Posts tagged ‘death’

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

NO LIMITS

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

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Transition

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

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

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

Fetal-maternal microchimerism

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

Fetal Microchimerism

It is a fact…. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those of the Jewish Faith have their own beliefs:

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

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

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

Essence – Chris Ritchey

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

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

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

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

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

“We are pregnant”.

I specifically  said:

“Let me tell Chris. “

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

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

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

I don’t know Chris I  just knew ..

Maybe it was that Fetal-maternal microchimerism .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

darkness of grief Kathe Kollwitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To  be continued…..

 

 

 

 

August 3, 2022 at 12:44 am 3 comments

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

 

NO LIMITS

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

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OMEGA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“OH it is Chris”

I looked at her and thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

artwork Chris Ritchey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 they were choosing his “laying out clothes”

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

Sue Lombardi

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

Angela –

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Sue Lombardi:

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

To  be continued ……..

 

July 3, 2022 at 1:51 pm 2 comments

June 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 29- Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

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

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A losing of function

Note: I have been dreading this chapter all month. I have put it off, shoved the memories back into  their dwelling place.  As my  self- imposed deadline of the 3rd of the month loomed, I ran emotionally  from remembering. My   conscious thought  telling me

“don’t go  there ” , you  can’t go  back to  that time, your well being is at stake. You  survived that day  because it was so  surreal and you  were protected  by   “unbelievability” as to  what was actually  happening. You were tired, emotionally  exhausted things happening were cushioned with  incredibility , the  -this is not happening syndrome.

Days passed  and the closer the 3rd of June  came  the more I ran from this writing.  I couldn’t bring myself to  do  this , but the nights were different perspective altogether, I  lay awake for hours, although  exhausted , I would watch  the moon in its phases  lighting the bedroom  causing   the tree to outside cast its  dancing shadows on the wall.

Everything in me has fought this moment, but here it is June the 2nd, 2022 and I am remembering the most painful day  of my  life and “my death” as well. You  see, and I  know those of you that have lost a son or daughter  know the very  moment that happens , you  lose who  you  are too. You  are not the same and you  never will be ………

For days I  sat by  your  side , those last three days being in the new Medical ICU unit were dreadful. Not only  did the nurses and doctors not know who  I  was, and I  was too tired to  explain, I  was falling apart emotionally  and physically. Weeks of wearing the paper medical masks ( since they  insisted you  had H1N1), because that is what Angela had told them in ER and of course why  question  the “doctor in waiting”.

The mask, the dryness of the room and the stress had caused the skin under my  nose to  blister and scab. I, apparently,  was somewhat allergic to  those particular masks. One lovely  nurse gave me ointment to  help.  There was no ointment for my  swollen, to  nearly  three time their regular size, my  legs.  In this unit , there was not  comfortable arm chair. This unit obviously  did not want visitors so  the only  chair was a metal folding chair.  Sitting on the cold hard metal , not moving holding his hand, only  getting up  to  put a cool facecloth  on his burning brow.  I was reminded every time I  did so   by  the marks left on your scalp  as they  had pulled off the  brain wave electrodes, the  skin was sore and red  and the hair gone  and slight bleeding.  Someone obviously  had no  thought for my  son as they  pulled those off, but he was dying anyway! I  noticed a lot of that sort of attitude in that unit, so  different from the previous ICU.

Photo source http://www.neurowavesystems.com/

And so  it was the night of December 2nd. I  had gone , as usual walked to  the unit with  my  husband about 10 pm. The Lombardi  clan hovering  in the corridors  talking tacos. I  had no  wish  to  see.

Nikki  was exhausted ,  having to breastfeed the baby  and dealing with  everything. Jim had brought the baby  up  to  the hotel. Nikki  hadn’t any  pajamas and had purchased a pair at the gift shop. Unlike my  lime green creation I  had purchased, the one pair  she had to  buy  was  two  piece pink, chocolate and white striped . I  remember thinking they  reminded me of Neapolitan ice cream.

I was surprised , as we headed to  the unit to  see two  of Chris’ high school friends. What were they  doing there????? , Apparently,  Angela  had been sending out texts

if they  wanted to  see Chris before he died they  should come” 

I cannot honestly  remember what I  said to  them , but I  don’t think  I  was very  pleasant. However, it  explained why  Chris’ nurse was flustered as we walked into  our son’s room

“You  know  there are visiting hours we can’t have all you  people coming in and out all night long”

I explained  who  I  was and why  I  would be sitting there all night , at least until rounds in the morning. If they  needed me to  move I  would but I  would not be leaving my  son. She explained that during her shift people had been in and out. I  told her :

she would have to  take that up  with  his wife because I certainly  was against anyone coming into  see him in this condition. He would have hated it. 

My  husband went back to  the  hotel room . I  continued to  sit in that glass bubble of a world, a young woman ( presumably  a Doctor) would look through  the glass at the monitors. I hoped Chris could hear me I  hummed the lullabies of his childhood, talked softly   as to  how much  we loved him, that Nikki  and Jim were there., anything to  try to  give him comfort, trapped as he was, encased in machines.

My inner thoughts , I did not say  outloud , I spoke them silently

” Please Chris you  have to  turn a corner soon , I just don’t know how much  longer I  can hold up, please Chris

Nurse Nicole , it was her first week in that particular ICU came in to  say  they  would be bathing him  and I  could stay  and help  if I  wished. I told her

No!  he would hate me to  be there for that and I  would go  and get something to  drink and come back.

After  a while I  went back into  the ICU , I asked whether they  had been continuing the eye drops as  his eyes were partially  open and I had been told it could cause issues if they  weren’t moisturized regulary  after he came off the vent.

She went away  to  get  an OK and came back, I said did she notice the urine bag had blood in it. No!  that wasn’t like that before, I  will check let me put the drops in.   It was 3 am  and she looked at me and said

“his pupils are fixed and dilated “

Fixed and moderately dilated pupils are seen in brain death because of the loss of both sympathetic and parasympathetic influences.

She then left to  call for the  head of the unit.  All hell broke loose as a male  Doctor , whomever he was , and the nurses  as they  came to  our room, the man in the next room decided to  have an episode  and apparently  passed.  I  waited  and then the nurse said the Doctor had ordered a scan. I called Angela and told her what the nurse had said and waited.

It was 5 am by  this time , Angela appeared at the desk with  the Doctor,  who  had glanced into  the room at that stats at least twice during the night . She and Angela chatted as if I  didn’t exist .

Angela asked what was the prognosis?

OH ! this is the first night he had held his own

– Angela

Cool Beans! we now have to feed my boy

Dr. We have to do something about a bowel movement first

As I stood there like some peripheral groupie I mentioned the scan and that

“the ICU nurse was very concerned as his pupils were fixed and dilated and had called the Neurologist for a scan”


The Elephant Run-by Chris Ritchey

Two faces and pairs of eyes ” in the know medical (Drs.?) turned and looked at me like I was some sort of “ignorant irritant”

That young woman. presumably  a Doctor,   – I don’t remember her name just her face- I had seen it through the early morning hours looking at the monitors through the glass – never once coming into the room – said:

Oh I am not worried he is on a boat load of medication

Giggles from the “Dr. to be Ritchey ( Angela)

Oh! he is on enough medication to fill up an elephant heehehehehee!

