the sky. I couldn’t manage to get the water lilies to bloom though , it was too shady for them .

A rose, planted by the water fall, struggled to reach the sun every year but managed a plethora of blooms every May. Water Iris, their delicate yellow flowers, attracted the bees and dragonfly cruised the surface.

I have written about last Mother’s Day gift from my son

The Ghost Koi has become such a wonderful memory and such a burden.if anything happened to that Koi because of “us” …..I would feel I had let my son down once more. I wake with trepidation every day that I will find something wrong . Poor Misty , Chris’s dog, now joining him in death – I could not save her either. There is an illogical guilt that comes with the legacy of “motherhood” and loss of precious life. You always feel you didn’t do enough and that it should not be you waking to sunny mornings.

And what I have left of a life gift given to me from Chris glides like a the ghost he is named for through the reeds in the pond.

The Willow tree, after weathering many storms , was becoming a danger -branches breaking and possibly diseased. I didn’t want my grandchildren under it when they came over. So my lovely Willow had to come down .

I should have realized that such a drastic change in the environment of this garden would have a ripple effect. The pond, which had thrived hand in hand with the Willow now, was in full sunlight.

Oh! the roses loved it, the water iris blossomed, I even had a water-lily blossom but all was not well- the string algae also thrived ( as it did every spring) but the extra sunlight caused a reaction of sorts and my pond went from this in April

to water like this

Then my worst fears were realized. We started finding dead and dying fish , one and then three and then four. I held my breath, started researching the problems that may be causing the perfectly healthy fish to die!

Stress, The environment changed too rapidly they could not adapt quickly enough. The Willow tree, no longer there, shading the waters , collecting the rain in her branches shedding it way , protecting the pond from the dirty run off had caused too much stress to the fish. They were suffering and apparently when they suffer and get stressed they secrete a slime substance that causes their gills to clog and they die.
We lost 16 fish, we had to change the water in stages, added more oxygen , more filters and pumps and 200 dollars worth of medicine. Three weeks in and I can at least see the waters clearing . The water lettuce and water hyacinths are starting to cover the surface hopefully giving more shade and taking in the nutrients that allow the algae to grow. The ghost koi is still with us at the moment and the frogs are croaking but not figuratively.


You see, the lesson learned is that we are all connected, dependent upon one another; losing one important member of this garden of life can cause the rest of us in the pond to suffer such stress as to no longer be able to draw breath.

Grief over losing my son is like that and I struggle, like the koi, to survive in an enviroment that has changed beyond my control………. I am lost in a strange murky brown world- happiness poisoned by grief, the beauty of life has become tainted with the loss of you- my son…………. nikchrmis-1

August 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm 4 comments

The “Rescue” dog (s)- life -lines- love

In the 1995 Sheena came into our lives as a rescue puppy. We had had some issues with neighborhood children climbing over the back wall into our garden. The day they put soap in the pond and killed the fish was the day I went to the animal shelter for a dog. I am not a great dog fancier- truth be known they scare me – but enough was enough time to scare someone else!

Sheena, was among a litter of 8 – half labs half shepherd- pups. Nikki and Chris each picked one out and were saying

“please please please this is the one”

but my eye caught a solitary pup in the “meeting area”. She was being looked at by a mother and father and a little one- she sat there so patient ( especially for a puppy) whilst the little one hugged and pulled at her .

Oh she’s the one I want , please don’t you adopt her , she belongs with me.

Luckily they didn’t and we did! Sheena grew and became a member of this family. Sheena would spend her evenings with my husband as they “walked and talked ” in the garden . She slept at his feet . I saw such intelligence in Sheena eyes, she knew exactly what you were saying . She took great delight in “snow play” with Chris

Oh! when she was a pup she dragged every piece of firewood from the pile onto the grass- ate off all the heads of the gnomes in the garden and would wait by the front door for the Nikki and Chris to come home from school to show with great pride the decapitated gnomes.

Fast forward to 2007 when my daughter came in from Toledo – her neighbors were moving and couldn’t take their 10 month old Lab with them. Nikki was looking for a home for the dog. She stopped off here and this tail wagging apparition with green eyes and dusky pink nose ended up at the back door and winning my son’s heart in the process. Just what I needed! Misty also had penchant for Gardens Gnomes

Oh poor Sheena, in her dotage, she was having to put up with Misty- it was bad enough when Tetley, my mum’s Pekingese, would come for a couple of days

but this “daft dog ”
was not going away. As always Sheena accepted everyone and everything with a grace born of a champion.
However, within a few months at the age of 13 Sheena had to leave us. My husband was heartbroken, as were we all, but Misty , well Misty with her dino personality and demands to play and have her way kept us “awake” to her needs and rescued us from unhappiness .

