Posts filed under ‘weddings and funerals’

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 5 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 1 comment

Oct. 3rd – the NON Viking funeral – Chris Ritchey

My mood has not changed, nothing seems to rouse me from my lethargic state of mind , not the ongoing hurricanes, the issues with Lorain, happiness when having one of my favourite people in the world visit- at least there was at last some laughter.

I have been Roku jumping from one channel to another from histories to murders and the ongoing documentaries of “end of life rituals” from around the world.

End of Life rituals- those rituals to give the dead their honor and due and supposedly give those that mourn some comfort and an outlet for their grief. Those were denied to your family by Tim and Sue Lombardi and their collective family , their daughter Angela of the do over Chris and wedding ritual, the Vyka, Gott, Zaworski, and Gonzales and even the “man of God- Father Daniel Divas . They took any honoring of your name Ritchey and any of our end of life ritual away from your family.https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/a-memory-of-vipers-chris-ritchey/

They could not take everything though from your aged grandmother , your father , sister, nephew and brother in law. As I was told of Angela’s ( a complete misnomer in that name in my opinion ) decision to withhold you from us and to take you that burying place- not of your faith and a place so intensely disliked by you (after experiencing their ritual of one of their own at that cemetery) and denying the time and place or knowledge of their rites to us . I knew that at least we had to try and I had to try to give to you what I could – to send your body from this dimension with love. Did those cretins of the cremains honestly believe I would let you go without honoring you and being involved in your goodbye? You were and are MY son I gave you life , I loved you in life , in death and now.

As I read the words of denial penned by your “bride” – I remembered the Viking ship. The ship you had to make for a class at LCCC- the brief- a piece of work made with all natural materials sourced from your home – you sat and carved and cut from a log from the wood pile, tree branches from your tree planted as a child, a piece of deer skin found in the garage and scraped down for the sail and finally burning not painting the decoration to add to the dimension.

I knew that Viking Ship which I carried around to college visits when you were transferring from LCCC was the closest thing I could do to give to you to honor the bravery of your fight against that disgusting disease. Your Nana called you her Viking and you were a warrior, so brave, hiding from us your pain. Something to show our love as well- the little England bear purchased from Harrods by you for me when you were returning from soccer in Manchester. I carried that little bear with me in those first dreadful days after you died whilst meanness , selfishness and grief fragmented us beyond all being . It was still damp from my tears.

So as your last journey took you into the flames we did our best to honor you , love you and negate the poison and irreverence shown by others, the items of love from us all- those denied – were with you ……. we still miss you every day and love you more than ever…….

October 2, 2017 at 9:58 pm 2 comments

June 3rd – Coma – Chris Ritchey

Think I Am – Chris Ritchey

I used to love June -NOW another month that causes anguish to the soul- although life is bursting , skies blue, roses red I can’t abide the ‘happiness’- the June Brides make me cringe. I remember, the day you married and by doing so brought with it the eventual pain that was “gifted” to your family by those “people”

Lombardi (Vyka etc. )and Company

The “wedding anniversary” is also the day this year when the “Clinic” will “dispose of what was left of your life essence.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/april-3rd-sample-of-life-chris-ritchey/

And here it was -the Clinic apparently had not “disposed of ” (their term) the sample upon your death as contracted . Now, I have to make the decision to call them re maintaining the samples – should I do nothing they will commence the disposal on what would ironically be your wedding anniversary !!!!

I have looked at the letter from those “other “doctors” telling me to make a legal decision otherwise they will dispose of….

I could not bring myself to ring them, or contact them – like an indecisive coward – I couldn’t bring anymore “finality ” into my being, I couldn’t make the decision, I couldn’t revisit the finality. I am not strong enough to face the reality of that. I know that by doing nothing the procedure of disposal will take place on what would have been your “wedding anniversary”. I wish I could dispose of those memories as easily but they come into being every June and with them the disgust I feel for the hypocrites of their religion. I am sickened by the controllers and “do overs”.

I wish things could have been different, that it was me that went on your last journey – not you. The memories of those last days and hours constantly being pushed away from conscious thought so I can “maintain some sort of balance”

Chris’ face book icon


Again the wondering and worrying of what was happening to you as you lay in that damned clinic like a lab rat on show. Could you hear as I sang to you, talked to you – tubes running everywhere. I asked for the Drs. to stop talking over you like a piece of meat that was cut off from “life”. I knew, as watched the stats, saw the rise in heart beats when they did that or when Sue Lombardi entered the room. (one of the reasons the head nurse expelled her as her presence aggravated you). Wanting “the invited others” by the Lombardis and co to leave the room as they did their collective death watch. I was frightened that if I did cause an issue it might effect or upset you and you unable to respond. Did you hear conversations? Did you know?

It was after you died and I was contacted by a young woman from the east coast in another June , she too was dying, going through the journey of hope with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma recurring , the trials, the chemo, the numerous hospital stays the days of dying.


Hi Lorraine, This is XXXXXXXX. I hope you still use this email. I found it in a post from Sept. Your blog is fantastic. Thank you so much for writing. It’s great to get a sense of the parents perspective. It’s a vision my parents like to keep from me. Take care.

