Posts filed under ‘Mothers’

October 3rd- NO LIMITS – Chapter 33 – Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

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/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-29-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Thirty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-30-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Thirty-One: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-31-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Thirty Two: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/09/03/september-3rd-chapter-32-no-limits-chris-ritchey/

“On pain of death” – Gutless Mother …..

The days of the ” taking leave ” all went horribly  wrong……the pain caused by  a family  I  hardly  knew – Lombardis and how they   made Chris’ family’s pain and heart break so  much  worse  was not to  be borne, in fact I  couldn’t bear it.

What I will say to you , all of you , is that I could have stopped the pain inflicted after his death caused by those that supposedly loved and cared for my son.

I could have stopped all that has happened since his death IF I HADN’T BEEN SO GUTLESS!

Chris and I had an honest relationship. Oh! sometimes a heated, and very vocal relationship- he was after all “my” son. Sometimes we needed those “bouts of heat” to get to the real issue, to draw out what was really the problem. However, no matter how heated our points of view became, we always came back to laughter and understanding of each other. He was part of me and his heritage in more ways than one.

Now to my dilemma – In my heart of hearts I knew that Chris should be making some decisions- I had a bad feeling about what the next weeks would bring.

One night I lay awake all night trying to decide what to do , I decided to find a time in the day where I would talk to Chris but I couldn’t.


C. J. Hodge “Turning Away” permission
www.artknowledgenews.com

How do you approach your son who had just turned 29 , who was fighting for survival and living on the thin thread of hope of a clinical trial drug and say

What do you want , what would be your wishes should you die?

 

How could I? how could I see his face as his “mum” asked such a question? Me, who was trying her damnedest to give him hope after the news he had very little unless the SGN 35 worked and he could tolerate its side effects, and for how long?

Try as I might I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t, for once in his life, be open and forthright with him. I thought there might be time, time after the results that I knew would be good- you see I watched the tumors on his neck shrink. I knew that when that cough stopped after the 21st of September that the SGN 35 was working. I watched my son with the eyes of a mother.

And because I couldn’t bring myself to have the “death discussion” with Chris a person who had the “legal right” ( enabled by her family)  Angela , had exercised that right which has caused my family such a world of hurt .

I didn’t have Chris wishes in writing, NO ONE DID!!!!

I gave her her due and her way (that is not mine ) of saying “goodbye” only a week later to be denied ours.

Decorations by Lombardi (Vyka etc. )and Company

I am sure Chris trusted his bride and his family to use the love they had for him in a way that would help healing.

That didn’t happen because I was a “gutless wonder”

If there is a lesson to be learned here, please don’t trust that your final wishes would be what you wanted.
MAKE YOUR DECISIONS, MAKE THEM IN WRITING, AND MAKE THEM KNOWN, SIGN YOUR NAME!

There are no niceties in death and for some of us there was a great wickedness enabled by a mother’s cowardice.

I retreated in a world closed off by  tears  , no  sounds came through  that veil but the sounds of sobbing…..I somehow knew that it was coming from me. The funeral meeting has been held , I  stayed home with  my  broken husband and Nikki’s baby. It wasn’t until  afterwards anyone told me what had happened .  I wrote on this blog  an OPEN LETTER TO SUE LOMBARDI 

“I read Chris’s Obituary on Saturday in the local paper. Was this my wonderful young man whose life was put into so many cents a line? Was this MY Chris – I could not let that be the last words written about my son so I composed a letter which I hope will be a more fitting epitaph to one whose passing has broken a mother’s, father’s and sister’s heart.
The Unbearable Pain of Being

I read my son’s obituary Saturday – a few lines describing a young man who was so much more than a husband, brother, friend , hunter, sportsman and employee.

Chris’ last 22 months on this earth found him on the cruelest of journeys, one fraught with hope turned to despair on almost a daily basis in the last days. My son bore this cruelty with a strength of character and body that even I, his mother, found remarkable.

But before the Cancer , there was  another life-one of great happiness – He was funny , sometimes “dark” in his humour, he did not suffer fools gladly .

He and his sister shared a remarkable bond – almost twin like- they would take on the world together . When he was young it was his sister who stood up to the bullies and any adversity and when he grew he supported her and fought with her any battles that came their way.

Christopher had a temper, one he shared with his mother, I understood his temper as we both shared the same “trigger mechanism”.

He knew he was loved and he loved in return. He would buy a Christmas or birthday present and then not able to wait until the day for you to see it – he would have to show it to you right then and there.

Yes, he in his short life touched so many hearts , so many people- accomplishments on the soccer field,

starting the LCCC Club Soccer program after graduating High School- coaching training camps for young players. He received numerous scholarships for soccer and his artistic talent . He received two Cleveland Addy awards in his short career with Wyse Advertising . He would have been one of the best had his life not been cut short.

His friends know how special he was – he had some truly wonderful friends and I believe he too was a good friend.

I said goodbye to my son last Thursday – but my heart has not been able to let him go – he was one of the only reasons for being – I ache for him – I look for him- I cry for him – my son who was so very much more than a few paragraphs in an Obit column-

He was- Chris – a multi-faceted personality who gave us incredible joy and love and expected nothing in return .

I will see him on the street signs in our neighborhood, the logos, the television commercials he worked on, Settlers’ Watch – the Welcome to Lorain Booth at the Port. And my heart is sore pained within me because I will no longer hear his voice, see his smile or feel his strength.

My life has been broken in two – my happiness wrenched from me with the death of my child, my son , words cannot convey the crushing depth of my sadness, the void that cries to be filled and the torrents of tears that I shed that bring no relief.

I penned that Obit to  be read at   the “memorial service” How could I  break out  my  closed off world , crippled emotionally.

How because I was ANGRY !

Angry  at the lies, angry  at people who  had no  kindness of thought for the family  who loved Chris and still love him.  It was anger that cause me to  be upright and it is anger that  gave me strength………

To  be continued.

October 3, 2022 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

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

 

 

 

NO LIMITS

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/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-29-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Thirty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-30-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Thirty-One: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-31-chris-ritchey/

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 https://profiles.stanford.edu/david-eagleman

David Eagleman https://eagleman.com 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 3 comments

August 3rd -No Limits- Chapter 31 – Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

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/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-29-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Thirty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-30-chris-ritchey/

The Transition

It is probably just as well we cannot remember our birthing process. The turmoil that a wee babe must go through, pushing out of their safe warm world,  after lulled before our journey   by the sounds of a mother’s heartbeat, struggling through a narrow constricting tunnel as we are squeezed and pushed,  with  pain,   into  a bright and cold world, strange noises that must assail our little ears and sense .

Is it any wonder we cry as we breathe our first?