When Chris, our son, died
and our grief was and is so crushing, it was Misty who became our rescue dog- she rescued us every day- she walked the path of grief every day with my husband , she oozed love and compassion, she “knew” when and what he needed- warmth, love ,affection, someone to listen, companionship and she gave it to him and to us unconditionally but it was to my husband she gave the greatest help. She truly was his rescuer from gutting grief that chokes. She instinctively knew what he needed. To lose Misty was just another blow to hearts already broken with loss.

Oh there is Tetley- Oh dear Tetley – my husband and Tetley have a mutual “toleration of each other”. But in his own way Tetley has become his own brand of rescue dog, his “excuse me but what about me” personality has kept my mum going after the trauma of having her home taken away in such a selfish manner-
Tetley has been there to cuddle and talk to – he saw her through too.

I watched as the loss of Misty added yet another burden on a heart already over burdened.

She is “Shadow”- not exactly a “rescue dog in the true sense of the word” but one who is rescuing – She has the demands of a puppy- I had forgotten razor-sharp teeth, the need to be taken outside to do her business – no matter the cold- the need to play, run and chew and yes she too has discovered the Gnomes in the back garden – they too are no longer safe 🙂

She demands and has bonded with my husband to such a degree she is his shadow, hence the name.

Teltey is far from amused –

his tail held high as well as his nose is ignoring the situation, as much as he is able – in the hopes the “intruder” will leave. However, Tetley is also missing Misty and waits by the door to the bedroom ( Misty’s domain) every morning hoping she will come out I am sure to search for squirrels and pussycats once more

The Rescue Dogs- they come in all shapes and sizes and breeds – they have rescued US and continue to do so !!!

November 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm 11 comments

Misty Morn- No more squirrels and pussycats……….Chris’ Dog

This should have been a post about the before and after of the Eric Barnes’ – Heroes Walk. Instead I once again am reduced to blinding tears. Misty , who some of you know used to be my guest blogger from time to time ,
who literally saved my husband from himself, grief of such depths from which only she could rouse him.

Misty Morn- Chris’ dog and companion who loved him I would think as much as we did and do- has joined her master.

She was fine yesterday morning , she did her rounds chased a couple of pussycats before her breakfast , sat out on the balcony in the sunshine surveying her territory. It was late afternoon when my husband said –

“something is wrong with Misty she had slowed way down

Could it be she had eaten something ? Had she been eating Tetley’s food again ? Maybe she need to have a walk to get the juices flowing. Even the word “walk” which used to send her in a frenzy of


tail wagging and jumping behaviour was only 40 percent of normal. They left for their walk and I went to a function with my grandsons.

When I returned home both Misty and my husband were not doing well-

Something is definitely wrong- Do you think she could have been poisoned?

Her symptoms were more of “bloat” but she didn’t seem to have a distended stomach- the decision was made we went to the Emergency Animal Clinic –

Misty’s large and loving heart was surrounded by blood- there was a tumour and somehow I gathered from the vet – to be perfectly honest I couldn’t really tell you what he was saying – his mouth was moving but I heard those words 60 per cent chance the tumour was cancerous and I was immediately transported to another waiting room in another time I couldn’t hear anything . The nurse came in it was now about 11 p.m. with my daughter, whose eyes too were red and crying.

What I did gather, as we waited, all three of us now awash with tears – this tumour had caused the bleeding around the heart – a bit like an aneurism. Pericardial Effusion

So once again a decision to say goodbye to a life – one that had given us so much in her short time here – who had mourned with us- kept us close and safe. Misty is no longer here this morning to chase her squirrels and terrorize the feral cats or hunt the forbidden frogs. She, like her master before her, will not feel the Christmas snow .

Oh Misty Morn …………………………

November 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm 15 comments

Life Lessons and Mother May I? One year on-

It has been one year since another I want”- ME! ME! ME! and bugger how it affects anyone else came slithering in on the slimy secrets of self.

You do not deliver a lifestyle change to a 92-year-old woman without preparing her, which would have been up to me. That was taken completely out of our hands- he is just fortunate she didn’t have a heart attack.

Mum has to move. The story is long and complicated ( aren’t they always) but the bottom line is another “Because they can cretin“ . And absolutely no thought to the consequences as to HOW news like this would affect a 92 years old, delivered out of the blue. Why ? – because the path these “narcissistic non- thinkers” choose has no other travellers but themselves.

