Posts filed under ‘weddings and funerals’
Another day , week, month, year- I have learned the navigation of the path of pain- I know now most of the emotional laybys , the pitfalls that can swallow you whole . I have become aware of them as I travel this way of grief. Oh! sometimes, even knowing they are there does not save me from tripping and trembling as I go forward in this life.
Nana, she of the wonderful pastries and food of love, had made a sausage pie for friends who were visiting. We had to take the pie and accoutrements to Catawba last week. The pie needed to be kept cool on the journey but a big cooler wouldn’t do. Nana, who has pretty much taken over the kitchen since she moved here, knows where everything is and pulled out a plastic cooler bag. My heart ended up in my throat once again , I must have turned white, because Nana said
” are you alright what is wrong ?”
That silly, cheap, plastic cooler bag, I had forgotten its very existence. I never knew where it came from originally. We weren’t into Nascar – but there it was . They say your life flashes before your eyes when you drown- all I can say is your life flashes before my eyes every time I am confronted with an unexpected object , sight, sound that was you.
As I looked at that bag, Nana washing it out readying it for her pie, I remembered the orange slices and water it had kept cool for all those soccer games. I remembered grabbing it out of the cupboard on the morning you got married. I hated that day, my beautiful son dealing with chemo and the diagnosis of Hodgkin’s but still filled with false hope.
It was a record-breaking heat that June day, and I knew the ” family of the bride” would insist on the plethora of pictures being taken, driving here and there in the limo- I was so worried about how you would be able to handle the whole thing feeling ill as you were. – The Lombardi , Vyka clan were all about those pictures- still are.
I grabbed the bag threw in some of you favourite sandwiches and water , and orange slices. I knew you were feeling ill because the Chemo had been on the Thursday and its poison was killing ( supposedly) the cancer cells and your good cells- it knew no difference. I put the bag in the limo.
You hugged me at the reception and whispered in my ear –
I gave the bag to Nikki , she has it, thanks mum – couldn’t do justice to the sandwiches but the orange slices and water went down well thanks for thinking of it.
When the cancer came back and you couldn’t eat and the next round of “treatment” was prescribed I would come to sit with you in your apartment so Angela -your “bride” -could continue working- ( although I later found out that was not always the case as to her whereabouts). It didn’t matter to me then or now where she was – I know the truth of her and it is dark!
I just wanted to take care of my son, to try to keep the promises I made to you when you were born-
” I won’t let anything happen to you- I will protect you”
That cooler bag went with me every day for weeks whilst you were having your double stem cell transplant . You couldn’t bear the smell of the hospital food- the smell of the plastic covers keeping the food hot disgusted you. I would take a meal up in the cooler bag, your lunch and dinner, every single day to be heated in the hospital “family room” microwave. The orange whip, Nana would make you , so cooling ( full of calories) would slide down and not burn your mouth that was blistered by the chemo.
The last time I used that cooler bag- a phone call from Angela as I was shopping at KMart
” Chris said you were coming to spend the night should I get something for supper – she had to work that night”
– I was bewildered, as I was actually in Kmart getting new bed linens, as I believed you to be coming home for the weekend- after that disastrous and stupid idea of Angela’s stating you could drive back from Houston .
I was puzzled- she hadn’t said anything about working- You never mentioned to me in your morning phone call about needing me to come- just that you wanted to come home for the weekend . Oh! later I found out she was not scheduled to work that night- she requested to work at 4 in the afternoon WHY? . – Hindsight is 20/20
I packed the cooler with your favourite dinner and we ate together one last time in your home. You went into the clinic again the next morning – dying- never to come home.
I forgot about the cooler bag, left on the kitchen counter in that apartment of deceit as I followed the ambulance to the Cleveland Clinic ER.
I never thought of it again until we received 4 months after your death ( via the funeral home) the box of
“throw- aways”… because that was what they were- from the Lombardi Clan and Angela( now Angela Murphy DO http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display?doctorid=16147 ) along with her disgraceful, lacking in any sort of compassionate thought, letters- to your family who were raw with grief.
