Posts filed under ‘Mothers’

Feb 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 1. Chris Ritchey

NOTE: At one point in their relationship  Angela told me she had said to  Chris, ” Your  mother  ( Me) will write our love story and you  ( Chris) will do  the illustrations. Well not exactly  the story  anyone envisioned.. but the truth!

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

CHAPTER ONE…. 

I was married for 8 years before I felt the quickening of a baby beneath my heart, a baby girl whom I cherished and cherish. 3 years and 10 months later a little boy completed our small family. Like countless mothers before me, I would talk to my children as they grew within my body. The day they were born, the moment mother and child were left to one another after all the turmoil of birth, I too, promised them to always love them, protect them and never let anything happen to them. I wish I could put into words the feeling that grabs at your very innards as your child is put into your arms.

Some say that exquisite joy must be compensation for the pain of birth, others will tell you the bond is strengthened by the fact the child’s DNA having passed through the walls of the womb stays with the mother. Therefore, you are always part of your mother’s body. Months of sharing a body, heart and breath of life, there is nothing closer, the sound of a mother’s heartbeat- the lullaby of life. The very life essence that makes each one of individuals shared and a love that knows no limits. All I can tell you is that from that first fluttering of life I was consumed with a love for them that was greater than anything I had previously known.

The bond I shared with my son was different to the one I shared with my daughter. Nikki was so like her father, laid back, non-confrontational and even tempered. Chris, on the other hand, was volatile, passionate, definitely did not suffer fools and loved a good fight. He was more my child. I always knew what would set him off and we had the proverbial test of wills as he was growing up but underneath the clashes of wills he knew I would walk through fire for him and I knew he would do the same for us. The love shared was not on show, it was there and deep rooted.

My little girl and her baby brother soon left childhood days behind, life was normal, school, holidays, hobbies new friends , new loves and yet my daughter Nikki and her brother Chris retained a bond between them that was unbreakable. Nikki was always there for Chris and Chris was always there for Nikki. It wasn’t contrived or for show, they were each other’s sounding board, life line – it was them against the world, if need be.

I would watch them and knew whatever happened to me or their father they would always take care of each other no matter what.

 

 

 

 

Nikki married, moved out, life went on.

 

Chris was a student at Cleveland Institute of Art.

Other self by Chris Ritchey

Every weekend he came home and when I say home – he had two, this house where he was born and his sister’s. Nikki’s husband, Jim, became the brother Chris never had.

There was a lot of love and laughter in those years. I knew Nikki would always have Chris in time of need and Nikki would fly to his side no matter what. I relaxed in the notion they would always have each other.

He had been dating a young woman in his last year of High School- Angela Lombardi. She seemed a quiet little thing, I tried to make her welcome when she came for holiday dinners. I always got the feeling we were getting what my mother called the white glove test and that we didn’t measure up to her standards.

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

Although my son broke up with her for a few weeks in the latter part of 2005 “as she was too clingy and didn’t give him room” they did get back together thanks in part to a conversation I had with him at 4 o’clock in the morning!

He had asked me:

mum what is love ? 

We explored, love, the flush of new love and sexual attraction, the role of family and caring. The conversation lasted many hours, a few weeks later Chris renewed the relationship with Angela.

I was happy at the time although the day in June when  he came through the door with his sister with “news” – I wasn’t so sure .

I saw the look on Chris and Nikki’s faces that June day- they sat guilty together , after asking their dad to join us in the living room my mind racing, something was up? Finally Nikki said to Chris-

you’d better tell them!

My first thought was Oh God Angela is pregnant- it was that sort of vibe – not such good news coming- I held my breath.

Then Chris said quietly-

Angela wants to get married –

I was stunned, not what I was expecting!  Not knowing what to say ‘relief I guess she wasn’t pregnant”

“ Well congratulations, I guess – how about YOU do you want to get married ?

Chris gave a little shrug :

I suppose so –

Worrying to me what he said and didn’t say – this was not the reaction of a young man who was getting engaged.

Chris had just been hired by Wyse Advertising, he had very little money to speak of and was just starting his career.

I said “well you’d better plan on living here to save up for married life.

My thoughts of this is not good timing – my  thoughts  to the “other mother in the equation” A person I  had barely  met more that a half a dozen times , and never really  had any  conversation with  her at all.  – I asked:

when was the date?

Chris didn’t know and I found myself thinking Sue Lombardi, the mother of Angela, I knew from mutual acquaintances  was a controlling individual when it came to Angela – she  would surely make it a long engagement .