I had such  a bad feeling  but I  had to  sleep, I  left them chatting and went back to  the room . I went to  the chaise lounge by  the window where I  could see his room across the way. I fell instantly  into  a desperate sleep only  to   be woken by Nikki-

Mum you have to go back

– I said

Nikki I can’t- I can’t even stand

and she said

Mum, you have to something is wrong- I will come down as soon as Jim gets here to take Gavin

I rushed through the hallways- to this day I have no idea what clothes I had on…. I found my son’s room empty  of the usual “clan”– no one was with him I went in- a new nurse said

You are wanted in the conference room for a family  meeting

-I said

my husband is there I am not leaving my son alone I promised him-

Nurse

YOU HAVE TO GO!

I looked at this officious nurse and said

“I DON’T “HAVE” TO GO ANYWHERE OR DO ANYTHING I AM NOT LEAVING MY SON ALONE!

It was then Nikki arrived – still in  the Neapolitan pajamas purchased from the hospital gift shop- like some bizarre clown outfit. I remember thinking Chris would find it funny.

She said:

Mum you go I will stay with Chris I promise

The meeting that day was about taking Chris off the vent they the hospital and they  needed me there as they  

“didn’t want any trouble”

They needed my permission as well as his wifes- I had the night before made sure that the staff were now aware that Nikki and I were also on his paperwork.

The Doctor, who  chatted about bowel movement and holding his own  just 2 hours previously   was now saying his brainstem ( after looking at the scans) had collapsed and he was effectively  brain dead.

Brainstem death is a clinical syndrome defined by the absence of reflexes with pathways through the brainstem – the “stalk” of the brain, which connects the spinal cord to the mid-braincerebellum and cerebral hemispheres – in a deeply comatose, ventilator-dependent patient. Identification of this state carries a very grave prognosis for survival; cessation of heartbeat often occurs within a few days, although it may continue for weeks if intensive support is maintained.

The Dr. explained what would happen and our options and what each option would mean when they did this-one option being surgery  to  release the pressure on the brain.  What ever they  did they were going to have to wait until one of the medications which  paralyzed him  wore off so it would be a little while.

NOTE: I  cannot write anymore as the dying time took all day and horrors of heartbreak and ignorance continued to pummel me and my  family.  There was no  kindness in this dying … I will have to  continue on the next 3rd

to  be continued……..

June 3, 2022 at 11:17 am 3 comments

March 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 26- Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

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

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WINTER OF WEEPING that never ends………… 

NOTE: It is said that time heals and spring and new life replaces  the dark dreary days of winter. Those of the sisterhood of grief , especially  those who  have lost a soul and child of their body  and heart, winter never ends. You  are still lost in those days , you see glimpses of life  and happiness, but you  are never again whole. You  see when you  lose your child  you  and the person you  were – leaves with  themwhen they  draw their last breath. 

You  don’t even look the same, you  may be thinner, put on weight  , age more quickly, your eyes smart with too many  tears, lines appear around your eyes and mouth , not the lines of age but of pain. You  are wary , looking out for those moments that assault you  as you  go  about your daily  routine. Oh  you  smile at the correct moments, you  try  to  join in with  life , but no  matter the days, months even years  the only  thing that gets better is you  can hide  the heart break just a bit better. You  have learned who  you  can reach out , who  doesn’t flinch  when you  want to  talk about you  child. Those who  are patient and those who  are understanding because they  too are members of the Sisterhood of Grief. 

 

I wrote the following  five months after Christopher passed from this world. And  all these years later nothing has changed……  Photo Credit – Virginia Mak

The Sisterhood

It was Thanksgiving. I was alone with  Chris, everyone was with  family . I sat by  his bedside , he couldn’t talk a lot due to  the oxygen mask , I  read, although  I  had no  idea what I  was reading . I would, when he closed his eyes, drink in every   part of my  son, the contours of his face , his hands on the the sheet, his arms strong still listened to  every  breath he took , movement, sound  he made.  That day,  the sun shone in the window, and the beard  he had been growing had become  more pronounced.

He grew the facial hair after he lost all of his hair due to the horrendous chemo sessions  and stem cell transplants. I think  he did so  because it was a sign  his body  was trying to get back to  normalcy.  The last time he and his Nana were together at Nikki’s she stroked his face and the beginnings of his beard and said :

Chris you  are truly  my Viking and that is how I will think of you , brave and golden.

I was filling my  memory of my  son,  every feature , nuance and aspect of  my  son that  morning of Thanksgiving.  The  sunlight caught his face  and the golden red of his beard .  My  Viking.

I didn’t want him to  see me lose it  so  I  excused myself and went to  the waiting room.  Thankfully  there was no  one there  and I wept with  the pain of “WHY”?????????????

When I  finally  pulled myself together and returned to  the room he was sleeping . I sat quietly,  hardly  daring to  breathe, I  had always been told  that sleep is how the body  heals. I was clutching at anything I  could find to  give me hope, willing whatever strength  I  had to  somehow  be miraculously  given to  him by some  magical umbilical chord of life.

He woke , pulled down his oxygen mask and asked for a sip  of water. Those were the last words he spoke to  to  me , not his last words, but the last thing he ever asked of me . I  held the bottle of water with the hospital straw , he took a small sip and immediately  started choking….

All Hell broke loose nurses cand people came rushing into  the room and someone grabbed hold of my  arm and ushered me out into  the still empty  waiting room.  I  didn’t know what was happening, I  knew it wasn’t good…..  The “code blue ” over the pa system. Drs.,  interns , nurses came rushing along the corridor and then two  technicians  with  a ventilator .

I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think  I was frozen , everything was falling away  from me , no-one to hold me up, no  where to  go  , what  should I    do ?,

WHY?????????? for God’s sake why……… NOOOOOOO this can’t happen…… . I was shaking with  cold and tears.

After what seemed an eternity , one of Chris nurses came out to  the waiting room with  a cup  of hot chocolate,  she said

“it is OK he has been put on the vent to  help  him breathe, he has been sedated , the Dr. will be out in a moment  drink  this “

But you  see, I knew from that first day  of diagnosis  all through

  the  best cancer to  have, just 6 rounds of Chemo, 95 percent cure rate ,

because I had always known  that damned cancer  was winning. I had fought down my knowing and fears, I had embraced hope, prayers ,  medicines, trials , anything to  fight the obscenity  of death that was coming for my  son.  I  had seen the fear on his face as they all came rushing in, the silent tears that fell from his eyes, and I heard his last words he ever spoke……....

I tried to call someone, anyone but I couldn’t make my  fingers work or my  brain, I don’t remember breathing , I  stood there  thinking this must be what shock is.

Finally  the Dr. came in , I will call her Dr. RA, hers is the only  name  I remember from that day. The first thing she said was

“Would you  like a priest ?” 

No!  I  don’t want a damned priest , what good is he, to  give me comfort! blessings !NO I want someone to  stop  my  son dying….. not religious platitudes that don’t mean a thing. 

I didn’t say that out loud , all I  could manage was

No, is Chris critical.

She looked at me and said:

Oh! he has been critical since he came in , has no-one mentioned that to you , he is dying. 

Then she left. The nurse came back to check on me and helped me call Angela, my husband and my son in law.

Angela was the first to arrive, with her sister,

Is he dead? 