And then there it is, we are laid on a soft warm breast and once again our mother’s heartbeat, reassuring in its lullaby of life,   confirms we are safe. Wrapped in softness we are held in the arms of our giver of life.  We shared that heartbeat, the DNA that made us who we are was shared for those 9 months  and crossed  through the placenta, give and take of the process of coming into being. Cells from the mother and the child are shared between and remain in a mother’s  body.  The process is called

Fetal-maternal microchimerism

 The placenta generally serves as a bridge between the fetus and the mother for exchange of nutrients and wastes. But that is not all that crosses this bridge—fetal and maternal cells can cross between the two organisms intact. While maternal cells do end up in the fetus, significantly more fetal cells are transferred to the mother. The result is that the mother carries a small number  of foreign cells belonging to her fetus within her body—hence the name “microchimerism.” While these non-maternal cells are few in number in comparison to total number of maternal cells, evidence suggests that these transplanted cells can actually remain for long after the end of gestation. In fact, derivative fetal cells have been found in the mother’s body up to 27 years ( if not more) after pregnancy. 

Fetal Microchimerism

It is a fact…. 

If you are of the religious persuasion “the essence” that makes me, ME  and you-YOU  and not just a clone being – sometimes  referred to  as the “soul” in those religious  doctrines .

I have listed just three religious beliefs about the “ensoulment of the child” , there are many  more but like all things in religion there doesn’t seem to  any  across the board agreement :

The soul enters the fetus at 120 days (4 months), as established by the Hadith. ( Radd al-Muhtar ala Durr al-Mukhtar 1/202) Thus, when the age of the unborn child reaches 120 days (4 months), it no longer remains a lifeless object; rather, it is a living human being. 

eshaykh.com/quran-tafsir/when-does-ruh-enter-fetus

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/when-babies-get-their-souls

Aquinas was correct that the unborn receive their souls at conception; he was merely mistaken on when conception was finished, due to the science available. As modern medicine has shown, conception in humans occurs almost instantaneously, as soon as the sperm and the ovum unite. This may occur as soon as twenty minutes after the marital act. 

And those of the Jewish Faith have their own beliefs:

Most often in Jewish sacred literature, a fetus in the womb is considered a human life “under construction.” The soul is usually described as arriving when the first breath of life is taken at birth. The primary Jewish imagery for the beginning of life comes from Genesis 1:2, where breath hovers above the waters of earth before life emerges from that cosmic womb. Then, in Genesis 2:7, after the body of Adam is fashioned from the clay of the earth, G*d is described as breathing life into him. These stories frame the basis for the Jewish view that the fetus gains full human rights and status only once the baby’s head has emerged from the birth canal [Ohalot 7:6].

There is one Talmudic passage in which a Greek philosopher presses a rabbi on this issue until–probably for the sake of peace with the Greek occupiers of the Land of Israel–the rabbi accedes to the prevailing view in Greek culture that the soul is present from conception. This concession did not, however, change the Jewish perspective that the activation of the fetus’s status as a human with full human rights still occurs upon birth……..

.http://www.reclaimingjudaism.org/teachings/when-does-life-begin-jewish-view

Essence – Chris Ritchey

Since my  journey  through  “hell on earth” began I haven’t any faith in “organized religion” –  as such . I prefer what I  feel to  be true  and science.  However, maybe a baby shares his/hers mother’s ( essence) soul  until the DNA or whatever  changes him her from a cluster of exploding cells to  our daughter or son.

I don’t have any answers, just questions, and I  am not saying “anyone’s’ beliefs are wrong”. I just know, like other mothers before me, there is, for want of a better word, an intuition we carry and a knowing .

For instance my  daughter,  who  was told  she wouldn’t have children (which was devastating to  her and her husband) I KNEW she was pregnant . I  told Chris who  became so  angry  at me:

“Mum. don’t you dare say anything to Nikki you know how rotten she feels about not being able to have kids”

So I  said nothing  until two  smiling and bright faces appeared in my living room weeks later..

“We are pregnant”.

I specifically  said:

“Let me tell Chris. “

I called Chris and said ” I told you so ……. Nikki  is having a baby”

How did I know my daughter was pregnant weeks before she knew herself? I told my mother and Chris who both chastised me because a few months before the “specialists” had told her she would never have children.

You  couldn’t know that, how did you  know?

I don’t know Chris I  just knew ..

Maybe it was that Fetal-maternal microchimerism .

However, as I  gloated  that I was right …. that horrible thought I  had when I  looked into Chris eyes at two  days old  also  came to  the fore  – Chris was part way  through  his Stem Cell Transplants at the time. .

Why did I look in the eyes of my newly born son all those years ago and turn to my mother and say without thinking

” He has sad eyes- he will have a sad life”

and then dismiss it with
“Why ever did I say that”

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/03/17/when-premonition-becomes-hindsight-part-two/

I also knew and told a doctor Nikki  was pregnant with  her 2nd child … he laughed at me and I  said trust me on this and she was!

There are many other happenings which I  will expand upon in the forthcoming  “alpha” chapters. But for now I struggle to  make sense of anything.

I will tell you,  as I watched  the blood slowly  drain from my son’s face , watching his heart  stop –   I died too. At least the woman and person I was before that instant of death. It was also  the death of “hope” 

I am never going to  be the same , he was gone but part of him still lived emotionally  and physically  within  my  heart and “essence”. We  continued to  share,  even though  his poor cancer ridden body  was  just a shell. No  more laughter, anger, intelligence , love,  happiness, sadness , strength  or essence was left to us that was Chris.

darkness of grief Kathe Kollwitz

In that moment of death, there was another birthing – a birthing of grief.

A birthing of another person- that took over from what I  used to  be.   And after all the months and years  it  hasn’t “changed or  become better. The Loraine that I  was  is lost somewhere, but no  longer here.  There isn’t a word for a mother who  loses her child . There isn’t any tidy   little  “word box” to  describe us . I  believe because we are indescribable .

My  memories, after he passed that afternoon are pixels, fragments,  broken flashes of memory , a brain that was no  longer functioning properly.

There was a wheelchair, there was the hotel room, a phone ringing . Lombardis talking to Nikki .

Chris had been dead less than an hour and yet they  had already  made the appointment for the Funeral Home for 10 am   the next morning to  discuss arrangements.

Decisions in that hotel room were being made as to  who  would drive my  car. Who  would take the bags, wheel me down to  the elevator, our little family  was reeling , going rom one thing to  another, not functioning  but the Lombardis were on top  of their control game.

I rode home  with Nikki I don’t know where anyone else was, Jim,  Gavin ( the  baby ), my  husband,  had someone told my  mum?

I have no  memory  I only  know I wanted to  call my  oldest friend , Mike, in Chicago  .I  needed to  hear an English  voice  for some reason , one who  had shared my  childhood and happiness of those days.

I walked, well fell, in the front door  into  my  home that evening   and dissolved………

To  be continued…..

