Posts filed under ‘Mothers’

The Dance ended- the room emptied- Mum 2018

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A mother understands what her child does NOT say

 

 

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October 18, 2018 at 5:30 pm 12 comments

Oct. 3rd -Danse Macabre- Chris Ritchey

 

Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin /Source 

Once again,  I am locked into  a performance with  death. I am exhausted and angry  as I  watch  this thief of life steal everything that is and was your Nana and my mum, just as I  stood helpless as you  too  were locked into  this grim  dance of reality  that faces us all.

The purloiner  of life has taken the light from her blue eyes, made them red ringed and pale, her smile just a memory ,  as she waits , she has disappeared within her own body  as it stubbornly  clings to  life and the loved ones around her . She is  caught between the notes as the music of death  is played, no  longer having the strength to walk , sit or feed herself  without help , her pride of independence, privacy, modesty  gone , slowly drained buy the vampiric interloper and yet it seems that is not enough-  still the dance partner of death  continues the performance, sapping her of what is left of her , cruel in its movements  as the tune reels and swirls, no  respite or quarter given.

 

The difference with  you, my  darling son  there  was another dance partner , who  lent strength  to  my  body  and soul- that of HOPE.  Hope was my  partner,  the hours of driving, the meals, the days and nights of  care, the medicines  , doctors and trials  would work . Parallel days with  the dance I am  once again intertwined , unable to   find escape cold grasping fingers refusing to  let  me go, crushing my  heart. Another August, September , October and the dance continues , the music raucous and disjointed – a cacophony  of jarring notes , breaking the peace.

October 3rd , the last time you  were home  with  your family, filled with  hope that Houston  would be the answer to  stopping the dance, but hope, although strong in our hearts, was not enough to  combat the “danse macabre” …… and now once again the robber of life  has entered our home and our very  beings..

and ripped from us joy , hope and laughter.  I love you  Chris  and I  know you  will be here for your  Nana  as this final  dance ends…………

Chris Ritchey Source

October 3, 2018 at 10:38 am 4 comments

August 3rd- continuation- Chris Ritchey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loving you  continues- being broken continues ….

photo -self -Chris Ritchey

August 2, 2018 at 10:58 pm 2 comments

July 3rd – Life Changes- Chris Ritchey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

July 2, 2018 at 9:51 pm 2 comments

May 3rd- Words are all I have- Chris Ritchey

Words- text- communication through  a written language. Reading was always difficult for you  as a little boy you were at the beginning of a local failing school system. A system that had to  show progress, so  although  you  had the extra classes , they  passed you  through as completing their  grant driven reading programs. It wasn’t until the 5th  grade we found out , when I  had you  privately  tested, just how bad the problem was. Three years of catch-up and a change to  private education.

Those years were hard for you , you  thought you  must be “stupid”.  However, you  also  developed a skill of  communicating “visually” . Eventually  reading caught up  with  your ability  to  use your art to  communicate.  You  found a niche for your talent at Lorain County  Community  College https://www.lorainccc.edu/

and on the advice of the college you transferred to  Cleveland Institute of Art

http://www.cia.edu/

artwork Chris Ritchey

It was at the students art show at Cleveland Institute of Art , I  was looking at some of your designs etc. I noticed a couple of mistakes in the text. I spoke to  the your instructor that evening about the  mistakes in the text.  He looked at me and said :

“that is not a problem , we can teach  and correct  spelling  etc. what I  can’t teach  is what your son has, his ability  , creativity  and talent. I will give a an assignment  to  the group – “come   up  with  three different  advertising concepts  on a given product/ client  within a week” – Chris, will come back  within two  days with  10  entirely  different takes.  I can’t teach  that……

 

Eventually  you  gained a  position as Art Director for  Wyse Advertising .

http://www.wyseadv.com/

Apparently , according to  your boss at the time, you were poised to do  great things in advertising … we will never know…. but Wyse  were wonderful to  you during that terrible time of your illness.

I do  remember that first year  you worked for Wyse  you  were asked to  do  the ad for them in the annual “Torchlight” Membership  Directory

The monthly AAF-Cleveland Portfolio features the latest in industry development and trends, association insights and updates, and achievements of local members. “Torchlight,” our annual membership directory, is an invaluable “Who’s Who” reference manual of members, agencies, and services in Cleveland advertising.

The directory  was in your portfolio   and the ad………. text, words …….. “scan of the full-page ad that appeared in the Torchlight”

Artwork Christopher Ritchey

 

But there aren’t any  words  that were  so  important as the last words you  wrote to  me – even with  the spelling mistake…….I carry  them with  me every  day

 

Mother’s Day  is coming, once again tinged with  tears and bitter-sweet  ———– I love you…………I need to  finish writing  the book  if I can find the words

 

May 3, 2018 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

April 3rd – Trilogy Trigger- Chris Ritchey

Chris Ritchey- CIA

This past month has been particularly  difficult, losing my  dear friend Paula to  the obscenity  that is cancer, the  “hell is other people” neighbors with  their  form of obscenity  invading  what little space we have. It is what is called “life” for want of a description.  As another departed friend used to  say   “everyone has a story”  and yet another ” there is no  laughter in hell”, but then again you  would have to  believe in a heaven if you  believe in hell.