I shook my  head  and she went into the ICU , Her sister chatted on about how she broke the speed limit to get there. And then the  clan of Lombardi  arrived  with  cold mashed potatoes, congealed gravy, turkey  and pumpkin pie, chatting about  leftovers would be good in the microwave if this was going to  be a long night ……..  and I  thought.. who  are these awful  people  chatting and laughing whilst my  son is dying about leftovers and time.

Time no  longer existed in my  world it had stopped…………

THIS  be HELL …. I must have died……………………………. could have been the only explanation 

 

To  be continued………………..

March 3, 2022 at 1:06 pm 3 comments

February 3rd- NO LIMITS- Chapter 25-Chris Ritchey

NO LIMITS

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

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Circus from Hell

The next morning ,after the fiasco of   the Lombardi’s clever ideas as to  how to  get a young man who  couldn’t breathe or walk  more than two  feet without aid  and my  outrage as to  what they  were planning, Angela came in from her shift at the hospital.

Angela ritchey DO photo Chris Ritchey

I  found out later she wasn’t scheduled for that shift but asked to  change. I never did find out why . Chris , was not doing well and it was decided to  tell Chris he was going to  have to  go  back into  the Clinic.  He didn’t take it well a plastic water bottle flew across the room and hit the wall. I was pleased , believe it or not, it showed he still had strength  and fight left in him.

Then it began, the rescue squad having to  get him down the apartment stairs , Angela riding in the ambulance, me following the ambulance as I  had no  clue where I  was going.  Nine hours in the ER as there was no  room in the Medical ICU. Phone calls back and forth. Angela telling the attending physician he had been diagnosed with  H1NI. I  was perplexed this was the first I  heard of it .  I kept thinking

that isn’t right why  is she saying that , was I  being kept in the dark again? I believed that damned flu shot was causing issues. If he had HINI why  were they trying to  send him back  to  Houston, none of this was making sense..

well not then anyway.

Clowns – artwork Chris Ritchey

Chris was finally  sent to  the Neurological ICU as there was no  room in the Medical ICU.

And we waited , Sue and Tim arrived and my  husband  and the days turned into  one long nightmare.  Chris was admitted on the Saturday  before Thanksgiving .  I would fall asleep  in the chair . I  promised Chris he would never be alone and at first it worked reasonably  well I would trade off with  Angela during the day  but the nurses let me stay  in the room in a chair at night.

Then since they  couldn’t figure out what was going on it was decided he must have H1N1. This meant  we were fully  masked and gowned when we went into  his room. I watched my  son’s every  movement, every  heart beat , every  drop or rise in oxygen levels.

I sat there hour after hour trying to  find away  to  give him strength , doing the deals with  whomever ran the universe, all the time remembering my  premonitions and fighting them back down into  my  sub conscience.

Finally  exhaustion got the better of me, I  could no  longer see straight or sit in that waiting room . Nikki  arranged to  get me a room at the Intercontinental Hotel attached to  the Clinic so  I  could walk back and forth.   I had some clothes with  me from the Friday  but they  were in the trunk  of my  car and I  hadn’t a clue where it was.  My  mum had packed a small carrier bag with change of underwear and blouse and sweater sending it up  with  my  husband.

I needed a few things  so  I  bought a pair of pajamas in the Clinic Gift shop. The only  ones in my  size were bright   lime green, terribly  unflattering but then again no-one would be seeing me in in them, a toothbrush, deodorant etc. I  made my  way  to  the lobby  of the hotel  through  the hospital  feeling terribly  afraid and alone. There was some funny  looks when my  only  luggage was an Aldi’s carrier bag.  Still the credit card was good.

I went to  the room, had a shower put on my  lime green pj’s and called room service.  Well of course I  had no  robe and hadn’t thought , the waiter brought in the food on a trolley , whatever he thought of the vision in green he saw before him  he didn’t show a change in face as this little fat woman in lime green pj’s ( that were a little tight) and red hair signed the  chit.

 

I ate my  first decent meal in days and fell into  the bed and passed out.  I slept till the evening and  was going back through  the corridors to  the hospital when I saw two  nurses helping a woman walk .  I realized from the conversation as I  went passed  she was Carla Nash , the lady  who  had been attacked by  a  chimpanzee and was at the clinic  after having a face transplant. I thought they  seem to  be able to  work miracles , will there be one for my  son and a little hope crept back into  my  being. I  saw the trio on more than one occasion  and my  heart went out to  her.

There were other stories during those hours and days as we waited and hoped.

An elderly  man,  some thing of a musician  from what I  gathered from a conversation in the waiting room of hell ,   was dying in the next room. His wife sat by  his bed all day. Later that evening Chris’s nurse asked if it would bother us if his daughter, who  was in one of the symphony  orchestras.  could play  for her father.

As I  sat there masked and gowned and closed off in our glassed in room, the faint sound of a violin  drifted through  the air . It was so surreal , this beautiful piece of music like some heavenly  message easing her fathers passing and reminding me how much  love and pain was happening on the other side of the wall , but beautiful at the same time . The music stopped and so  apparently  had the life of one more human being and their story.

 

 

 

There were of course other stories

The mum who  had been brought in with  a brain aneurism , her family  gathered in the the small ICU waiting room, the tears, the worry , the hope. I don’t know what happened to  her . Others whose lives  crashed into  ours  in that room and then left some in tears and some transferred out of ICU with  smiles. .

After three  days  of no  sleep and actually  pretty  much  on my  own  as far as my  family  I was ready  to  drop .

Once the diagnosis of H1N1 was decided upon  Nikki  and the new baby  couldn’t be put at risk, my  mum  90 , couldn’t take a chance  with  her  and my  husband could only  come for an hour or so. He hated hospitals, Chris knew that  and we knew if he was there holding vigil with me  Chris would KNOW how much  danger he was in , so it had to be…

” Oh  Dad is coming in for a visit”  

There I  was alone in that waiting room from hell. The Lombardis, as Sue stated “will  circle around Angela” , I  definitely  was excluded from that circle. And they  did  numbers of them all chatting and laughing and living. It was so  hard .

Do  you  pray  Loraine? You  aren’t Catholic are you , what plans are you  making ? Do  you  like Tacos? 

However, when Sue was present  it was doubly  hard, she used to  do  and say  the most inane things and it took everything I  had to  keep  my  mouth  shut.

One particular day I got summoned by the nurse in ICU.

Is Chris’s mother in law  attached to  a medical practice? 

No  , why  would you  ask that ?

You  will have to  talk to  your daughter in law , please.  We know SHE is a resident and the nurses don’t want to  make a big deal, but her mother is making a nuisance of herself, going to  talk to  the nurses and looking it at the other patients and giving advice. 

Also,   your daughter in law’s friend has come in and changed the setting  the oxygen machine ( she was also  a resident) and we have had to  reset it, that can’t happen. 

That day I  had to  mention to  one of the sisters that

“Sue was  being Sue and causing concern in the ICU and could someone please tell her not to  continue in that vein”

THAT  did not go  down very  well. They  shot the messenger! Talk went to  a minimum but actually  that was a blessing in disguise.

Even the Clinic security made the “Mother of my Hell “ prove she wasn’t a homeless person camping out in the waiting room with sleeping bags , pillows and food . Why  they  didn’t get themselves a room if they were going to  continue to  “circle Angela” I broached the subject: ,

Sue said Oh no!  far too  expensive!!!!!!”