How many times had Chris ordered flowers on my credit card  account to cheer Angela up when the mother, whom they called Mama Sue and Psycho Sue, had upset her for NOT living up to Sue’s standards of achievement? I thought, Sue will not be happy at this and therefore I needn’t worry………..

The engagement – to  be continued 

 

February 3, 2020 at 2:04 pm 1 comment

August 3rd- Linked – Chris Ritchey

Graphics Chris Ritchey

Every  street in this oldest neighborhood is designated by  the signs designed by  you  for Lorain’s Bicentennial. It was supposed to  bring a sense of pride  to  the residents who  have continued to  stay  here and fight for a quality  of life, the history  of these oldest streets and a preservation of a neighborhood that was.

I wish  I  could say  that those of us that banded together and set up a 501C3 30  years ago  had succeeded in our endeavours but thanks to  bank dumps in 2008-2009 with over 200 properties being dumped  sometimes for pennies on the dollar, the unscrupulous out of town landlords and property  companies, drug houses, lack of code enforcement  well we have become a saturated solution of the negative.

Two  things came together in my  brain this week……. the news of a young man of 16 shot and killed by  other young men… just two  blocks away, the gun shot waking us up as the sounds of killing reverberated through  the night air. I watched the news that evening and as I did the TV camera panned up  to  the street sign on 6th street, YOUR SIGN  and my  focus changed instantly  as once more I was sent back  to your  passing and then the pain and I  realized another mother , that of a 16 year old , would be weeping tears , heart pounding , trying to  breathe  trying to  deal  with the reality of the unreal.

Will she experience  the tiniest  interludes of happiness? You  see, once in a great while, when exhaustion forces the body  and mind to  sleep there are moments, just between sleeping and waking. One such  moment came this week the air was cool enough  for the windows to  be open and for a brief second as the sun  kissed the morning to  waken the day , the breeze picked up  the  peppery  scent of the petunias in the window box, this body  hadn’t quite realized it had aches and pains, there was for that precious second happiness and then “life” intruded once more……. and mothers weep  for lost sons in this old neighborhood……..

Another August of holding my  breath , fighting back  the tears , holding myself ready  for the trigger moments , knowing they  will come  and wanting

Love continues………. and memories of times much  happier……..before life intruded

 

August 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm 2 comments

June 3rd – archeology of sorts- Chris Ritchey

Oh! the pond, what a pain I am having  with pumps , tubing and fish eating birds and animals. I have spent a small fortune on equipment this spring.  The winter weeks,  after your Dad was in the hospital, your brother-in law had to  stop  by a few times a week in the days of “polar vortex” to  make sure we kept a hole in the ice.  Just when I  thought I  had everything sorted last week , nets in place , aerators , new pump  and  filter system hooked up, and the waterfalls pump working and bringing at least me some  peace and happiness as I  watched the water cascading down the falls, of course, the waterfalls pump   stopped working.

 

Now nothing is easy  in this house, I could no  longer find the same pump , the tubing was too big, too small, and this pump  didn’t fit the old filter system. I tried as best I  could to  clean the filters every two  days and that is a horrible job. Why ??? because   your Ghost Koi needs air and clean water,  from  over forty  fish  we are down to  17 including “The Ghost”. Due to  my  diligence of filter cleaning every  couple of days the water is crystal clear. The offending pump  had to  be taken out and replaced. Heron apparently  don’t like ripples so making sure the water ripples means three pumps functioning .

 

I shut everything down and gingerly   balanced precariously  on the edge. The water was so  still and clear  I, for once, could see the very  bottom of the pond. The Ghost Koi loomed large – 10  years of eating and being king of the pond, he has grown to  a formidable size. As I  teetered and wobbled trying to  reach the old pump  under the falls, the thought crossed my  mind,

I  might end up  joining him… death  by  “pond life”,

he wasn’t actually  endearing me to  him in that moment and then I saw a glint of gold lying on the bottom.

I strained to  see what was shining up  at me and then I  realized it was a pair of your aviator sunglasses, you  too had been searching for the Koi that last summer ( a much  smaller little fish) and had dropped your  glasses  and there they  were still- where they  had fallen. A reminder of why I need to  protect and maintain the pond so  my  last Mother’s Day  gift from you  continues..the Ghost Koi…..

Those glasses  and ones like them that hid you  eyes from us when you  would hear the bad news the Doctors would tell  hiding tears  and pain.  Those same glasses that brought my  tears flowing once more a reminder of a life too short. and a son lost.