Easter was this past weekend , another holiday  I  hypocritically  celebrate for the sake of loved ones and friends . I have pointed out my  views and Easter/Eastre has been noted – another pagan holiday  utilized, blended, absorbed  and  morphed for convenience sake of whatever was the popular faith  at the time  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/ahhhhhh-easter-eastre-resurrecting-memories-eggs-and-crabs/

To  me all religion is another man’s myth dressed up  for the masses of whatever century  of which  you  happen to  be a part.

Irony, not to  be  outdone this year,  the weekend found Gavin’s 9th  birthday  and your Dad’s and Easter  all  falling together.

 

You  Dad born on another Easter Sunday  on the top of the kitchen table ( so the story  goes) let alone being April  Fool’s Day.

Triple play in memories flooded in- other Easters with  Papa Teddy  and Auntie Gladys coming down  from Canada especially  at Easter and Thanksgiving , they really  were the closest thing to  grandparents. Such  love , such  beautiful people. Your first Easter , you  decided to   crawl and Papa Teddy  spent the whole time steering you  away  from the fireplace hearth, fascinated even then by  flames.

Memories of you  being taken to  that “terrible to  me now” church  St. Mary’s  Lorain  https://www.parishesonline.com/find/st-mary-catholic-church-44052          by  your godparents on Easter Sunday .  Well…..up  until the time you  “shot the priest” with  a pretend gun and  something religious spilled  as someone in the procession jumped and there was such  a kafuffle apparently. I know you  were never again taken to  Easter Sunday  services there.

To  think that church  would play such  havoc in our lives bringing such anger and unkindness – due to  you  walking down that same aisle   and the taking of any  closure, denying our beliefs  by  your  controlling “in law family”( Lombardi/ Vika and offspring) and the “bride” Angela Lombardi ( Ritchey) now Murphy


not to  mention “their priest” Divis –

Sharing a laugh – but on whom?

 

There should have been overload in the confessional, one  would think,  although forgiveness is far from my  heart. Ah! what meaning in this life today of  a ‘mother’s curse” in days of myth and legend  a powerful instrument met now with  the word Karma??? Karma  borrowed once more from an even older religion…. I  wait ………

Gavin’s “birthday” or day  of his birth – hoping against hope as you  lay  in that terrible  Cleveland Clinic-  the lab rat- being made to  clinically  die to  “save you”.   I had to  leave you  that night  to  be with  your sister  as a new life came into  the world……….. torn once more………

Your Dad’s birthday – the years of playing pranks not just because it was April fools day but because your loved your jokes. The time you  took out an ad in the paper  selling the house .  Yes! all memories , uninvited guests along with  the ham,  steaks,  tulips and a missing space at the table.

And yet  laughter and smiles, little boys and a girl  looking for surprises, barely  able to  sit still as the grown-ups  took forever to  eat. Tales of other memories , other traditions  , pastel eggs mixed in with  camouflage eggs, a grandfather and his grandsons  sharing a moment  to  remember.

Yes all intertwined showing the colors and also  the greyness of what we have become – I love you – we all do……..

April 3, 2018 at 11:29 am 1 comment

March 3rd -It’s OK- Chris Ritchey

Reaching out- art work- Christopher Ritchey

It’s OK – (okay)  the origin of OK  has many  theories https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/explore/what-is-the-origin-of-the-word-ok

but basically   translated – Ok (okay) means it is alright, it is fine  or will be OK – will be alright – will be fine.

When something traumatic happens  either in real life or in tv / movie land – invariably , along with  the hug and the patting on the back http://www.saywhydoi.com/the-back-pat-why-do-we-pat-on-the-back/ comes the  words – “it’s OK”

No  it isn’t OK  really …. but like shaking hands when you  meet someone it is something  those  who  try  to comfort  do.

I found myself yelling at the television as yet another traumatized mother – having disaster over take her family  – and the well-meaning friend , the “it’s Ok” tripping from their mouth for want of something to  say – throw away  words ….

NO it isn’t OK, it will never be OK – her  “ok world” is no  more – stop telling them it is OK- alright – you  will be fine – just stop! hold them tell them they  are loved

but I  am here to  tell you   when you  lose  a son or daughter   nothing is ever alright, fine or okay in your world   ever again.

OK! well I  maybe be making a mountain out of a molehill…  and bitching about the human condition when we are at a loss for words and trying to  be kind and give comfort  but it cuts me to  the quick when I  see and hear those words spoken

The flawed Hand of the Healer by Chris Ritchey

AND  it is not okay  that my  wonderful, talented, loving  son with  his whole life ahead of him- is nothing more than a memory- and in some cases not even that – whilst the dregs of mankind and other sons cause terror and destruction to the world’s children.

 

AND it is not OK that once again I am losing from my  life  a sweet, caring , selfless , sparkling wine of a woman to  the obscenity  of cancer- another family  waiting and watching as she leaves us slowly. It is not OK that she is leaving whilst   the cruel bitches of this world thrive………

It is NOT OK Chris that I  am here and you  are not…….. I love you

March 3, 2018 at 12:20 pm 1 comment

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