Well there is plenty  in the account from the fundraiser   isn’t there  at least 35 thousand, you  could use that , after all that is why we had that fundraiser . Oh and by  the way  can I  have the list of donors for Thank Yous. I  have Nikkis list and mine but I know there were so  many  others!

I couldn’t credit her answer  and I  was perplexed :

Sue Lombardi –
“We don’t want people to know the full amount – we aren’t publicizing that. I have opened a safe deposit box for the cash – Angela has access” How do you  know the amounts ?

Obviously  Chris  told me , why  wouldn’t he? He was very  grateful to  everyone that donated. 

 

I said to Chris after one particularly stressful evening

Oh ! Chris you owe me lunch for this, being in that holding area with  them.

 

( having to put up with them and trying to keep my mouth shut – not an easy thing for me, . We certainly  had nothing in common except what I  supposed was the love of our children.  and Chris knew how hard it was 🙂 )

and a lobster lunch at that.

 

He smiled and moved his oxygen mask and said :

” keep them out of here and I will buy you dinner too !”

Most days and nights bled into  one another . I  had no  clue as to  the time of day  of day  of the week. I  would surface for a bit  and memory  comes in fragments of those days of crisis. It is only  as I  write  some flash  of a forgotten memory  of those days in no  particular sequence  come back. ……. and my  gut tightens , a sick feeling comes into  my  soul, an ache for my  child overwhelms me once more .

 

To  be continued……..

February 3, 2022 at 2:29 am 3 comments

Sept. 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 8- Chris Ritchey

 

No Limits- The book

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

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

After the Wedding- Chapter 8

All during the trip  to  Europe  I  was in a state of panic . I  tried not to  show my  fear, after all Nikki  was pregnant it was a time of celebration, of being with   family  and supposedly   moving forward with   hope  and happiness.  No  matter how I  tried I could not quell the terror that would  shake me awake at night or in unguarded moments transport me to  a dark place.

I wasn’t alone in this thing called premonition, Chris as a little boy had dreams and premonitions too. They faded as he grew or maybe he just didn’t pay attention to them. The day  I brought my  son home from the hospital, I sat gazing at his little flushed faced and those  eyes , new to  the wonder of a world  experienced for the first time and my  mother admiring her new grandson , I  heard myself saying as I  looked at my  miracle and said out-loud as my  mum sat with  me – he will have a sad life! I don’t know what made me say it, I put it down to post-partum nonsense but I was always, in hindsight,  since that utterance tried  to make sure Chris’ life would not be sad. I spoiled him and loved him, laughed with him, enabled him and tried everything I could to protect him.

After Chris had completed his radiation treatments and  we were finally  over our “European Flu” , my  husband and I  were invited to  the newlyweds  apartment  for dinner.  I  hadn’t seen Chris in a couple of weeks he had been travelling out of state for Wyse  Advertising in his position as an Art Director. He had the Meineke Account and they  were shooting a new ad based on Chris’ ideas  which  would be aired on CNN and on the Meineke Bowl December 27th 2008.

 

As I walked into their apartment that evening in November 2008 my  arms full of wine and flowers , my son was sitting in “his” chair – one he had purchased after the wedding- men always have to have “their chair”. I  stopped short  as I  looked at my  son – something was wrong, his eyes, dark circles , pallor I  knew it was not good, but he had been through a lot and was back at work; logical reasoning’s  flooded into my  thought process but I knew   all the while knowing  this wasn’t good. I smiled and said:

I will just give these things to Angela, talk to your dad, I will be back in a second.

I joined Angela in the small kitchen , I  had hoped that my  wariness of her , which I  had felt from the first day  I  was introduced to  her, would have dissipated now they  were married. But no! it hadn’t, there was something that made me uncomfortable around her, something that made me try too hard with her, not be me. I remember thinking:

she is like her mother in so many ways but there has to be something I am not seeing in her that Chris does.

I knew from Chris’s  own lips, Sue Lombardi, the mother in law, was an irritant to him and didn’t gladly suffer her.  There were times my son used the cancer and fatigue as an excuse NOT to go to the Lombardi gatherings, and yet was well enough to join Jim and others at the Irish pub.

Angela, Chris does not look well to me is he OK…. is this the after effects of the treatment?

 

Oh No! she said

he caught cold on the trip  for Wyse – flying you tend to pick up stuff and his immune system is down because of the chemo and radiation. He is on antibiotics from the Dr. at South Pointe. 

I felt somewhat relieved, after all she was now a resident, the hospital staff knew Chris and his situation and so we sat down to dinner. I couldn’t take my eyes off my son, even though I was careful not to let him see I was looking and the quiet fear became a deafening roar.

Thanksgiving 2008 came, Angela was working (supposedly), I  am not sure to  this day  that I  believed that .. I  felt that she wanted to  spend  Thanksgiving with  her family  and Chris with  his, so  they  decided  to  each  go  their  own way and Chris would go  to  Lombardi’s for dessert.

Chris sat as his usual place at the dining room table. I realized I hadn’t really seen Angela but a couple of times, and then only briefly, since they had been married. Chris would come to Nikki’s every weekend but never did Angela stay, she was usually with her family.

 

I had cooked Chris all his favorite dishes that Thanksgiving Day but they largely went untouched. After he left to join Angela at her mother’s, Nikki was worried:

We have to do something, Mum, something is not right with Chris, I don’t care what Angela says he is ill.  .

 

Chris had been scheduled for a PET Scan  but he didn’t want Christmas to  be a blow out  so  he scheduled the scan after Christmas. We had a Christmas , Nikki  and I  treading on  eggshells and swallowing our fears like they  were broken glass.

Angela stayed at her parents and Chris as usual stayed with  Nikki, he had his own room. I went over Christmas morning and Nikki  was very  worried Chris looked dreadful .

Angela  duly  arrived that morning in her pajamas and coat , she called up  to  Chris to

get up  and come on she was waiting  ,

they, the Lombardi  Clan   were all going to  the cemetery  where the little cousin who  had been killed by  the falling tree branch  that September was buried in their  pajamas with  gifts for the grave , opening Christmas stockings  and decorate  a tree.

I heard my  son say

“No  that is  sick I  am not going to  be part of that ,you  go  but I am NOT! 

Angela Ritchey- In red – by Chris Ritchey

Angela’s  face darkened , you  could tell she was angry  and that Chris  had disagreed with  her in front of me and his Nana . I heard her say  as she left the  room

” things will be different next year”

I remember my  mum looking at me and saying:

you  know that girl has a coldness in her I hadn’t realized….

prophetic words indeed.

 

 

 

Dec 27th,  Chris was still at Nikki’s  where  we all tried to  help  him, Angela pretty  much  stayed away sulking   somewhat after the Christmas morning incident, Chris explained . We duly  sat around the  flat screen to  watch the Meineke Bowl  for his ad.

I was sitting on the couch and Chris slowly  started to  slump over his head  on my  lap , like he did when he was a little boy and I  knew…… time was not going to  be kind…..