In the bottom of the box was the cooler bag -not good enough to keep obviously or to give to their charities . I couldn’t throw it away, it had been such a part of those months – so I stuffed it in a little used kitchen cupboard until ….. Nana’s sausage pie………….. and once more your last part of life flashed through my mind, the anguish, loss of hope, cruelty, the anger that has kept me upright and your last words .
I love you Chris- I will not forget you……..
This anniversary week , of what used to be love and celebration, has arrived and with it gulping pain. Gulping, because I hold my breath to stop the tears from burning my eyes, blinding me , trying to breathe and all that happens is I gulp for air as the tears flow unabated.
Chris, the day of your birth , as you left me to start a life of your own also found tears , tears of happiness , I gulped and tried to breathe as the contractions became intense , waves of pain then too, but at the end of the pain insurmountable joy. My son, you my beautiful baby boy, put into my arms for the first time.
There were wonderful birthdays that followed but I hadn’t been able to remember them because of your last birthday . Your first and then your last birthday and remembered pain
Once again in a hospital , but I was not surrounded by those that loved me, just clinical cold and vacuous clowns.
My whole being was fraught with worry that morning , my insides were shaking and sick with fear, what would they find? My son going under a surgeon’s knife – cutting into your neck to see if the obscenity of the curable cancer had once again beaten the ” treatment”.. I just wanted to go somewhere quiet away from chatter with my thoughts. I didn’t want to be polite. I just wanted peace.
They coffee clutched the time away with their frivolous discussions of fashions, cake , birthdays and celebrations seemingly without thought of how this would affect those that did truly love you ). If there ever was a time where I heard my own grandmother’s voice it was then ” Remember Loraine, breeding will out”
I wanted to scream and shake them as the grandmother decided it would be a good time for a betting game- we were all supposed to pick a time from the time your name came on the big board informing us you were now in the operating room as to how long it would take for you to be under the knife and the time of the surgery .
“Angela, (Ritchey now Murphy http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147 ) it isn’t fair though you can’t be part of this as being a doctor you would know the answer – giggle, giggle, giggle” Lisa what do you say? Frank? 45 minutes, 55? an hour?
and so it went.
Nikki had excused herself and I was left alone with them. I ignored the game as best I could and tried to ignore them, all the while wishing they were somewhere else – anywhere but there, but the puerile woman would not shut up –
Come on Loraine you must have a guess, join in – otherwise you won’t win! Angela , do we have time to go to the cafeteria – Loraine isn’t it your birthday too in a couple of days – it is Chris’ today isn’t it – will you have a party, what kind of cake, will your mother be baking one or two?
Shut Up! are you all so damned insensitive you can’t see your imbecilic diatribe is ripping me apart, I don’t care about your nonsensical games , I am in torment that my son will die- can’t you see our pain you stupid,selfish people?
So I haven’t even been given the gift of remembering HAPPY birthday, as the gift I received that last birthday was the gift of death.
Surrounded by the clowns of control who carried on their narcissistic thinking and behaviors until the day you died and beyond.
And yet, this week I did receive a gift of you. I don’t know why , then again maybe I do ,but a video tape ( yes a VHS tape) fell out of a bag in the garage, your father, curious, picked it up. None of us can remember how or why the tapes were in the garage of all places – the basement- I could see but why they were in the garage that sits at the end of the garden separate , full of tools and junk is beyond me.
The tape, was of your sister dancing at an event when she was 21. Your dad brought in the bag of VHS tapes and started to play them. There you were, once again, your childhood played out in the pool, on the soccer field , rowing boats , Christmas morning, skiing laughing and loving with us .
I could only watch a little bit at a time as it too caused pain that is indescribable but it affirmed to me the gift of ” her thoughts”- that Nikki and I wouldn’t like) I received from your bride Angela Marie Lombardi Ritchey Murphy ( now remarried )
you know the “healer” – the words –
“I think your intense love for Chris shielded you from getting to know who he completely was.
and not forgetting how Dr. Angela ( Ritchey) Murphy wrote 4 months after Chris’s death writing to tell me
my son although he would defend me even when I didn’t deserve it – would put me in my place-
Angela’s gift of compassion??? so thoughtfully given…..