This meant 27 years of memories and “precious things” she had saved and brought over with her from England when she retired – the giving up of one’s independence , watching the things people had given her through the years go into the trash – things she had lovingly saved and kept close to her in her lifetime journey of 92 years has to go .

There has been an adjustment in the family and this house 🙂 obviously! With my mum , what furniture we could save, and a dividing of space within this old house, because I learned long ago everyone needs a space that is just for them where they can retreat to their own thoughts, there is an adjustment of change by just living with other people, their ways and needs. I have to say, from my perspective, for the most part our lives have slotted in very well.

Along with furniture and memories came Tetley. Now Tetley is a very opinionated dog , he also doesn’t listen well but loudly proclaims to anyone daring to walk down the road his presence.( as the poor neighbors will attest) I believe Tetley sees himself as “bull mastiff” rather than a a fluffly blonde bundle of fur on 4 little legs.

His life has changed too- no more cut up and spoon fed cooked chicken breast for him, who nightly had to be coaxed to eat. Tetley now waits eagerly for his morning and evening meal of “regular dog food”! Gone are his finicky bathroom habits ( walk me twice a day before I will “go”)- Tetley has learned there is an area in the back yard for his “jobs” and now takes great pride in making his needs known.

Of course he will not go outside in the morning until Misty stirs for her morning to begin, Tetley waits patiently and then follows her out with glee, tail held high and a spring in his step. You see Tetley has to wait – Misty too needs her space and alone time so the “master” bedroom is off limits to Tetley!

Ah! Misty,( she of the I KNOW THERE IS A FROG IN THAT POND- HUNTER OF FISH ) her life has changed too, she now has this annoying little “friend” who has invaded her space and home. Misty, is truly the most patient of dogs( JUST ASK THE FROGS) and has taken it in stride, that is of course unless my husband pays too much attention to Tetley that is definitely a No! No ! then Misty makes full use of her size to muscle Tetley elsewhere.

And speaking of husbands, he now has two women in the house to contend with, although not in the kitchen; this woman is more than happy to give that space over to Mum as she is the much better cook! The apples on the tree no longer go to waste, there are pies, apple crisp, jars of apple sauce, apple chutney and now baked apples.

The kitchen sink never has dishes in it anymore and the dishwasher is emptied every morning (how about that????),steps are swept, brass shines and things are put away. Sometimes it isn’t safe to put down your glass of lemonade and leave the room as you will come back to find it gone and the glass in the dishwasher, but considering mum is also the maker of the homemade lemonade, I can’t complain!

I hesitate to ask Mum too much about how she has felt having to move here , especially since Chris died, there is more to deal with emotionally in this house as the Gorilla of Grief
also hangs out here . I am afraid she might tell me! I was worried initially because over this whole situation she lost 24 lbs , aged and was confused as to the situation, her loss of independence and the trauma of packing up her home once again has taken a toll on her physically and definitely emotionally. My mother is a kind and gently giving person and could not understand what happened .

Me, I enjoy her company , I enjoy having my mum and I realized at the beginning of this latest “change” I would have to remember I am once again the daughter and mother knows best 😉

Last week, on my birthday, I sat on the beach at Catawba with my daughter, my mother(Nana) and two little boys. I watched Gavin seriously busy explaining what he wanted Nana to do ( the 90 years that separate them not an issue) she held Braedyn and the sound of Nikki’s laughter at the “yum yum pigs bum you can’t have none “ dialogue ( sorry pre school teacher my grandson’s exposure to poetry ( cough) it is all the fault of a 93 year old! brought me to realize how lucky we are to have her still in our little family – that has very few left ( one who was wrenched from us and others who chose “self” above all no longer worthy of apple pie, special poetry and undying love. and I hope we have my mum (Nana) for a long time yet!

Welcome Home Mum!

August 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm 2 comments

Guess who came to dinner and stayed – Guest Blogger Misty

Photo Mark Teleha

Ok! my turn to take over the blog! SWMBO ( She who must be obeyed) is in a rare snit this morning ( not that that isn’t unusual) I am hearing her going on about preferring dogs to most people– this is unusual because she really isn’t what I consider a “dog lover” -so those people persons must have done something really annoying.

I don’t know what she has to complain about I have ended up with this house guest who doesn’t seem to be going home . Infact the way he behaves he thinks this is his home. Now he, a rather yippy Pekingese named Tetley, belongs to the one they call Nana.

They have both been here to stay before -for a couple of days at a time- and I would be relieved when they left. But they have been here since the hot days of summer. There was a lot of commotion those first days they arrived. But now things have settled and it looks like the “Tetley” has decided he likes it, I have a feeling he is here for the duration. He has taken over the house!