 

Chris, had the PET Scan January  3rd  went back to Dr. Abraksia , the oncologist, who  originally  over saw the chemo   treatments and eventually the worst fears materialized. Less than 3 months after being pronounced cured of the curable cancer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma morphed into Refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Nikki was around 6 months pregnant when Chris called me that January evening with the news the cancer was back. I knew  I had to  tell Nikki  in person – her being pregnant was something unexpected and we were treating her like crystal, as just 4 months before her pregnancy Drs. and specialists told her she would not be able to  have children. But I knew she was pregnant before she did , I  told Chris , he got angry  with  me

Mum, stop  it you  know how much  Nikki wants a baby  that is wrong of you.  

I said ,

well I  just know she is....

and when she came over with  the scan I said

Oh Nikki  I  have to  tell Chris……

there was such  excitement

I knew that Nikki  had to  be told carefully   so  got into  my  car and drove to  her home. It was snowing and icy  and I  nearly  took out a mail box .  Jim answered the door, one look at me and he knew things were bad- I told Nikki what I  knew and she crumpled  in two, just sort of folded up.

her baby  brother

she wanted to  go  to  him right away  but we convinced her otherwise- tomorrow we said .

Nikki and I  went to  Best Buy  on the way   and purchased a small flat screen for Chris’s  bedroom- knowing  he would be shut in that room whilst new treatments were tried. Chris was waiting for us, I started to  unpack the TV  whilst Nikki  and Chris went to  the bedroom- I  heard him say-

Nik- I  did everything they  told me to  do, why is it back it is supposed to  be curable?

Other self by Chris Ritchey

 

My heart was in my mouth- I stayed out in the living room giving Nikki and Chris space” to be”.  It was always the two of them against the world.

And so another medical chapter in the journey of the obscenity of Cancer began. I will write of that journey of stem cell transplants, trials the hope and the horror , the circus that is cancer . However,  this book is not about the journey of medical treatment but that of life and connection.

The Touch- Chris Ritchey

 

September 3, 2020 at 12:31 pm 1 comment

August 3rd- No Limits- Chapter7- Chris Ritchey

 

No Limits- The book

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

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

 

After the Wedding:

I got through the wedding with a pretense of happiness, and the chemo and radiation treatments continued. We actually  didn’t see Angela for weeks , she and Chris would  come back  to  Lorain from Cleveland on weekends, Angela would stay  with  her parents but Chris  would spend the weekend at his sisters, where I  would see him. It was a bit strange but since I  got to  see him I  wasn’t bothered.

Before Chris’s diagnosis his father and I, my  mum and Nikki booked a trip  to  Europe. Mainly  to  attend a family  event in September and for Nikki  and her dad to  go  to  Scotland and Germany, a cruise up  the Rhine. It was supposed to  be celebration of retirement  and a break for us.

Unfortunately , it turned out to  be the trip  from hell. Apart from the fact none of us , after Chris diagnosis wanted to  go   and surprise, surprise   Nikki  found out she was 8 weeks pregnant, Nana was going to  be a great grandmother  at least this news was wonderful!

 

 

We still  dithered about going   but Chris insisted he was on his last treatment and only  had some radiation to  get through  and we should go  an enjoy.  Enjoy  was not the word we would ever use with  that trip.

There were some good times whilst in England and Chris was only  a phone call away  from his worrying family . We checked on him daily, he probably  got  fed up  but was patient with  us.

It was when we left England the trouble started, we were the last train out of the Euro Tunnel to  France when  the tunnel caught fire  caught fire. We weren’t aware of that until we reached Strasbourg and our hotel. We had only  planned to  stay  in Strasbourg the one night  Sept 11th  . We had  called home to  tell them we would be out of phone contact  for a week on the boat up  the Rhine,  only  to  be greeted with  the news that the rail crossing  and tunnel would be closed  due to  the fire and no-one was sure when it would open.

The boat on the Rhine was not good, Nikki  was feeling queasy , no  one spoke English   and my  French was poor , although  I  managed, we still  couldn’t get any  news and I  hated every  minute.  Even the weather matched my  mood

After 4 days I  could stand it no  longer  and we left the boat early  and  travelled back to  Strasbourg  to  the little hotel by  the cathedral. Nikki  put in a call to  England whilst her dad  and I  went to  look for food. Upon our return to  the room we were greeted with  the news Angela’s  young cousin  had been riding his bike home when a storm  hit  and he was killed by  a falling tree limb.

Nikki was sitting cross legged on the bed  the open Pizza box in front of her  and no -one ate. The time difference meant we had to  wait to  try  and get hold of Chris and Angela, and we had no  idea what to  do or say.

There is nothing worse than being away from your loved ones when something like this happens, you feel totally inadequate and helpless. The next morning , although I am not a Catholic, I walked across the square to Strasbourg Cathedral to light a candle of remembrance for this child who  was of that faith.

 

My mind was not on the beautiful windows, architecture, statues and carvings

 

I watched the tourists as they quietly took in all the beauty that surrounded them, the sound of the Cathedral’s bells reverberating through the stillness.

My heart heavy, I leaned against a pillar whilst my husband took photos and noticed the stone pillar was scarred and what looked ( to me) like bullet holes, it hadn’t been fixed. Had there been a battle of some sort that had scarred the stone? Then I noticed

 

Life has a way of making you realize what is truly important “life itself”, I lit a candle for a little boy  lost in Lorain, another for those  brave men, boys really, whose mothers also wept whose young lives  were lost all the time wondering what the future would bring , would prayers be answered…. and fighting down the tears  I hoped I would not have to  shed for my  own son.

I knew Angela and her aunts were religious and fervent Catholics, but not sharing those same beliefs I wasn’t sure what we could do  to  ease or give comfort. Nikki  and I  purchased  two  rosaries from the Cathedral and had them blessed by  the priest, one for Angela and one for her aunt whose sorrow I know was crippling.

Nikki flew back earlier and my  husband and I  stayed,  he came down with  some sort of horrible flu and by  the time we traveled back  10  days later , we all had it, my mum, me and him.  Mum ended up  in hospital and I  was out for the count for 11 days. It meant that I didn’t get to  see Chris, none of us did  because we daren’t with  his compromised immune system . I didn’t get to  see him until a month  later.  He had changed in the months I  hadn’t seen him, his blonde hair had come back in dark, he had a goatee sort of beard that was tinged with red, he looked older in fact his nose had changed , I  am  not sure if the Chemo did something to  the cartilage   but  his nose was thinner, a bit more beaky . I stared at him quietly  seeing the changes in the lines of his face , his eyes , his smile was still the same though. Chris didn’t often smile  but when he did he could light up  a room  and when I saw that smile as we walked into  Nikki’s great room  he lit up  my  heart once more and I  remembered the years of smiles and love he had given to  us  always…….

To  be Continued >>>

 

 

August 3, 2020 at 9:20 pm 2 comments

No LIMITS – Chapter 4- 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/

I watched out the window as my son’s car drew up outside and he walked slowly to the house. He no longer had that bounce of youth, he walked like an old man with the weight of the world crashing down on him. He had started out that day on a journey of hope, love and a wedding and returned with a diagnosis of obscenity.

He just reached the living room when Nikki flew in the door, her face full of confusion and pain, mirroring her brothers. Jim, her husband standing there not knowing what to say or do, my husband sitting in the chair in shock. Chris trying to reassure us that it could be wrong

“they said his blood counts were all in the normal range so maybe it wasn’t as bad as we were told- they were going to have to do more tests”.