Yes, as painful as it was to look at my son enjoying his life with his family before those cretans of control and the insidious crew of cruelty and self entered our lives- watching what I could bear to watch of those tapes only reminded me that
I knew my son and he loved us and his place was with us and still should be .
My gift to you , Chris is my heart, the truth, and your story, the book I promised to write for you !
and the hope that one day I will be able to look upon your face ……
Before I met my “Yank”- because north – south-east or west all Americans were “Yanks” in the British vernacular.
I spent an interesting couple of years being a “Temp” for the fashion and also the recording industry in London. This meant I got to meet and “party” with a lot of the people who made it in those industries and some that didn’t. I dated one chap ( not for long ) who was the event co-ordinator for EMI Records –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMI- which meant a lot of parties, concerts and events.
At one party, I sat on the stairs of the ‘house” with Ray Davies of the Kinks –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kinks who I must admit was talking a load of rubbish and I was soon bored . I believe that is the last time I went out with the EMI chap ;)I had met this “Yank”!
So what has the Kinks, Ray Davies and culture got to do with what has happened in my life since locating and the subsequent pain and angst caused by the Italian- Polish Roman Catholics of control? https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/kink-s-in-fathers-day-best-of-british-pt-one/
We have to go back in time once more – to my decision to marry my Yank– although I expected him to stay in England – he wished to go home as he knew and felt comfortable with being able to find employment in his country – he never was culturally comfortable in London-( apart from his love of the pubs) he hated the weather and preferred small town USA. He would , is where he was culturally formed and grew up.
I, on the other hand loved London, the big city sights and sounds, the transportation , trains, ferries – I could go to Europe for a week, the access to the English countryside, the lovely old world pubs and especially the food.
I had also lived in the equivalent of small town USA – Canadian style- for about 8 years until I was 15 so the reasoning was it wouldn’t be such a culture shock for myself to go the USA. I have to admit I thought of Boston, New York when I thought of the USA not Midwest America.
The clincher was my mother who said ( old school that she was )-
you have to follow your husband- that is how it is done when you marry
– and my father saying
“Loraine , one thing you have to remember is that you are going to his country, you must make the effort to acclimatize yourself to that way of life, be involved in their lifestyle and community. Do not make the mistake of comparing England with the USA learn the American Ways”
When my husband to be and I filled with the USAF the necessary paper work ( due partly to his security clearance at the time) I was investigated, interviewed ( I had been to Czechoslovakia which was a “red flag” ) had every aspect of my life scrutinized as well as my mum and dad. The shock on the face when meeting with one interviewer when this 19-year-old stated –she would like the investigated history of her fiancée as well was priceless. That didn’t happen, which was a shame because had I known then what I know now my husband would be speaking with an English accent 😉
and oppressive heat that July – I knew I was in trouble. I felt I had been picked up and dumped into a completely strange world. I hated every moment. My husband, comfortable in his world, could not understand my loneliness, my feeling of being trapped and isolated. There was no public transportation, , nowhere to go that I could walk to , where was the theatre, the discussions on world events. honestly I don’t think his family even knew there was a world outside the USA or even Ohio. I was totally dependent on strangers – even though we spoke the same language, I was drowning – terribly unhappy .
Getting employment was not that easy as the love of my life refused to work in a factory ( The Ford plant at the time) and take his coffee breaks by the bell. He was on a greyhound bus ( there apparently was one running between Sandusky and Cleveland) . He was on that bus as we had not yet been able to purchase a vehicle when to bus broke down in Lorain!
To be continued………
It has been week of homesickness, not only for the country of my birth- England, but for my traditional values and a culture that still remain such an integral part of who I am. My cousin, has been visiting the old days, the family stories pulled out again , and laughter- something that I have not had too much of since losing my son.