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2022 at 12:44 am 3 comments

July 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 30- Chris Ritchey

 

NO LIMITS

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/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/12/03/dec-3rd-no-limits-chapt-23-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/january-3rd-no-limits-chapter-24-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty  Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/02/03/february-3rd-no-limits-chapter-25-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Six https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapter-26-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Seven https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapter-27-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/05/03/may-3rd-no-limits-chapter-28-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2022/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-29-chris-ritchey/

OMEGA

Any  words I  have left in me are inadequate to  describe the utter denial, disbelief , unreality  I felt on that last morning of December 3rd.  As I  walked out of the conference  room, the words from the “Doctor” stating we would have to  waIt until the paralyzing drugs wore off before they  could remove Chris from life support, seemed  hollow , without emotion and echoed in my  brain, I felt not a part of my  own body . I was  elsewhere wanting to  wake up to  a different reality  . This can’t be our reality!

I wanted to  run away  , leave this place of clinical formality, take my  son ,  I  saw the  relief on the faces of the Lombardi  Clan as I  agreed to  removing Chris from the machines. I agreed with  the impossible hope  that maybe , he would prove them wrong  but also  because my son had asked me ”

“Mum don’t ever let me end up  being pathetic” 

I never wanted to  look on the faces of Tim, Sue and Angela ever  again. In my  mind they  were no  longer part of our lives. Little did I  know they  weren’t done with  Chris and his family  yet, their controlling  behaviour would  reach  out even through  the death  of Chris , in order to  have their own way. 

We went into  Chris room, Nikki  was there in those damned pajamas , talking to  him.

“Chris you  came home to  see me anytime, I  love you……”

I wasn’t understanding did she not realize  he wouldn’t be ever coming home again? 

A nurse  ushered out of the room into  the room next door, where just a few hours before  the patient had caused all the alarm in the night  had apparently  died.   We were told to  wait  as we couldnt be in the room whilst they  “unhooked” Chris .

The room was bare, the bed and machines cleared away.  I was in there with  Sue Lombardi,  Angela and Tim.

I wondered where my  husband was , Nikki , Jim???Why  was I in that  horrible room with  these people. I  was about to  leave when the tellvision, fixed to  the wall came on  . I  don’t know the program but it was country  music ….. I couldn’t stand it , it was as if someone was playing some macabre joke.

I grabbed the channel  changer from the floor , but no  matter what I  did I  couldn’t get rid of it. Finally  Tim Lombardi left Sue’s  side , she was sitting on the floor  against the wall, but all he managed to  do  was get it flipping through  channels. It ended up  on a scene from . The joke being in the family  that I  was Marie Barone  and my  favourite was Chris, as hers was Raymond. It was the scene where they  were together on a cruise ship.

Angela took the channel changer from her father as Sue  said looking at the scene on the television

“OH it is Chris”

I looked at her and thought

stupid woman , why  doesn’t she just  shut up!!!!

It was then the nurse put her head through  the door and said they  were ready  for us.

Angela, her mother and father went to  the  right hand side of the bed where there weren’t any  machines, I  could only  squeeze into  the other side by  the wall and the now quiet ventilator.

I looked at my  sons face, wiped the  spittle from his mouth , the nurses has closed his eyes . I  rambled on, talking   to him about being proud of him , how hard he fought and that he should rest now. I  don’t know exactly  what I  was talking about  because all I  wanted to  do  was hold him and  scream

NO!!!!!!! Stop  this !!! This can’t happen 

Instead, I  watched the colour drain slowly  from his face , he had died earlier I  knew it…… there was no  gasping for breath or convulsion. I  looked up  into  Tim Lombardi’s face who  was nodding yes….. Sue left the room  Someone took me away  from the bedside , I  think  it was one of Chris’ nurses . There was a wheelchair waiting for me. I had absolutely  no  idea where I  was ,what was happening .

I was taken back  to  hotel room and we sat. Nobody  talked finally we started packing up  our belongings and left. Nikki  was on the phone  apparently to  Tim

”  arrangements for the funeral home had already  been made for the following morning at 10 a.m”

In my  maelstrom of thoughts I  didn’t understand why  Chris’ father hadn’t been there when his son died. I knew Nikki  couldn’t face it and was, I  thought, being taken care of by  Jim.

I  understood that  but I  didn’t understand why  I had to  look into  that weasle  little face of Tim Lombardi  as my  son gave up  his being.

It was many  weeks later I  found out when I  finally  asked my  husband

Where were you , why  weren’t YOU with  me and Chris?

And then it came to  light. He had made sure Nikki  was with  Jim and then followed us into  the room but Sue Lombardi  closed the door in his face and he didn’t know what to  do  , he didn’t want to  make a scene so  he stood outside the door and looked  through  the window as his son died.

artwork Chris Ritchey

I would like to  say  that that was the last cruel and thoughtless  act of the Lombardis but there was so  much  more to  come. However it was nearly  a year after Chris died that Nikki  finally  told me what had happened in that ICU room

DEC. 4th- How Cold is Cold -Lombardi?

I couldn’t think that my beautiful son was going to die- I truly still thought he will show them he will come out of this – I never gave up hope and none of us said to goodbye-

My husband when he was in a coma told us that he had heard every word that people spoke but he couldn’t let us know. So we all acted on the fact that Chris too, was aware and were so careful not to say or do anything that would distress him- trapped as he was…….

Fashionistas Sue Lombardi and Angela (Lombardi) ritchey( Now Murphy.

This apparently was not consideration given by the Lombardis as Sue Lombardi and Angela joined Nikki in the ICU room. Nikki was putting cool cloths on Chris’ brow , holding his hand and talking to him that everything was Ok and she wouldn’t leave him-

However that was not the reason apparently the Lombardi women were in the room, not for them comfort and saying farewell NO they had other reasons for seeing Chris

 they were choosing his “laying out clothes”

So before my son was dead, two minutes after Nikki had learned they were taking Chris off the vent – Angela Ritchey(Murphy) DO and Sue stood over my dying son having already decided without even the courtesy of discussing with Chris’ family the Gluvna Funeral Home would handle the arrangements-

Sue Lombardi

We will lay him out in his black pants, blue shirt and silver tie

Angela –

Yes, but no suit jacket Chris wouldn’t like that

 

Nikki couldn’t believe what she was hearing her brother lying there still breathing, still warm, his hand still in hers and they are discussing “funeral fashion!” 

Nikki told  me that day a year later  between her sobs –

Mum who are these people? how does a “bride” stand there as her husband is dying and calmly decide what fashion statement he will make in his casket- I was standing there trying to memorize every piece of his face, his hands everything about him knowing I would never see him again and they are discussing what to dress him in and he wasn’t even dead. I just cannot believe they were so cool and calm and cold when Angela said
“Yes but no jacket ” it was in the same tone as saying

I will have honey mustard sauce with the nuggets…….