 

I suppose when we are gone and he pond is filled in will someone, in a time to  come, may dig the space   they might wonder how a pair of aviator glasses came to  be 4  foot underground and the story  behind them… a curiosity  for the future…… the missing of you, our love   and memories that should have been  can sometime cripple………

 

June 3, 2019 at 8:55 am 2 comments

May3rd – Mothers and sons – Chris Ritchey

1st Mother’s Day card- Christopher Ritchey

I still have your first Mother’s Day  card and  all the little gifts through your childhood years, they  along with  the ones from your sister are still here in bedrooms, living room, den  and kitchen. Chubby  little handprints in clay , adorn walls along with art work and memories of happier Mother’s days.

This coming Mother’s Day is a first  because for the first time in my  life I will not have my  mother your Nana to  help  celebrate. Coincidentally, when Nana retired and came to  live here she arrived on Mother’s Day of that year  and now I  have lost you  and her. Although   little gifts of mine she had kept still wait to  be dusted in her little living room.

And then there is your last Mothers Day  gift to  me , the ghost koi.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/ghost-in-the-pond-a-koi-story/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/the-ghost-in-the-pond-continues/

Oh Chris what a few days I  have had protecting him, by  far the largest fish  in the pond  , he is so  big. BUT that damned Heron who  arrived last year is back again bigger than ever and now two  others  come to  call. I  have set up obstacle courses around the perimeter, tried all the “get rid of Heron” tips. Climbed over slippery  moss-covered rocks, wobbled on the edge hoping my  knee will not all of a sudden decide it has had enough. moved shelves for the fish  to  hide, all in vain the “angel of death ” just laughs at me as he circles over head.

Nothing deters him ,  he cruises in on huge blue wings  and lands on a dime.  He and his buddies have depleted my  lovely  fat goldfish by  half , some of which  have lived in that pond for 13 years since you  helped dig the “new one” .

He partially  eats them, or drops them  and others he swallows whole.  It is a bit like living with  grief as it swallows one whole or takes bites out of you  daily. We have lost at least 14 of the big goldfish and  the smaller ones….   well who  knows. The ones that are left huddle at the bottom of the pond close to  your Ghost Koi – protection –

I don’t know but they  don’t stray  far from him. . I will battle on with  this “angel of death” beautiful though  they  are  so  I  can keep  the “ghost” and the memory  of that last  Mother’s Day  as I watched you  slipping him into  the pond.

I am so  proud of you  my  son and love you  through  eternity …..

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

May 3, 2019 at 11:01 am Leave a 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

Jan 3rd,2019- Mystic/Magic – Chris Ritchey

Another year dawns, this past one has not been pleasant for the most part. No further answers to  the question we all really  want to know what happens after our body  fails. Is there an “essence of life” that continues? The life “energy”  that makes us unique to  ourselves , can that be destroyed , gone, obliterated ?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/energy-can-neither-be-created-nor-destroyed/

Questions that have been asked and answered in  various religious beliefs for a few thousand years. But , when you  get right down to  it you  won’t really  know till your own body  fails. YOU  KNOW,  my  darling Chris, my  mum –  now knows.

Mum and Balcony

Mum, who  lived a full 99 years, a voracious reader, travelled , lived in three different countries, met hundreds of people of varying walks of life. She would listen to  the religious leaders, watch them on the Sunday  shows, in her youth  questioned them at length.  In her last days she would talk to  the Hospice Nurses as to  their belief as to  what would happen but she had no  answers in even those last days .

As I  sat beside her , holding her hand , watching and trying to  ease her final “body life” moments , there was no  answer for me, she and her  life energy  slipped quietly  away.  The same with  you  -although hooked up  to  machines , but by  the time they  disconnected you  I already  knew you  had left hours before.  Somehow, a mother knows when her child is no  longer with  her, at least I  did.

We all so  need the mystic and magic, hope that there is more somehow to  our world, my  thoughts segued to  my  earliest beliefs and tiny  child’s  belief in fairies.

I lay  awake in today’s very  early  hours, wracking my  poor brain as to  who  first told me about magic and fairies and a world beyond that had nothing to  do  with  religion, that came later when my  mother would drag me to  church  in Canada.

I couldn’t for the life of me remember , it was as if I  had always known about the possibility  of a  “magical” realm I so  wanted to  believe in. As a tiny  tot I would play  for hours in the  garden rockery ( rock gardens were a staple part of the garden and the place where fairies loved to  dwell) building fairy  homes, looking for fairy  circles  in the morning dew, positive they  existed and wanting to  catch  a glimpse. I told my  children about fairies and then my  grandchildren ( before they  got to  the age when they  think I  am dotty).