I feel trapped by the values of others, I feel trapped by the thinking of the majority or those that have the power of the rules. It amazes me sometimes how this my new “hometown” has , by the sheer majority of religious beliefs and ethnic values” so differing for my own, has caused such unhappiness to this family.
Of course, I am talking about the Italian/ Polish religious community headed by Father Divis ( read Roman Catholic of St. Mary’s Lorain ) and we can do whatever we wish to do because thinking of the Lombardi Vyka Clan ( and now the Angela Murphy) control.
My son’s remains trapped in their toxic ground – without benefit of family . Of course Angela Lombardi Ritchey Murphy http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
has moved on – dumped the possessions( that were not of any monetary value) and art work of my son– as soon as she could – after our Chris’s death but held onto those ashes. Why? she was done with Chris after the 2nd stem cell transplant failed- the show -put on was good for the “community” and they did it well! But never the less it was a show – Does she still require that “grave” place for the depositing of vodka , beer cans, cake and balloons?
I am amazed at the thinking – how does a woman profess to be a healer and turn around with such coldness and callousness of control as to deny a father his son in the darkest hour of any parent’s life?
I would ask any father, any mother reading this to look at your son or your daughter, imagine the horror of helplessly standing by watching them fight for each breath , nursing them every day of those last months of life, watching them die , having information kept from you by the “in law family, helpless and then have your flesh and blood and the last vestige of your child taken without your input or any consideration as to your wishes. Look at your son or daughter , try to imagine the pain and grief at losing them and you tell me tell me what these people did was right–
to put your son in a cemetery of their faith without you even being told they were doing so- and now of course “their moving on” Sue Lombardi , Tim Lombardi now mother and father in law to another Chris ( Murphy) – the do over wedding –
and all is forgotten but as long as my son remains in that place of disrespect- I will not forget.
We tip toe around the edges of Fathers Day- whilst his daughter tries so hard to be both of his children- the fact her brother is no longer here to share the breakfast at McDonald’s ( a tradition started when they were both little) . There is always the reminder Chris –
There is a tenaciousness being British- we don’t as a true Brit ever give up- I am not sure that is a good trait- so much easier to go with the flow- give in to the majority of put it away, move on, forget it, nothing we can do apathy , why try you are in the minority, thinking that pervades this community. But apart from being British I am also a mother and I carry my son in my heart and soul and his DNA in my body! Emotionally and physically he is with me still and always will be.
The waste of trying to make a difference lost on the “altars” of those who have the power.
So another Fathers Day- another reminder of wonder at the children given life- and another reminder of a death and a cruelty given to a Father who loved unconditionally.
To be continued
I am not sure what I am supposed to be feeling – Today at noon there was a wedding – all the hoopla and happiness that goes with it ……. The wedding of Angela Marie Lombardi Ritchey( Murphy)
to another Chris , Christopher Murphy.
lets dress him in his blue shirt and silver tie in the coffin,
and wanting so much to have his coffin at the funeral home to decorate,
is in her element I am sure decorating and dressing having hair and make up done and the whitening of the teeth……
In the normal way of things – had that family not caused so much pain , distress and ugliness as my son died – I would have wished the “daughter in law” well. But that wasn’t to be – Instead I wonder as she walks down the aisle at St. Johns -making further promises – whether she will remember a young man with a winning smile and a naivety as to what that family would do to his … ………. so I wish them “conscience” ………………………
Yes I am angry and bitter- they took our son , caused so much pain to his family by doing so – and there his remains – remain…. it was a despicable callous and
cruel act in the worst time any parent or sister could have .. by those that once again get on their knees and make promises in a well decorated church celebrating “love”—- they know not the meaning of the word.
I have become a hoarder of memories………..
T.s. Eliot;Andrew Lloyd Webber;Trevor Nunn
I sang that particular number, once a upon a time, in my days of theatre. I always identified with the lyrics – even more so now that my son has become a fading memory to the majority . The lines in bold – hold for me – a meaning of my life as morning dawns.