 

Nikki turned to them and quietly said through her teeth so that Chris didn’t hear

NO! you are not laying my brother out, there will be no casket he is to be cremated, he isn’t to go to Gluvna but to Boyers – I will fight you on this – he is to go home

 

Sue Lombardi:

but this will be a huge funeral and what would we do about the parking….

I still find this scenario incredible What kind of people are more concerned in the “funeral fashion statement” of their son-in-law and new husband will wear and where Sue would have  people park as he is clinging to life.

Who calmly looks at their dying groom and is concerned about jacket or no jacket, what kind of people are these ?- How could you even discuss this as a sister holds her dying brothers hand and tries to give him comfort?

How could Angela even contemplate that next move? I just know that anyone who loved my son deeply would not be thinking of “dressing him in his coffin” in their last moments together !
I didn’t know any of this  at the time and it is probably  just as well because as traumatic as the next few days were they  would have been worse as my  anger would have risen to  a dreadful climax.

– I am even more filled with disgust that someone who was so full of life, love and caring has left this life and those that should have mourned his loss stood over him – as he lay dying deciding how to dress him in a casket to look good!

 

The disgust I felt at such pious hypocrites is indescribable – to think my son was subject to this in his last moments “what would he be wearing as they decorated him in the casket “ filled me with a gut filled sickness, it is beyond my comprehension as to what he did to deserve such coldness?

To  be continued ……..

 

July 3, 2022 at 1:51 pm 2 comments

Dec 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 23- Chris Ritchey

NO  LIMITS

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/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty Two : https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/11/03/nov-3rd-no-limits-chapter-22-chris-ritchey/

OHIO

I was emotionally  exhausted after the flight home from Houston  although, I  was  thrilled the news was good but  terrified at what I  was seeing with  my own eyes as to  how Chris “looked”.  to  these mother’s eyes.

The “plan” was Chris and Angela would drive  back stopping at various sights  along the way and  be back for a few days in Ohio  and then the  return drive to  Houston for ongoing treatment.

I drew Angela aside  and  begged Angela:

‘Please , please leave the truck here and fly  back  here, the Doctor at MD Anderson didn’t think  it wise for Chris to  do  that journey, can’t you  talk with  him he will listen to  you if YOU say you  want to  fly  back! 

Angela’s  quiet reply:  because Angela never spoke loudly

 

Chris, will be just fine driving back to Ohio.” We will take it easy

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

It was going to  be a lot of driving  but I  hoped that once Chris was home  home Nikki  and I  could persuade Chris to  fly  back and we would rent him a vehicle.

He was taking so  many  drugs, not eating and to  counter the effects  I found he was taking  exlax  like candy.  It was just 36 hours later after I  left Houston I  received a call from Angela saying they  were stopping for the night  in  Jackson Mississippi

It was later the next day  I  received another call, she had had to  take  Chris to  the local ER for fluids, he had collapsed! The Doctors there   wanted to  admit him but they  declined saying they  wanted to  get back to  the Clinic.  I said

“Angela you  can’t  continue driving if he is that ill, book a flight, you  have the money  from the fundraiser that will will cover that cost , can you  drive  the truck to  the airport  and park it? I will have  his dad and uncle fly  down and drive the truck back, that will put Chris’ mind at rest re the truck  .

 

 Angela “What about the keys we can’t leave them , can you  pick up  the spare set  from my  mother at the bank?

I said I  would .

Arrangements were made . I  went that afternoon to  the bank where Sue Lombardi  worked to  pick up  the keys.  She walked acrosse the lobby   with  a silly  grin on her face

“Tim and I  will pick up  Chris and Angela and take them back to  their apartment “

I was fuming underneath  knowing  I  should have pushed more to  stop  that drive back.  I was barely  able to  speak more than two  or three words incase  I said something that couldn’t be taken back.

Her daughter the Doctor,   had she no  common sense?  Side  trips  to  Memphsis indeed when her husband  was downing pain pills for which she was getting the prescriptions . She had to  see how his driving  was terrible and anger flare ups in traffice in Texas. More than once   seeing his “road rage” I  would remind him

Chris, these guys have guns on their trucks  and you  calling them  “dick head” and driving like you  are  , you  are going to  get me shot…

I dropped off my  husband and brother in law at the airport , drove home  and waited .

Finally  Chris called me from the Lombardi’s car and said they  had been picked up  and would call me  the next day.

He did call me the next day  but not from the apartment , he was back in hospital at South Pointe, where Angela was a resident and getting those prescriptions filled  that  I was worried about. 

It was  an I  am OK mum and getting fluids  sort of call. I  told him his truck was nearly  back in Ohio  , his dad and uncle   had driven straight through and they   would leave his truck at  it at Nikkis,as it was safer there will all the items they  had had to  leave.

I was surprised a half an hour later when Chris called back, the inlaws  and Angela had left  and he said  he was alone and wanted to  talk to  me .

“Mum, I am appreciative of everything you did in Texas

 

I said:

I know that Chris you don’t have to thank me

 

He continued :

But I was so mean to you

referring to  the altercation we had  when Angela had lied to  him  and  he thought Nikki  and I  were excluding her .

SEE Chapter 17 of No  Limits 

I responded :

Chris I am your mother , you are allowed to be mean to me , I understand what you are going through , the lack of control over your own life , the anger – it is OK I love you !

 

He said :

You were right I should have stayed in Houston, I shouldn’t have come back to the apartment….. there are so many bad memories – I should’ve stayed in Houston  and I love you mum I should’ve listened

 

I said

Chris, it is no good dwelling in   hindsight….. we will get through this I will see you Friday . I love you

As always he said

I love you too”

I hung up  and burst into  tears…..

I can still hear his voice in my  head , I can  bring those words  to  the fore of my  memory  as if he were speaking them to  me in the present time and day.

That is probably  because  it was the last time  I ever heard him say  those words out loud…… a mother  clings to  every  bit of her child and his life and voice that she can.

 

Note as I  sit  and type this day  of December 3rd 2021-  it is the anniversary  of his passing and so  I am defeated I have to  leave the keyboard and the desk and release  the pain and heartache.. I can write no  more today  the emotional incontinence  that overwhelms on this day cripples  and crushes my  very  core.  … until the next chapter……. and Chris I still love you  with  all my  being……

 

December 3, 2021 at 2:14 pm 5 comments

March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- 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/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

Houston Days and Nights / CONTINUED

The flight  from Cleveland to  Houston Airport was filled with  angst and anticipation  at the same time.  I  certainly  didn’t know what to  expect , either with  the living accommodations or what was going  happen with  the “infusions of SGN35. Since it was a “trial drug”  the  side effects and how Chris would react with  just me supporting him in Houston. I am not in the medical field, obviously,  and  my  trusted support team were 1,400 miles away.