Hurumph! he sleeps where he wants – EVEN is allowed on the couch and SWMBO’s lap – I am not allowed to do that – I tried the other day to jump on her lap and wa told ” You big lump get off you are too big” – well I may have put on a couple of pounds – I have to make sure I get my fair share of biscuits because Tetley is always in the doggy biscuit barrel. In fact he eats like there is no tomorrow, he is the one getting decidedly pudgy if you ask me – The Nana can hardly pick him up anymore .

One good thing is though that I get extra treats from the one they call Nana so it is OK if she stays, but her “Tetley” is spoiled if you ask me. He likes to bark at pussycats, squirrels and the mailman but has NO CLUE how to stalk his prey quietly – I have missed more squirrels since he has arrived, as for pussycats most of them are bigger than he is – he has a nerve getting in their faces- I have to protect him from them more often than not.

I even protected him from the black and white type and what thanks did I get for throwing myself between him and the danger- a face full of stink and yukky bath stuff and sentenced to the den for two days with the door open. And HE wouldn’t come near me and just laid on the couch with I swear a grin on his face. There is gratitude for you!

In fact he won’t even go out in the morning until I get up ( my one place of sanctuary- he isn’t allowed in the “HWTHSBO’s ( He who thinks he should be obeyed ) bedroom. But Tetley barks and barks at the door until I get up and he follows me out- can’t a girl get any peace and privacy.

The other day all hell broke loose here in our hood- Tetley got out of the fence after another dog- ( not that he could do anything if he tried)- SWMBO was in her pajamas trying to get through the gate and couldn’t – she wasn’t happy because she was saying some very nasty things about HWMBO’s “junk”- doesn’t she know all those buckets etc are needed and are his treasures. I thought I would help and decided I could squeeze through . I thought I might head Tetley off if I went the other direction- all I got for my efforts was MISTEEEEEEEEEEEEE- just you wait- get back here……..

The man from the next street cornered Tetley for SWMBO but she still couldn’t get out the gate (although I did) and Tetley was growling and spitting at the man ( just like a cat if you ask me) so he was scared to pick him up. SWHMBO was yelling to HWMBO to get up, come out and get the dogs. I don’t think he could hear her and as I was on the trail of some delicious smells in the front, I thought the Nana would get him. Apparently she didn’t because she didn’t have her hearing aid in.

SWMBO was getting very angry- paths and junk and gates and hell to pay. There was also something about retwisting her knee and being in pain. I guess she managed to get HWTHSBO because he got hold of Tetley, who was still growling and spitting at the man, then he came and found me down the road..hmm even he wasn’t too pleased with me- can’t understand it I am a “tracker” after all.

Well finally we all came into the house and SWMBO wouldn’t talk to any of us except the Nana. ( that wasn’t too bad actually) for the rest of the day but HWMBO did have to move some of his treasures and spent most of the of the day clearing the path.

Still I suppose it could be worse Tetley makes for good company when everyone is out and is so annoying that I look good by comparison. Oops – gotta go Tetley is going to have a bath and I better make myself scarce unless they decide I might need one too!

January 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm 5 comments


Misty photo Mark Teleha

I have tried for many months to keep this slice of the neighborhood free from varmints. I patrol, growl, snarl and bark at the cats – even the family of black and white funny cats. And what happens ???? I hear screams of

No Misty, No No No leave them alone – No – come here , come , NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

and then to add insult to injury I am not allowed in the house. There is such a commotion and even though it is time for me to go to bed I must have baths in this horrible stuff.

Why me ? Why am I the one being bathed when it is that cat that stinks.

I will never understand humans!

Now we have new neighbors, they are crooks, you can tell they even hide behind a mask and they have no respect for other people’s space.

She seems to be a single mother with two of her babies. I think I have seen the Dad once in a while he lives in the empty house next door . They too, sneak into my territory at night – I think they are after my friends in the pond – the ones that my master left in my care before he went away.

But they are so brazen they also come out and make sounds at me during the day. They sit in their tree and chatter at me .

This is bad enough but “SWMBO” ( she who must be obeyed) goes up on the balcony with the daughter and the little one and they ooh and ah at the babies and make funny clucking sounds and talk to them over the railing.

I just don’t get it- here I am on trying to save the day and they are clucking at bandits!

It is enough to make you hang your head in shame …..cavorting with the enemy …. but the most traitorous act of all the little one has taken to wearing one on his head!

so I will just lay here and wait my chance !

August 18, 2011 at 10:29 am 3 comments

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