 

Angela was on her way to the house. I put my faith in the fact she was a going to be a doctor, maybe she could make sense out of what we were being told. Maybe she could find out more than we could.

Angela and Chris went into the den, not to discuss a bright wedding and future but “cancer”. I sat on the couch Nikki and my husband looking to me to sort this out” because that is what I do – I fix things , I have a plan, I see a way through only this time my brain was numb , I was at a loss. Chris came out of the den and sat on the bottom landing of the stairs, Angela beside him. No one said anything, no way forward, no plans just this terrible pall that enveloped us.

Then some small talk which ensued about Chris’ dog, Misty, those that loved Chris trying to erase the obscenity with normalcy. I just couldn’t be “brave” any longer pretending this was just another afternoon sitting there in this surreal world. I knew I would crumble and I had to leave the living room and escape from the “living” room of horror it had become.

I lay on my bed, the silence from below deafening, trying to sort through all the fear, the uncertainty , trying to figure out what I needed to do. Nothing was penetrating except the word CANCER in my brain. Cancer became my world in that moment, it threw up its own walls around me. Then , Chris was there – he put his hand on my shoulder and said

“Mum it will be OK”

I remember saying Oh Chris I am so scared. As soon as I said it I realized I was being selfish. This was not about me , this was about my beautiful son, who just had the worst news in the world and he was , as he had done so many times before, putting his family before himself. I

felt guilty because whatever I was feeling he was the one who would have to fight this obscenity. I must put aside and cover my own terror , to be there no matter what for my son, he needed to be first and foremost , I couldn’t do anything about what treatments were needed and what he would have to go through but I would do whatever was needed to see he got whatever it was he needed to survive. I could be his mother and put my son first. I felt relief, his bride- to- be seemed as if she would be supportive and with her knowledge of the medical options. He had his sister, who would move heaven and earth for him, he would have a support group of love to see him through. I would wait for the results of the tests and once more my brain started to function.

The tests, the diagnosis, doctors’ visits and the treatment began as did the days of hope and horror as the “curable cancer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma invaded my son’s body and our world. Initially the obscenity was treated as “Oh if you have to have cancer this is the one you want” 4 to 6 chemo treatment spot radiation and you will be fine – 95% cure rate. The prognosis was excellent, just a small bump in the road of life.

I walked into the “chemo “ room that first day- March 13th 2008 , I had driven Chris and Angela to South Pointe Hospital ( an hour’s drive from home) to start his treatment after meeting with Dr.Abraksia who was chosen by his bride- to -be , Angela.

The decision made sense at the time, Angela would be doing her residency at South Pointe, and the hospital was in the Cleveland Clinic System. When Chis and Angela married in a couple of months’ time they would be living in the vicinity. I convinced myself this was a good idea. I, at the time, admired this young woman, Angela, she would be supportive and seemed to take the diagnosis in stride, she seemed calm and cool whereas I was being consumed by fear, panic and doubt. Perhaps it was her faith, as well as her medical knowledge, that enabled her to be so cool. I know that was one of things my son admired in her was her “coolness” and quiet voice.

Close up of Intravenous drip

As I crossed the room, where half a dozen “elderly people” were hooked up to IV’s ,I saw my son- poison’s flowing into his body to kill the invader. I wanted to pull the needles from him, gather him up and run away from this place, he shouldn’t be here my mind screamed at me. Instead I sat with him for a little time. The first chemo was going to take all afternoon, I couldn’t bear watching the slow drip of poisons, so I drove the hour home, had Angela call me when they were about an hour from finishing and drove back to pick them up to drive home again. I had to do something I just couldn’t sit by watching destruction being pumped into my son, for chemo destroys the bad and the good.

That night, as I worried about my son, listening for his every move as he tried to sleep in the room across the landing from me. I remembered how many nights I had spent when he was a baby, getting up three or four times just to make sure he was breathing , alert even in sleep to hear the faint whimper or cry of your new born. Yet not daring to disturb him, I had had to be a positive for his sake. Finally sleep came.

Angela , Sue and Tim Lombardi

I did not know Angela’s family well, although Chris and Angela had dated for a few years, both were in college, and living away from home. We, as families, did not have much of an occasion to socialize. However, at the engagement celebration I realized the mother, Sue Lombardi , was not a person that I would embrace and that my son would have a “mother in law” who controlled and was self-promoting . Well his problem I thought, little did I know she would end up my problem.

I awoke in the early morning hours of that first night after chemo, shaking, gasping for breath. I had a dream; it was so real.

I was in a room, in the middle of the room was an open casket in which lay my son and around this casket was Angela, her mother and father and family. I was drenched in sweat and tears, the realization it was a nightmare slowly came to the front of my mind.

I crept, as quietly as I could, into my son’s room to check on him – he was awake.

“You alright mum?”

I said:

yes just wondering if I can get you anything?

Some cold water would be nice, this stuff is warm

a smile and the beginning of a pretense way of dealing- I would check on his “water needs” I would be reassured he was alright and the game of pretending began, both of us knowing “ I was awake – do you need some water/ juice?” was not the real reason for my “checking in”.

The next day , I opened up my terror to my good friend Barb, I broke down when she called to check on how we were, Christopher was her godson I tried the small talk but blurted out

“ Barb I am going to watch my son die”
A very definite Barbara firmly stated:

Pull yourself together, the prognosis is great, don’t be silly, you have to put those thoughts from you for Chris’s sake – he will be fine.

And so I tried, all through those weeks of chemo, to push aside the negative thoughts that would creep into my head; but still the dream came back to haunt of Angela and her family standing around the casket.

E. Munch- 1895

The wedding plans continued and I tried to be normal, but the doubt and dream tore at m. I wear my heart on my sleeve, always have done, I am not good at hiding my emotions and thoughts…..

To be continued

May 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm 3 comments

April 3rd- NO LIMITS -Chapt 3- Chris Ritchey

No Limits- The book 

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

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

After the engagement announcement and the resulting kerfuffle with  the in laws to  be, I decided I would only  do  what I  was asked , no  suggestions or real involvement with  this wedding. I  could tell it would be walking on egg shells time.

A few days after the ring fiasco  Chris called and said Angela wanted us to  go  to  Beechwood where she had made an appointment to try  on wedding gowns.  It was rather short notice but Nikki  and I,  for the sake of fence mending, agreed to  share in  what should have been a delightful afternoon. In fact it was  except the mother of the bride was not there, aunts and grandmother etc but no  Sue Lombardi.  Angela duly  tried on various gowns and she did look lovely. I suggested that I would purchase the  wedding veil  of her choice.

 

Since I  had to  get back to  a meeting – already planned- Nikki  and I  left. I found out later Sue eventually showed up  as she didn’t want to  take the time off work. Chris called and said Sue was  very upset and

“What would I  have done- would I  have taken the time off? “ 

” Chris you  aren’t pulling me into  that  situation”.. and I  kept quiet. 