Houston. I left Cleveland on a sunny  crisp September morning and landed into  heat, humidity  and strangeness.

I don’t handle heat well and humidity that is torture for me . I sucked up  my  discomfort  and headed toward the baggage claim. Chris had had his first infusion the previous afternoon and since I  was worried about  any  side effects. I  told him I  would grab a taxi from the airport, he shouldn’t worry  about picking me up.  JD and Karen, the Houston couple, who took Chris and Angela  under their  wing the previous weekend  had lent Chris the  ranch  truck to  use for a few days.

I hadn’t realized how far the airport was to  Houston proper. The taxi fair was 59 dollars plus tip.  I thought thank heavens  I  had put a hundred dollars in Chris shirt pocket as  he and Angela left Cleveland. The younger generation is all about “the plastic” and I tried to  drum into  them

always have at least a hundred in cash  for emergencies. You  never know when cash is the only  option  

I am sure I  could have  hired a taxi  on my  plastic but the first one in the rank only  took cash. I had no  clue where this chap was taking me and we seemed to  be driving for ever. I was so  apprehensive about the apartment complex because when the Lombardis ( Tim and Sue)  had shown up the night before with  the suitcase  Sue, kept on about  how Angela was very  concerned about the accommodations, the neighborhood.

What had I  done ? I had tried my  best in a limited housing situation  in a limited time frame . I thought well I  am here now and can  change the location  and find something else.

I was relieved when we finally  arrived at the apartment complex, it certainly  was not  this terrible place I had now pictured in my head after Sue Lombardi’s visit.  I called Chris who came to  the entrance  to  meet me .

Chris was very  white and had dark circles and not looking at all well. I said look you  go  back  to  bed  and I  will unpack.

The apartment consisted on a galley  type kitchen, complete with  dishes and all items needed  except food.  open to  a small dining area and living room with  desk  . The sofa was a pull out Queen , large tv and looked out onto  the pool area.  Off the living room was a bedroom and ensuite. The bed was a king sized and  the  bedroom with  2nd TV also   looked out onto  the pool area. The bathroom was very  large and also  contained  stackable washer and dryer and large walk in closet. All linens and towels etc were supplied

As I  walked around to  get my  bearings I wondered  whatever Angela was talking about?  There were many amenities, media room, computer room, gym and workout room, coffee bar , barbeque areas, designated parking  with  secure entrances,   all available to  us as no  extra charge. There was even a dog park and I thought maybe if Chris has to  spend weeks down here Misty  might be an option for a visit.

I checked the refrigerator , as I  desperately  needed some sustenance. Apart from a bottle of water and left over spaghetti  there was nothing, the cupboards held microwavable mac and cheese, just add water. Not at all appetizing in my  opinion.  So much  for Angela’s  thoughts on the matter

photo Angela by Chris Ritchey

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”

First things first when Chris woke up  I said “time to  get some  food and items , washing up soap , and detergent, garbage bags etc. Are you  up to  driving me to  the store?

 

There was a large grocery  store  about a mile and a half away  and I loaded up. The only issue was the distance from the covered parking garage to  the apartment with  groceries. We had bags  and bags and I watched as my  beautiful strong son , now a shadow of what he once was ,  wearying  under the weight of carrying and fetching the shopping . I  wanted to  scream and cry  at what this bloody  disease was doing to  him. But we managed, he went back to  bed and I  unpacked and made him  dinner. His favourite,  stewed  beef, mashed potatoes and carrots.

 

 

I had learned over the months of cooking  for him with  this disease and treatments to “hide” calories. The mashed potatoes which are easier to  eat when your mouth  is sore,  whipped with extra butter and an  egg hidden and cream instead of milk. The beef slow cooked so  it is really  tender  and the gravy  laden with  richness and calories. Always a vegetable or two not cooked to death  but more than “al dente” . Of course ice cream and calorie laden desserts such  as orange whip. This could be made with  any canned or fresh  fruit, in this case mandarin oranges, orange Jell-O  and heavy  whipping cream.

Chris spent the rest of the evening watching TV in the bedroom and  sleeping on and off.

Sunday  , Chris looked much  better in his color  and less tired.  I don’t believe he had eaten anything but a half a plate of spaghetti and drank water for at least three  days.

Chris came out of the bedroom  said JD and Karen had called and would I like to go with  him and join them for dinner. Chris had had the use of the truck for over a week and I was going to  rent a car , so I could drive if need be, and we then could return JD’s truck to  him after dinner. We went to  Enterprise, which  was around the corner, and rented a car.

Chris had already formed a sort of bond with  JD , who  was older  of course, and I was looking forward to  meeting the people who  were being so  lovely  to  my  son and Angela.

I saw immediately  why  Chris had taken an instant liking to  JD apart form the fact he was younger and taller  , his hair, he general appearance was so  reminiscent of my  father and Chris grandfather who  had died when Chris was 8. Chris had spent a few weeks with his grandfather  that year when my  dad came to  visit us.

JD was humorous, kind and interested. Karen his wife was tall and elegant and as my  dad would say  “had legs that went on forever”.  Karen  too was very  kind and knew what I  was going through as her son had been diagnosed with  cancer when he was very young. Luckily  , her son, was cured but she knew  the heartbreak and the terror that I  was feeling.  I was so  relieved  to  have these lovely  people in our lives at that time. JD assured me  the apartment was one of the better ones and we could call for anything anytime.

That night as I  got into  the “sofa bed” trying to  see the stars, my  husband said were so  prevalent in Texas, I realized that Sunday night was the first time in many  months I  did not go  to  bed with  a raging  headache. Being able to  take care of my  son, and being met with  kindness and support had done that.

To  be continued………..

March 3, 2021 at 12:41 pm 4 comments

NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12

ED NOTE: It has been one year since I  started this journey  of serialization of my   book/posts on my  son’s, Christopher Ritchey, journey.  I had thought, initially,  to  intersperse  the posts as usual with  other posts, pertaining to  life, Lorain, crime and politics. I  have found I  just do not have the energy  and the apathy is all consuming . I have come to  the sad realization what I  think  and my  passions on those subjects just don’t matter and don’t make a bit of difference in the real world.  However, my  journey  with  NO LIMITS continues, as hard as these chapters are to  write  and reliving the journey  of hope and no  hope there is a light at the end of this journey . I  will continue to  tell of our journey with  transparency  and truths.

 

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/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

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

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

 Chapter 12 : The Trial and Tribulations

The days following  the biopsy  found me sitting by  the phone. I  knew in my  heart of hearts the news was awful but I  clung to  the hope they  could be wrong, it had been known. I  knew it was a foolish  hope but you  grab anything you  can to  hold onto.