 

I went back in my  mind , trying so  hard to  remember my  grandmothers telling me stories of fairies . No,  the one used to  recite romantic and adventurous poems  and tell stories of unrequited love. Mum’s mother , tired and worn from life, would tell me stories of the happenings of her children, my  father- science fiction, space aliens and travels to  the stars. My  mum never told me fairy  stories, so who? And then it dawned , my  reprobate of a “grandfather”. A memory  from the mist, taking down a saucer of milk   whilst everyone in the house was asleep, woken from my  tiny  bed, slipper-less feet, cold on the  tiled kitchen floor quietly  putting the saucer down for the hedgehogs  as they  carried the fairies to  dance in the moonlight.

I  realize now, he was drunk again probably , he was an inebriate that is for certain. I supposed going through  the trenches in France and being a professional soldier he may  have had some issues we would recognize today.

Fairies a gift from Chris

All I do  know , is that as angering and annoying he was to  the rest of the family  and his children- HE was the one who  came home with  kittens and the odd baby rabbit or two   in his pockets for me, flowers from his flowers shop , never were his pockets empty , little gifts.  He taught me to  love the flowers in the garden and only  pick certain ones  , to  leave the blue bells ( the fairy  flowers) in the woods.

As I  lay  there in the half light of a New year  my  mind  wandered to  when he was he was in hospital, I  had only  been married a few weeks, we went to  see him . He woke long enough  to  squeeze my  hand and say  ”

I  can go  now- “maggot” ( his nickname for me )  I  have seen you. 

We left the hospital and on the short ride home I could still feel the pressure of his hand  and I  knew before we got to  my  Aunt’s house he had gone without her having to  tell me.  He had said goodbye  and with  him went his “magic”, given to  me only ???  and a memory of an old man , not well loved who shared  a bit of the mystique of this world.

One memory  triggers another and I was back in your hospital room  your stats were fluctuating , nurses and techs adjusting machines and then your hand squeezed mine so  hard – I  didn’t know what you  were trying to  tell me but I think  I  do  now……. you  were saying goodbye ……..

But then the magic of you  continues……….

 

 

January 3, 2019 at 10:29 am 2 comments

Dec 3rd- crumbling walls- Chris Ritchey

Although  I  write about you  every  3rd day  of every  month as a way  to  release my  grief, love of you and so  you  are not forgotten, December 3rd is looming. The dying days that start at Thanksgiving – the day  I sat alone in the waiting room as you  were put on the vent.  I  relive that day  and that intensive care waiting room  every  year  dreading I won’t be able to  hold myself together amidst all the joy  of turkey , pumpkins, pies and laughter.

The circus that ensued  that terrible Thanksgiving Day  at the Cleveland Clinic thanks to “those others” (Lombardi)  who  finally  came to “wait”, share  dry  turkey  and cold mashed potatoes and discuss recipes whilst you  were fighting for your life  sickens me still. I  could never understand their reactions of party hearty   , picnic time- it is a wonder they  didn’t bring celebratory  wine. Respect and kindness to  your family as we tried to  deal with the losing of you   certainly  wasn’t on their menu .

artwork Chris Ritchey

It starts with  Thanksgiving  , the defense walls are reinforced , more to  protect others from the volatile emotions that are churning within me. They  deserve and need their happiness, they need not be reminded of dying days. I so  wish I  was  strong, I  am not.

These days leading up  to  the day  you  died leave me , even after the years of trying to  train myself to  avoid the trigger moments, weak and bereft of control.  I had a relative who  used to  take to  their bed when there were situations they  couldn’t handle. There is no  respite for me  there in amongst the down pillows. I lay  awake fighting down the  emotional agony  of remembrance of those days .Finally  exhaustion will bring sleep  but the mind  continues and all the building of walls to  keep my  emotions and thoughts in check are breached. Down pillows  become wet with tears.

Honestly  I  don’t know how my  heart has kept beating, there are times choking back sobs I can’t breathe.  but your  beautiful sister and two  little boys  whose excitement  at the season acts as an antidote  enabling me once again to bear the unbearable.

 

Your Chris Miss presents to  Gavin and Braedyn will once again be delivered  and I will reinforce the walls ….. I love and miss you  every  day  but  December 3rd will find the walls tumbled into  nothing and I will hide from the world until I  can function again.

Artwork Chris Ritchey

“Heartbreak is a heavy  burden to carry as a soul weakens”  I  love you  Chris

December 3, 2018 at 12:29 am 2 comments

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