 

Chris had  still not recovered his usual good humour , although  he was speaking to  his sister once again. I couldn’t figure out what we had done wrong now. Finally , Nikki told me : Apparently  Chris was beside himself  worrying as to  how he was going to  pay  for the wedding items that Sue and Angela had said  were his obligation. The rehearsal dinner, cars, flowers , liquor for the reception, gifts, photographer, honeymoon  etc. He had spent his savings on that ring and had just been offered a position with Wyse Advertising. Since  his family  had paid for all his college – 5 years at Cleveland Institute of Art he did not have any  student loans and he was trying to  get a loan for this wedding.

I thought to  myself some of those  of those expenses should have been covered by  the Lombardi  family and they  should have realized what a wedding list of over 200 would cost this young man.  but as I  said

I  was going to  keep  my  mouth  shut .

Chris came home from work and I asked him what exactly  was worrying him  and he told me. I told him his father and I  would pay  for all he needed to  pay  for and not to  worry. He balked at the idea  and I  said:

OK let us pay  for it , rather than you  taking out a loan  and you  can pay  it  back to  us over time.

It was decided and life pretty  much  went on, people being young and planning. Although   it wasn’t  all plain sailing as  the bridesmaids and groomsmen were picked and Nikki , Chris’s sister was left out of the plans.  Chris asked her why  she wasn’t going to  look at the bridesmaids dresses  and she informed him

” I  wasn’t asked , I  don’t believe I  am part of the wedding party” ( although  her husband was)

Chris immediately  got on the phone to  Angela

“Nikki  is one of the wedding party  right? ( the reply  of yes if she wants to  be) rather a backhanded invitation ….

Looking back these things faded into  the realm of  really  didn’t matter they  were inconsequential  in the grand scheme of life. Summer passed , autumn and Christmas and then in February  a trip  to  the Doctors for Chris, whom we thought  was not getting over bronchitus and swollen glands .

Our world was suddenly  turned  upside down inside out and  the silent screaming started : I wrote about the phone call   10  days  later:

All it takes is a phone call to  start you screaming

Hello!
It was a phone call that sent an icy cold that permeated through my very core and has not left me yet, my brain not wanting to “compute” what my ears were hearing, mouth dry, eyes welling with tears , the incredulousness, the denial , the confusion, the sheer terror that runs through your frame, your mind screaming, a few seconds that changes your life forever- nothing will ever be the same.

A phone call that leaves you weeping with fear, that terror, whose tentacles reach through your very being, tearing at your insides, ripping to shreds happiness and laughter. One of the people you love more than life itself, one that you gave birth to, cuddled, bathed, fed and protected is on Route 2 and has answered another (cell) phone to be told that test results (for possible bronchitis) have come back with a life threatening disease.

face of a cancer cell

Someone please wake me from this nightmare……..what am I supposed to do, what do I say, how can I do anything- someone , anyone why????????????????
The look on your husband’s face as he tries to understand the picture of what is happening with this conversation………

The dread disease that sends a mother into the world of deal making ,

No please – not my child , let it be me, take me ,God how can I bear this?
How can I be brave and make it better when my heart is exploding with pain, every part of me screaming from the gauntlet of emotions that are coursing through my very essence?

You are removed from the world around you –

Nothing matters, not the politics, not the crime, not the state of the roads, not the weddings, the weather, blogs, the pettiness, media , CRA’s, pontificators, principles , presidents, arguments ….. .nothing…. your world has shrunk, your planet consists of no more than 8 people and the all consuming fire of fear that your child is going to be in a world of hurt and you are helpless.


You want to curl up in a dark place – trying not to feel, to escape but the pain and confusion drags you back to the surface of desperation, despair and the reality that is now your world.

Eventually the body decides, through sheer exhaustion, to sleep but the nightmare doesn’t stop, you wake, a pillow wet with tears, a coldness that remains in your very core reminding you there is no escape- you truly do

“wake from sleep exhausted”(Susette Kelo)

Family , friends try to be encouraging and for that you are grateful but in a mother’s heart there is really nothing that they can do or say , you want to wake up from the nightmare, make it go away.

Make it stop

You look for anything that will give you hope -that there is a mistake but somehow inside you know the truth – it will not go away – it is going to have to be dealt with.

No matter how old your child becomes they will always be your child. You see not the young man or daughter – you see the chubby 2 year old with soft plump arms, the eyes that never change

only mummy can’t- no soft butterfly kisses or a cookie is going to fix this – there is no magic bandaid with happy faces.

Your life and that of your loved ones is contingent upon a surgeon’s knife and upon a lab in California – a stranger making a decision that will decide whether there is happiness , hope or pain to come in your life and that of your child. You are just another lab report , a number with an insurance billing code- a job of work.

This nightmare of speculation and waiting for the next body blow , like some sort of insidious torture technique, rips at you and the very fabric of your family . Life goes on around you but you are removed you go through the motions but you aren’t really there and you only care about the turmoil that one phone call caused.

The tests, the scans, the trips to the hospital, the waiting rooms with color co-ordinated furnishings, a laugh echoing through a hallway, people talking about the weather, a child crying as life goes on -biopsies, more waiting – hoping- praying pleading with a greater power

“please let them have this wrong ” “please let it be a mistake”

Watching every movement,

“are they eating , are they paler today , the cough – is it better, worse,?”

Trying to smile, to put on the brave face and make life normal until the results are in, cooking food no one really wants to eat , but the strength has to be kept up.

Laying awake watching the clock tick away the hours of life and darkness, waiting for morning……things always look better in the daylight,
but that isn’t true- the mornings come and there is no sanctuary in the watery, wintery sun. Days run into one another, hours, the calendar and the marked events deemed important enough to make note of are no longer significant in their passing.

The darkness envelopes and you think of other mothers, how do they cope with news that threatens their babies, their teenagers, the mothers whose sons and daughters return from war missing limbs and with horrific injuries, how do they cope even having them in harms way- day after day ?

How does a mother bear the news that her child is gone- no longer to hold them, to feel a heartbeat , to gaze with love upon their face, the hear their laugh , to see their eyes no more ….the gut wrenching sadness the rises up. unasked, unwanted, and overflows with the releasing of tears without warning.

Then the results and you know, even before the Doctor opens his mouth – you see his eyes- what they are…. you hear the bad news tempered with good news and hope and another journey begins…………and you know that somewhere another mother shares your pain and fear and is trying to make a deal

take me, not my child………………..

To  be continued

April 3, 2020 at 2:03 pm 3 comments

March 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapt 2 – Chris Ritchey

  NO LIMITS-The Book

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

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

I find this rehashing of “life” and the connection with the Lombardi  family  and my  son’s choice of a life partner very  difficult to bring back to  light in my  life  and write. I wish I could file all those memories and people away  in some dark corner  never to  be thought of again. However, in order for those that read this “book” as it will be ( after it has been serialized here) to fully  understand the emotions, the relationships, the thought processes  and the connection to what happened and happens after my  son passed , the  connections  and especially those of Christopher have to  be explored. In some cases , with  hindsight and indeed some premonition I felt I should have seen a lot of the pain coming. 

THE ENGAGEMENT- CHAPTER 2

Although  I  must admit to  some “mother’s reservations” as to  the engagement of my son and Angela Lombardi , his sister and I wanted to  make this day  special.

Chris had said one evening , after he and Nikki  had gone to  a jeweler friend of Nikki’s husband to  design  “the ring” – which  cost him all of his savings $6,000.00 –

“Mum you  helped Jim (  Nikki’s husband) find a special place for him to  ask Nikki to  marry  him, you  have to  help  me  too”

Nikki  and I set about searching the internet, making suggestions, all of which  were not what Chris felt were right. Finally  I  said ….