Chris came to  stay  with  Nikki that last weekend in August . He was so  pale and quiet. I went over bearing his favourite food . Nikki  told me he had been out in the woods for hours on his four wheeler , alone and not wanting to   talk to  anyone.

We waited, and when he came in I saw my  son trying to  put on a brave face. We all tried to  act normally  I  sat with  him at the kitchen counter , trying to   eat . He was , for my  sake, trying to  force the food down. A friend of my  son-in-law, oblivious to  the situation, came in  talking about the hunting season to  come  and new equipment he was planning to  purchase. It was so  normal and so  damned surreal. Chris left the kitchen , I  knew he was thinking

I  probably  won’t be here for that  season.

I  waited, trying to  swallow my  scream. Nikki  came into  the kitchen  and said ”

Mum, Chris is not good, you  had better come upstairs   

I followed her up  to  the guest room, also  now known as Chris’ room. He was laying on top  of the bed and had broken down, the fear, the hope, the fact he would die crashing down on him and he could no  longer  put on a brave face that day .

I didn’t know what to  say  or do . I felt totally  helpless.  I sat on the bed next to  him and Nikki  was on the other side and we  huddled and cried together. After a while I said , not knowing really  what I  was saying

“The three of us like this, Chris , is probably  Angela’s worst nightmare”

Finally  a weak smile and I said  to  my  son , almost believing it myself

Chris , I  will move heaven and earth  to  find another way  another treatment, even if it means going  to  Germany  or Europe

( I  had heard they  were making strides in Germany with  Refractory Hodgkin’s)

Chris went back out into  the woods riding and I  went home to   get on the computer and research.

I went home worried beyond reason for my  beautiful son. The phone rang it was Angela’s mother Sue Lombardi  wanting to know something inconsequential.

I said Sue:

I can’t even think about that know ( I  can’t even remember what it was ) I have just left Chris and he is in a terrible state.

WELL! she said NOW YOU  KNOW WHAT ANGELA HAS BEEN PUTTING UP WITH . 

I couldn’t believe the sanctimonious,  cold hearted cow!

PUTTING UP WITH , he is dying and scared and turning to  his wife.. don’t talk to  me .. putting up  with ????

she said :

maybe putting up  with  wasn’t the right choice of words .

No!  it wasn’t  I am going now. I  have things to  of more importance to  deal with  

Finally Tuesday   came  when we once again sat in the offices of Dr. Pohlman. Chris sat alone on the side of the room, he had on his aviator glasses and cap was pulled down, as I  looked at my  son , knowing these glasses were his defense  against the emotions he was feeling  being  shown  to us. Nikki  and I  sat together and Angela  drew up  a chair on the opposite wall.

No-one said a word, and Dr. Pohlman of the diamond earing , white framed glasses , starched white coat and Italian leather  shoes entered the room.

I was never keen on him , his bed side manner was decidedly  lacking  , but Chris liked him, why? I  don’t know .  As he sat down he looked at us , looked at the report and said coldly:

“This is bad, very  bad. Your immune system, ( looking at Chris who had not moved but sat like stone) does not recognize the cancer. As your body deals with the good cells it is also  helping the cancer cells .  Another stem cell transplant  , this would be a donor  transplant in the hopes that their immune system  would take over (allogeneic) is a remote possibility , but the insurance probably  would not   OK  it.

Nikki , spoke  ” well  why  can’t we try? “

Pohlman  looked as if he had noticed her for the first time,

“and  you  are  his sister? Well we could test you  as a donor, are you  willing “

“Of course I  am willing I  will do  anything “

Polhman  then continued.

Chris your only  hope for a “cure” ( and yes he said the word “cure” )is to  get on a trial for the drug SGN35 .

I finally  found my  voice,

how  do  we do  that?

Unfortunately, 

he said ( and this was the Tuesday  morning after waiting for days for the results of the biopsy)

We.at the Clinic closed down the admittance to  the trial of SGN 35  we have here on Friday  and there are no  more spaces available. I am not sure there are any  openings  around the country.

I was incredulous , this young man had been treated by  them from the very  beginning they  KNEW the cancer had returned , they  knew he would need options , they  held out the hope again to  only  withdraw it coldly  and clinically. I was so  angry  I  couldn’t  speak. Angela sat there ,

 

For god’s sake I  thought Angela say  something, you  are a resident going to  be a Dr.  a member of the Cleveland Clinic yourself  say  something!!!!!This is your husband  fight for him.

Angela said nothing,  it was Nikki  who  spoke :

You  are the Cleveland Clinic  , the best in the nation, and you  are telling me that Chris has been your patient all this time and you  come in here offering nothing,  just that a trial has closed, why  didn’t you  reserve him a space. You  KNEW what those results were . and all you  can say  is “this is bad , very  bad ” and there is a hope for a cure but not here . Then Where????? Don’t kick him to  the curb, he is not a lab rat……

Chris’ face book page

I am not sure Polhman  was expecting that , I know Angela  looked shocked.  Polhman was the big shot specialist, I  am sure she wasn’t happy  with  Nikki  questioning him.  Polhman turned his hands  outward in a gesture  of  “oh well” said that he would send his assistant to  set up a test for Nikki  and he would have them see if there were any  openings for SGN 35 in other states , but the trials had all closed on the Friday . He had other patients he had to  see.

As they  all walked out I asked what about Europe, Germany , he looked perplexed. He didn’t know  and was that an option. I  said:

anything is an option to  save my  son’s life and walked out.

The rest of the day  found Angela looking into  options, contacting people she had been  in medical school with. Nikki  on the computer  and I called family  in the medical community , who  dealt with  Cancer research . They  put me in touch  with  Chicago  and Columbus trials, talking to  Doctors,   setting up  appointments.

Angela had the best options with  MD  Anderson   Houston Texas . She sent Chris records through   to  a friend who  said they  would get them to  Dr. Younes who  was doing the trial.

Wednesday  morning , Nikki  and I  picked up  Chris from his apartment and we went to  the Clinic for them to  be matched for a allogeneic  transplant. This done we went back to  his apartment, not really  speaking . We stayed for a little while, I  was so  worried about Chris , he had lost hope. I left Nikki  and Chris in the living room and went to  busy  myself making the bed incase he needed to  rest. Nikki  came flying into  the room. Dr. Younes’ PA from MD Anderson  was on the phone and they  had an opening for an appointment  the next day  in Houston.

The next afternoon at two o’clock . OMG!!! the thoughts tumbled and whirled through  my  mind. Take the appointment , call the airlines, Chris call Angela , where is my  credit card , get them on a flight, book a hotel near the hospital , get some money . By  eight o’clock they  were boarding a flight to  Houston….

 

the roller coaster  ride was starting up  again

 

to  be continued……..