We talked, via email, of how I felt and your dad as she was trying to help her parents and what they were feeling as they were being “brave”

She asked me if there was anything she could do to help me understand what you went through . I told her about your dad and how when he was intubated, after open heart surgery, in a induced coma and flooded with drugs as to how , although we could not see any movement , no squeezing of hands- he KNEW everything that we were saying and how awful it was to be trapped in his own mind.

http://www.jems.com/articles/print/volume-33/issue-1/patient-care/intubation-101-what-do-what-ca.html
In her case she too, numerous times had been intubated, drugged, paralized and comatose although she had managed to go through that so many times. Her Hodgkin’s came back 14 times before she eventually passed, she was still hopeful at the very end.
What she told me that email that June did help me some.


“your thoughts rush.. come in fragments .. you hear voices… see colors… , the movement is jarring yet you know you are not moving … you are between…. floating and yet tied… you struggle at times to surface as if drowning…

Assignment – Chris Ritchey-CIA


When you are brought back from the “sleep” you can’t really remember if you are waking from a bad dream , if the voices you heard are real and then you forget and move on to the next days. The doctors said I was dreaming that I couldn’t hear but I did tell one about his problem he was telling Nurse ( name given) , he was annoyed because someone had taken his parking place and he “was going to find out who”. He was very surprised.

She told me , for her, although what was happening was frightening she knew she was surrounded by her husband, mother , father and sister and they were keeping her safe. and that you drift in and out not knowing really what was or is real. ” it is all real your reality – to live with”

I have clung to her words , as a mother, hoping against hope that as you lay there those last days, never to come off that tube, you didn’t know the circus your dying was turning into – hoping that you thought you were dreaming and would awaken to sunlight not hearing the “dying words” – and you knew we loved you and still do

artwork Chris Ritchey

June 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm Leave a comment

July 3rd – the cooler bag – Chris Ritchey

chrisart collage

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 ?”

cooler bagres

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.

chrissoccer7
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. lombardivyka clan

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!
baby

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 .
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/i-didnt-know-my-son-chris-ritchey/

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.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi


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. nanachris
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……..

July 3, 2015 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

The Birthday and those between- Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life - Celtic Knot - Chris Ritchey

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

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.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/birthday-chris-ritchey-and-the-chris-miss-present/

artwork Chris Ritchey

artwork Chris Ritchey

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?


lombardivyka clan
I wanted to reach across the arm of the chair , as she prattled, joined by her granddaughters, and throttle her. I wanted to scream at them

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?

nikchrcoll

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.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/crushed-by-the-calendar-of-cancer/
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 .
chriarms
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 )
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/the-bliss-of-a-wedding-not-for-me-ritchey-murphy/
you know the “healer” – the words –

Angela by  Chris Ritchey

Angela by Chris Ritchey

“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-

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/mothers-day-what-degree-a-mothers-love-and-who-decides/
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 .

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/september-3rd-war-movin-on-hell-truly-is-other-people-chris-ritchey/
My gift to you , Chris is my heart, the truth, and your story, the book I promised to write for you !
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/july-3rd-the-story-the-book-chris-ritchey/

and the hope that one day I will be able to look upon your face ……

Heart of Thorns- artwork Chris Ritchey

Heart of Thorns- artwork Chris Ritchey

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/who-you-gonna-call/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/birthday-chris-ritchey/
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/birthday-chris-ritchey-august-21st-2013/

August 21, 2014 at 12:21 am 8 comments

Kink(s) Culture Shock – Best of British Pt 2

noengag1

Before I met my “Yank”- because north – south-east or west all Americans were “Yanks” in the British vernacular.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yankee

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/yankee
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/

Scanres

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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 😉

So we set off for Sandusky, Ohio- and as soon as I hit the “homestead” of tract houses in Venice Heights-
venice

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………

June 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm 4 comments

Kink (s) in Father’s Day- Best of British! Pt. One

emglandres

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.
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/bishop-lennon-due-respect-beliefs-the-dead-and-calvary-cemetery-lorain/
divis
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?
lombardivyka clan

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

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
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/the-bliss-of-a-wedding-not-for-me-ritchey-murphy/

wedding bells and black hearts

wedding bells and black hearts

and all is forgotten but as long as my son remains in that place of disrespect- I will not forget.

chris dad mistyFathers Day
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/fathers-day-2011-time-passes/

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 –
chrismeresglow1
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

June 15, 2014 at 3:43 pm 4 comments

The Bliss of a Wedding- Not for me Ritchey/ Murphy

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)
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
to another Chris , Christopher Murphy.
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=92987
dr dirty  dancing

Sue Lombardi Lorain
Mother Sue Lombardi , she of the

lets dress him in his blue shirt and silver tie in the coffin,


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

and wanting so much to have his coffin at the funeral home to decorate,
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/an-open-letter-mama-sue-lombardi/

is in her element I am sure decorating and dressing having hair and make up done and the whitening of the teeth……

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/01/14/the-visitation-or-what-to-decorate-is-the-question/

2531190380_0eb8a4aedb

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.

April 26, 2014 at 4:12 pm 11 comments

“Burnt out ends of smokey days- Lorain-Memory

memo

I have become a hoarder of memories………..

Memory –
Songwriters
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.

Midnight
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

Memory
All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember
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

Daylight
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

Touch me
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.

lombardivyka clan Lombardi, Vyka Clan …..a wedding of woe…

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, I bury them, dismiss them in one of the smaller attics of my mind but every so often they tumble out bringing with them the dust of despair and disbelief.
Kencanscen

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.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/lorain-history-changes-kicked-to-the-landfill/

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.

mybookI 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 …………….

April 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

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