“How about the top  of the Lorain Lighthouse”? I  am  not sure if I  can arrange that , but I  can try to  contact some of the people at the Lighthouse Foundation”

At that time the Lorain Lighthouse was still undergoing repairs and the top  of the Lighthouse was not open to  the public. But a few years earlier Chris had been asked to  paint the Lighthouse on a shed to  be put at the Marina to  be used to  hand out literature about Lorain. I thought that possibly  they  might be open to  the fact he would like some help  in what was supposed to  be a happy  occasion.

I duly  did the contacts and offered to  pay  for a day’s insurance policy  to  cover the the event of just the two  of them. After a lot of negotiating  and Ok’s by  the people involved it was a go. The date was set for July  12th. at 2:00 pm.  Lighthouse volunteers entered into  the excitement. It was arranged, I  would meet the little boat earlier in the morning, with  the champagne , a table, two  wine goblets, checkered red and white  table cloth  and roses and they  would be put at the top  of the Lighthouse.

My conspirators cunningly hid them on the far side so Angela wouldn’t see them as she ascended the lighthouse platform. Angela had wanted to go to the zoo that day and was a little annoyed ( I was told later) -my son had an errand to do for me first  or so she thought. Chris explained to her that first he had to take some photos for one of my “projects” he told her:

“You know how she is always roping me to do artwork and stuff for her projects- it won’t take long – mum needs some photos of the harbor for the Lorain Bicentennial she is planning next month”

I told Chris  that  we would meet him and Angela afterwards to  celebrate.

Naively  I  thought to  include the Lombardi  clan…. my  first interaction with  these people. I  had met them rarely  in the past  not more than a half dozen time , really  never having an in-depth  conversation with  them.  Since  we ( “Chris’s family”) had planned to  go  to  the Jacalope – a restaurant that over looks the Marina and the Lighthouse to celebrate after the event for some drinks and food, I thought it might be nice to  include the “family  of Angela”

I told Chris that we would be at the Jacalope and would watch with the binoculars for the wave of all was well and to have the boat drop them off there afterwards and we would celebrate.

 

I called the “in laws to be” on the Friday afternoon when it was all the arrangement were set – hoping that weather wouldn’t dampen the day- no it was Sue Lombardi that actually put a damper on the day

Photo Sue Lombardi .

 

I  must admit to  be more than a little taken aback when the “Mother of the Bride to  be” stated:

“Oh! we are building a new house and we are scheduled to have the electric done and some painting tomorrow – CAN”T Chris DO  THIS ANOTHER TIME!!!”

I thought to myself silly cow- doesn’t she realize this is her daughter’s engagement and getting this arranged has taken days and no little expense” ;

I said
Well surely you could take an hour off- maybe for lunch – we are meeting at the Jacalope to celebrate-
A big sigh from Sue  came down the phone :

Oh! this isn’t very convenient…… I will see what we can do

Well said I:

It is up to you but we will be there on the patio…..

and made a note to self – I would not get involved in “the brides mother’s wedding” plans – I could see that we are as different as chalk and cheese . I could tell from that very short conversation things had to be her way and her idea –
Oh Chris! you are in for a time I thought- little did I know it would be me bearing the brunt of the “Control Diva”.

The weather was indeed perfect, arrangements went like clockwork and even the in-laws and some of the family  of Angela duly  arrived on the patio. The happy  couple eventually  arrived  by  boat and Angela was flushed with  excitement. One of the aunts expressed a desire to  see the ring, and oohs and ahs duly  followed however from Sue Lombardi came the  concern

“Won’t that get caught up  and rip your  surgical gloves (  Angela  was going to  be a doctor)

As the afternoon progressed, I found out that I shouldn’t have relaxed  about it being a long engagement  they  were getting married  the next summer in June.  Oh dear I thought , must lose weight, how are they  going to  afford to  live Chris hadn’t been offered a position  with Wyse advertising , he was still a paid intern but my  thoughts soon were sent in another direction.

My  daughter, Nikki, who  actually  had never met Sue Lombardi  was cornered in another part of the restaurant by  Sue. I  should explain Nikki  and her husband had just been transferred back  to  Lorain from Toledo  and had just purchased a house. Nikki  had taken a break from employment to  get things together. Apparently  knowing this ( Angela, had lived with  my  daughter for over a month  in Toledo  so  she could do   one of her “rotations”) Sue requested  firmly  that Nikki  would to  go  with  Angela and drive to  Philidelphia , stay  overnight  so  Angela could take some  medical requirement. It was in a bad part of town apparently  and they  didn’t want her to  go  alone.

Nikki was upset, she didn’t want to  say  no  and upset Chris, but neither was she comfortable driving to  Philadelphia a distance of 451 miles, ,after talking to her husband , he definitely  wasn’t in favor either.

Why  doesn’t her mother or father take the day  off, they  have a large family  Why  you  Nikki? Two  women going to  a bad part of Philadelphia????

I waited until the Sunday  evening to  talk to  Chris , he didn’t want Angela to  driver alone  and no-one in her  family  were  prepared to  take her, so  he had to  take two  days off of work ( not only  unpaid but also he was still on probation at work , so  that didn’t bode well) .

( note  similar ring in design)

In the meantime on the Monday  Nikki  called me  she was in the middle of tiling a back splash in her new kitchen:

“Angela has called and is angry  and upset, apparently  one or two  of the aunts had  gone with  Angela to  local jewelers  to  get the  engagement ring appraised  and the one who  did give them an off the cuff appraisal  came in at $3,000.00 half of what it was supposed to  be worth. They  blamed Jim’s friend, Jim    and poor Chris had been cheated”

Nikki  was beside herself and dropped what she was doing and met Angela at another jewelers but they  would not do  an appraisal. Chris was furious  as Angela had been on the phone crying to  him at work.

I, for one, could not believe the crassness of this family  and  two days later were valuing the ring she had just received. I  thought of my own poor little speck of a diamond engagement ring , I didn’t care how much  it cost I  was so  happy.

To  solve the situation I  asked Chris to  bring me the ring . I  paid  $150.00 dollars for a proper evaluation  of the stone and setting . The paperwork came back a week later

Stone..its clarity  size etc. was valued at $8,000.00 and the setting designed by  Chris in white gold was  another $1,800.00 and was deemed to  be on the conservative side. 

I immediately  called Chris , but he still was in a mood , which  got darker by  the time he came home. He and I  had words, the ones you  shout. I criticized  how this whole situation had come about.  He then informed both his sister and I  that Nikki  had lied, Angela did not call her upset and blaming  anyone.   This was the first time that Angela tried to  come between  Chris and his family, in this case Nikki. Nikki said

are you calling me a liar?  Why  would I  lie about something like that….?

Nikki  left the house, and she and Chris did not speak for days . Finally,  I  had enough  and another dressing down to  my  son…..  who  had by  now  cooled down- thought about the situation  and went to  apologize to his sister…

 

So much  for love and happiness.

NOTE: All events and conversations were witnessed  and  although  these events etc are from my  perspective and opinions however  they  are the truth. Loraine Ritchey

 

 

March 3, 2020 at 1:11 pm 2 comments

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