 

January 3, 2021 at 2:27 pm 5 comments

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

July 3rd- NO LIMITS- Chapter 6 – 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/

If the night before at the Rehearsal Dinner was hot , the day  of the wedding dawned  humid and hotter. I  don’t handle heat and no  sleep at the best of times, and this definitely  wasn’t a good time. For the sake of my  children  and family  I  tried so  hard  to  act cheerful and excited, all the while with  this great lump  of concrete in my gut and a  dread of things to come. I can only  liken this feeling to  having the overwhelming feeling /intuition by  getting on to  a plane and knowing it will crash.  I knew the prognosis for Chris form of cancer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was excellent, 95 percent cure rate, ” if  you  had to  have cancer this is the one you  would want” a few rounds of chemo  and a couple of treatments of radiation and you  will be fine.

BUT then why  did everything in my  mind scream at me there is a  world of hurt coming  our way ……?

artwork Chris Ritchey

THE WEDDING

I knew that Chris would be putting on a brave face, he had a round of chemo on the Thursday  and it usually  caught up  with  him by  the Saturday, and here he was having to  go  through  a horrendously  busy  morning, afternoon and evening. I knew he would not let on how he was dealing and feeling with  all the poisons  coursing through  his body.  He was so  particular when it came to  Nikki’s wedding  in regard to  his tuxedo, having to  make a special trip  to the tailor to  have it adjusted  the day  before.  Nana and Chris at Nikki’s Wedding

Chris had lost weight with  the cancer and chemo  and his tux was too big, but he didn’t seem to  care, not at all like Chris, but then he had more on his plate to  worry  about.

The wedding at St. Mary’s  Catholic Church  officiated by  Father Daniel Divis , Chris had refused the usual Catholic protocol  to  get married in the church  , and he was allowed to  do  so   probably  due to  the cancer diagnosis and the  Father Divis “relationship” he had with  the Lombardis.

I  sat in that church  , not being very  enamored with  organized religion  as a bit of a hypocrite, but it was  Chris and Angela’s day , it was her faith  and she was very  in touch  with  her faith.   My  husband and mother  and I  sat there  “together but alone”  .

The ceremony  over , and I  couldn’t hear a word, but then Angela always made me feel like I was deaf, so soft spoken was she. I had spent the morning putting together a small  cooler bag  for Chris  and  the wedding party  ( mainly  for Chris)   to  take in the limo. It had  cold water ,  some snacks he could eat after chemo , and some cool cloths  as his body  temps rose after chemo  set in.

Wedding over I  came home  showered and cried until it was time to  put on the “face” again for the reception. No  matter how I  tried I  just  could not get out of this terrible feeling  like some darkness was going to  envelop me.

Oh !  this happy  day  could only  get worse heat wise when the air-conditioning at the Holiday  Inn  failed. However, as bad as that was as I  went to  the gifts table to  put our check in for the Bride and Groom  , not a “wishing well” or a cute little decorated  box but a “casket ” with  flowers on the top courtesy  of Sue Lombardi ‘WHAT WAS THE WOMAN THINKING – WAS THIS APPROPRIATE”  Was I  being overly  sensitive?  although  the comments from my  friends they  too were shocked and my  mother was furious.

” I knew as soon as I  saw that  coffin on the table it would hurt you  Loraine”

 

The  wedding although  apparently  enjoyed by  others left me flat especially  when Father Divis  reacted to  the best man’s speech, I wrote about it afterward , (at the time I  did not mention his name BUT  of course now in that blog post he is mentioned )as I  was shocked , although  this man of God would shock me later after the death  of my  son   to  my  core  !

“This was brought home over the weekend ( and I can take a joke better that a lot of people) . A speech that bordered on not only the insulting ( for me )cultural racism  by a priest  (Daniel O. Divis – Office of the Secretariat)who insulted every English person and non catholic at a function. He spoke of Ulster and Northern Ireland in a way that for those of us who lived through the bombings and were directly effected by the IRA and the terrorism  THEY inflicted upon a population both Irish and English , that was  financed  primarily   from this side of the Atlantic  was akin to making jokes about 911. Would you tolerate jokes about 911?

 

So what makes it OK for a pseudo “Irish” priest of Lorain to make the jokes and insult a group of people because they are “English”? A fellow diner said it is just ignorance of the situation– I beg to differ any Catholic Priest who claims Irish lineage KNEW exactly what he was saying, which to me makes it all the more disgraceful – am I wrong??????

You tell me when is it ok for terrorism to be lauded and applauded and when is it abhorred – is it OK to make derogatory remarks as long as it is based on culture and then only one certain segment of the population’s culture – Is it Ok to do this based on culture and not colour???

Although I did have a “word” with the man- I am sure it fell on deaf ears…… So when is it OK – tell me???? because I find this grey area very confusing ?

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2008/06/08/when-is-it-ok/

AND THIS SPEECH  WAS AT A “wedding” 

We got through  the wedding and reception,. The Mother/ Son dance was one of the toughest things  I  knew I had very  little control left  and as  we danced ( and I  told Chris  ( who  was always my  confidant)   I may  need Nikki and his dad to  help  me through. He understood , he knew me so  well and we were always upfront with  one another. So  when I was becoming “emotionally  incontinent”  halfway through  the dance he signaled to  Nikki  and his dad to  join us on the floor  as a group. ( that did not go  down too well with  the Lombardi  clan)  .

My  husband , mother and I   left at a reasonable time  just after the first guests were leaving. I  told Chris Nana was tired but he knew and he by  this time was physically  showing the effects of a very  long day  and the poisonous chemo. I wanted to  gather my  child  up  and  make him  well , but all this was now out of my  hands , he was a married man now!

The next day  was “come over ( to  the Lombardis) and look at the presents” day , we had company  so  I stayed with  them . The next thing I  remember was Chris coming round the corner with  the casket under his arm with  his Best Man. I  said

what are you  doing here?

He said:

Sue Lombardi  and her mother were anxious to  open up  the “box” to  see how much  money  they  received

and he said

No! he and Angela would do  that later ..  I  don’t want them knowing our business and who  gave what so  I  have brought it here  to  stop  their prying . . Turns out there was no  check from the Lombardis in that casket,

Angela said : ” they  paid for the wedding”

HA! thanks to  their “bar arrangements”  we paid more to  the Holiday Inn for the drinks etc. than they  paid for the wedding, and I  know that how ? The wedding planner lady  was so   frustrated with them and their way  of ordering her about  she  told me and actually  gave me a  discount on the total bar bill. 

And so  the next  weeks  came and went all too quickly.

To  be continued …..

 

 

July 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm 6 comments

June 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 5- 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/

The wedding plans went on. I  excused myself from most  of them by feigning migraines leaving my  mother, daughter and husband to  do  the duty.