Not a sound from the pavement
Has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone In the lamplight
The withered leaves collect at my feet
And the wind begins to moan
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
The time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again
Every street lamp
Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
Someone mutters and the street lamp flutters
And soon it will be morning
I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin
Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning A street lamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning
It’s so easy to leave me
All alone with my memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You’ll understand what happiness is Look, a new day has begun
Some times I wish I had selective Alzheimer’s so that certain people and the cruelty of those days are lost.
As my own memories have become more about my life today, I have discovered I have an affinity with others and how precious their memories are and were.
How I wish I could ask my grandmothers more about the stories they used to tell, how I wished I had paid more attention , how I wished I had asked about their mothers, fathers and grandmothers as they “remembered.
I did have my mum write her memories down- but mum being mum wouldn’t write about the scandals of the day and to me the “more interesting” memories of “naughty stuff”. She has stored those way back in her attic memory and refuses to let me in…..
To Be continued …………….
In my previous posts I have been talking about Lorain’s history , especially the homes and occupants forgotten and sent to the landfill, it is a subject I will continue next week. However, whilst writing the posts on Peggy and seeing her “home’s possessions” piled up each Monday night for trash pick up Tuesday morning I am reminded this will happen to each and everyone of us sooner or later.
We are only “alive in memory” as long as someone cares to remember . Our precious artifacts of our lives are usually only ( unless they are worth money of course) as important to others who share those memories.
This was brought home to me when I had to clear out and move my mother into this house. My mum thought she would live out her days in the apartment, belonging to my brother-in-law, for the rest of her days. Because he is , in my opinion, an ingrate – that did not happen.
The first day of that “moving out process” I had mum with us to sort through what was important to her . We had to fit 6 rooms into 2. I realized after the first day this was not going to work, the things she had gathered around her in the 27 years she lived there ” were ALL important”, there were the gifts and memories of her life , some of which she had had through three moves across two continents and had kept safe during the blitz . As the morning wore on, I realized this sorting through her life and what to throw away was much too stressful for her then 92 years.
I had to sort out her things alone and make the decisions for her . But even then, although I knew most of the story behind most of the objects, some that were very important to her still ended up on the tree lawn. To this day she will say:
what did you do with such and such- your Aunt Maudie gave me that?
And I thought I KNEW what would be of greatest importance . It breaks my heart that she had to see her life as trash bags on the tree lawn. And I will never forget her pain or forgive the cretin who caused such angst and sorrow.
My daughter has requested we take pictures of all the walls and things in this house we have accumulated and let her know where we want anything to go, or the story behind each possession. But inevitably, we too, will end up on the back of the garbage truck.
My son’s possession were also given away and dumped by the then”in laws” soon after his death .
They are now someone else’s in laws and for that family they have my sincere condolences-
time will tell …….
Much to the amazement of Chris’s family, who did love and cherish him , Lombardis and co dumped him as quickly as they could apparently . After all, he seemingly wasn’t very important in their lives- he was but a nuisance, a bump in the yellow brick road , a bullet of illness to be dodged with a sigh of relief – but they kept the money and took his ashes and any closure from his grieving family!
Ahhh there it is…. money , profit and control. It is that caliber of thinking which is also reflects the historical homes of Lorain- unless there is money, grants and profit “kicked to the curb and on the back of the truck to the landfill”. The stories of “lives ” lost probably to be pondered over in some far off century as archeologists dig in the garbage dump of Lorain and wonder “what is the story behind this object ” ………..
The Restoration of Ancient Inscriptions
Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774), The Citizen of the World, Letter V:
Naples.—”We have lately dug up here a curious Etruscan monument, broken in two in the raising. The characters are scarce visible; but Nugosi, the learned antiquary, supposes it to have been erected in honor of Picus, a Latin king, as one of the lines may be plainly distinguished to begin with a P. It is hoped this discovery will produce something valuable, as the literati of our twelve academies are deeply engaged in the disquisition.”