I was stretched thin on patience and discretion and retreat was for the me the better part of valor.  I  know my  limits  and I knew I  could not  deal  with  the Lombardi  women (  at least not quietly).

The kick off  came re the bridesmaid dresses , the drama- because my  daughter (  who  was, in my  opinion, added to  the group because of Chris’ insistence) DARED to  have her dress altered to  better fit. The phone call from the irate Sue Lombardi after they  saw Nikki’s dress hanging at the seamstress ( without their permission) . I  was curious as to  WHY they  apparently  were at that same  seamstress with  their garments  was never explained.

It was then after the ensuing  chastising phone call from Sue,   Chris who  was irate, as he listened, as I  dealt with  his future mother in law , not angry   with  me but with  Angela and Sue and the upset such  a pettiness caused  – I  decided to politely    back  away  from all things concerning the wedding, apart from paying. Truth  be known they  really  didn’t want my  input and obviously  Chris was becoming caught in the middle of the women of his life at the same time as dealing with  cancer.

 

We managed to  get through  the wedding shower all smiles and  faking  for the guests.

There was no  way  I  could go  to  the “hen night”, aptly  named in my opinion, so  the dreaded migraine reappeared although  I  know I didn’t fool Chris , but he understood, he understood me better than anyone.That duty was left to  Nikki  and my  mother .

My  mother , bless her, got a bit inebriated   ( thanks to  Nikki) and since they  were not made the most welcome by  the “clan”, barely  speaking to  them I  am told. My  mother joined people at another table , after a few of the beverages my  daughter ordered for her  became the  hit of the night with  the other tables.

A dear friend, Mark, was eating at the same venue , he took some photos  called me  and said

” Your mum is such  a character, she is entertaining the whole restaurant  by  grabbing a blow up  man from another  hen night group and dancing around the place, cheered on by  the onlookers.

Not bad for a 90  year old woman.

Chris, who  turned up  with  his friends to  drive people home, laughed and said

Mum , Nana is just wonderful

I don’t think  she went down too well with  the Lombardi’s though.

 a smile from Sue would have cracked her face in two

said Chris.

 

The Friday, of the rehearsal dinner on the 6th  dawned so very hot and airless, totally out of keeping for early June. The wedding date  was based on Angela wanting 06.07.08  numerical sequence. The dinner was planned at a facility overlooking Lake Erie in Lakeview Park. I had booked the place before it was even finished being built.

There was (of course)  issues as to  my  choice of  menu, I had decided on heavy, hot and cold  hors d’oeuvres. I  worked with  a local  caterer, who  actually  had been a family  friend, well respected for his establishment and catering abilities. He told me that when the Lombardi  women  came to his establishment to  check out its viability  for the reception, they  left him feeling insulted  by  their attitude . He was quite annoyed, and went above and beyond in  all I  asked from him.

The menu  included  mini  Beef Wellingtons, meatballs, pasta, mini  quiches,   a carvery ( turkey, beef  and ham)  for sandwiches, salads of all kinds, crab claws  and shrimp in ice, underneath an ice vase sculpture topped with  flowers. Beer and wine (  no hard liquor  allowed at that time) . cakes , cookies and deserts, strawberries and fresh  fruit.  The table fared groaned with  food. However, when Angela  was shown the menu, prior to the  dinner ( as a courtesy  I  might add) , she went into  the den with  Chris and sent him out  and he said to  me….

Angela feels this needs to  be adjusted , people will be coming in from out of town ( the event was set of 50) they  will be hungry  and she doesn’t think hors d’oeuvres will be appropriate  , she suggests chicken , red skin  potatoes ,  green beans and cheese and macaroni.

I said:

NO! Chris –  this is my  contribution to your wedding .  I  have put a great deal of thought, along with  Nikki, and Nana  on this  from entertainment  , decor  and giving you  something from me!

I realized Angela had not been at any  of my  “party  planning” previously but I  looked at Chris and said

when have I  ever not had enough  food at anything I  have planned?

I called my  caterer and told him what had been said  and I  asked him to   add something  along the line of chicken wings  and a macaroni dish. He sighed and said  “Typical”

The morning of the rehersal  dinner  I drove to  Lakeview Park  to  check on final arrangement the food, tables ,  decorations etc. I looked out as I got into my car over to the lighthouse where Chris and Angela had become engaged.

Lorain Lighthouse – Lorain 365 ( L. Miller)

Nikki and I had helped Chris plan that July day of engagement, 11 months prior, the “asking Angela to marry me “place”. Christopher saying:

“You helped Jim to make Nikki’s engagement special you have to help me make this special too mum!

And Nikki and I did help- organizing champagne, roses, a table holding silver goblets and a boat trip to the Lorain Lighthouse on a beautiful day. Anticipating celebration Nikki and I, dad and others sat on the patio of the Jacalope restaurant looking out at the lighthouse happy for the young couple on this very special day.

So why, as I sat in the car looking out at the same scene- the same lighthouse shimmering in the heat of the day the afternoon before the wedding, albeit from a different perspective – why did, I feel such panic and the “knowing” this wedding should not take place?

I looked out on a shining blue lake, sunshine kissing the waves and argued with myself:

“What the hell is wrong with you, why aren’t you happy you should be happy –
Yes, Chris has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s but the prognosis is good, why aren’t you wanting to celebrate?

Angela has stood by him through this diagnosis, she has helped him – she has stuck by him- this has to be such a difficult time for her – (I admired her and was grateful to her for that)

He is getting married, starting a life so what is it with you? Why are you sitting here at Lakeview looking out at the lighthouse and feeling such a dreadful feeling?

I went home in a mood so dark, I couldn’t shake the feeling this wedding should not take place. My husband called my daughter I was in such a foul temper!

“you  had better come talk to  your mother she is having a melt down”

It was as if every fiber of my being was pulling at me NO! this wedding must not happen it will bring pain and sorrow to those I love. What was making me think this way? I  have always trusted my  “gut feelings” and this time I  couldn’t and wouldn’t.

My daughter duly arrived and told me off in such a fashion as to make my own guilt and selfishness of feeling take place of the dreadful fear or premonition I was experiencing – Nikki did not hold back  in her telling me like it was:

This is Chris’ wedding- the happiest day of his life- You have to stop this you have to think of Chris, he will be fine he will come out the other side of this, you can’t let him see you like this.

Of course , I thought she is right, once again I  was being selfish, Chris has to come first and so you have to suck it up.

The rehearsal  dinner for which  I  was responsible was lovely   and everything  went well I  thought. I put on a brave face and tried to  be a good hostess , but that feeling of dread  did not leave – it was there with  every  smile every  word uttered.

Chapter 6 the Wedding…….

 

June 3, 2020 at 11:19 am 2 comments

Older Posts


Categories

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 231 other followers
December 2022
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031