Posts tagged ‘grief’

August 3rd- Linked – Chris Ritchey

Graphics Chris Ritchey

Every  street in this oldest neighborhood is designated by  the signs designed by  you  for Lorain’s Bicentennial. It was supposed to  bring a sense of pride  to  the residents who  have continued to  stay  here and fight for a quality  of life, the history  of these oldest streets and a preservation of a neighborhood that was.

I wish  I  could say  that those of us that banded together and set up a 501C3 30  years ago  had succeeded in our endeavours but thanks to  bank dumps in 2008-2009 with over 200 properties being dumped  sometimes for pennies on the dollar, the unscrupulous out of town landlords and property  companies, drug houses, lack of code enforcement  well we have become a saturated solution of the negative.

Two  things came together in my  brain this week……. the news of a young man of 16 shot and killed by  other young men… just two  blocks away, the gun shot waking us up as the sounds of killing reverberated through  the night air. I watched the news that evening and as I did the TV camera panned up  to  the street sign on 6th street, YOUR SIGN  and my  focus changed instantly  as once more I was sent back  to your  passing and then the pain and I  realized another mother , that of a 16 year old , would be weeping tears , heart pounding , trying to  breathe  trying to  deal  with the reality of the unreal.

Will she experience  the tiniest  interludes of happiness? You  see, once in a great while, when exhaustion forces the body  and mind to  sleep there are moments, just between sleeping and waking. One such  moment came this week the air was cool enough  for the windows to  be open and for a brief second as the sun  kissed the morning to  waken the day , the breeze picked up  the  peppery  scent of the petunias in the window box, this body  hadn’t quite realized it had aches and pains, there was for that precious second happiness and then “life” intruded once more……. and mothers weep  for lost sons in this old neighborhood……..

Another August of holding my  breath , fighting back  the tears , holding myself ready  for the trigger moments , knowing they  will come  and wanting

Love continues………. and memories of times much  happier……..before life intruded

 

August 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm 2 comments

July 3rd- continuing – Chris Ritchey

I have written about you  every month  on the 3rd of the month as my  memorial to  you – your life and your art work. A few months ago  I  wrote these lines in the post https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/april-3rd-forgotten-chris-ritchey/

“They  say  you  die three times – once when your body  fails you – again when you  are buried ( funeral) and again when you  are forgotten”.

Death  of the body  and death  of memory. When you  are buried and that headstone in place is a remembrance of sorts but there’s the rub how long will that headstone last?

 

Most of us believe that record of our being in the places designed for such – as cemeteries and crematoriums  will last forever, not so especially  with  the way  things happen with  cemeteries in recent years.  This Blog https://lisanneharris.com/2013/05/12/sadly-utterly-abandoned-churches-cemeteries/ Ms. Harris has a plethora of photos from around the world of these sad places. The forlorn graves sinking into  oblivion once held the tears and heartbreak of mourners  who  grieved over their loved ones. Even in this old neighborhood the citizens of Lorain in the past plowed under and buried  the little Charleston Village Cemetery

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/tag/pioneer-cemetery-lorain/

 

 

I read once , here you  can’t reclaim or take out graves until 100 years after the last burial. But that is another law that is circumvented. I  know it happened to  your Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather and Great- Great Grandmother, the site was moved (although other family members wouldn’t have it) but I  remember visiting those graves in a totally  different area of the cemetery and one was missing altogether.

 

You  are not dead because our love of you  is alive and you  are in our thoughts and dreams daily.

 

Your Nana was not afraid to  die, she was actually  welcoming her demise -99 years is longer than most get on this earth.

 

She had out- lived her brothers , sisters, friends of her youth. She was ready  but as she sipped her tea one day  near the ending  she look at me over the rim of the cup and said

“you  won’t forget me will you, Nikki  and the children will remember they  had their Nana”.

There is no  headstone in a “family  plot” because that is not what she wanted. Her ashes will hopefully  one day  make it back to  “her England” , time and life permitting.

Today,  I  received a notification from the Crematorium in England

St Marylebone Crematorium – Memorials

about your  Grandfather. What a mess that was when he passed , he had gone off with  someone else – had a new family  – although  he clung still to  his old one. Due to  the fact he never remarried, I  was still his next of kin, the arrangements were left to  me  although  his “woman” did orchestrate some aspects.

Then a few years on, since Nana and I were home, we went to  the crematorium and I  asked the office where my  fathers ashes were interred. Imagine my  guilt when I  found out no-one had ever claimed them! I  had thought his fancy bit would have,  she obviously  was done with  him after he died.  I  was told his ashes were scattered in a part of the crematorium  I was shown the spot where his ashes had been scattered and  was told

 

“I  could have  a “tablet” positioned on the walls surrounding the Willow Garden, and are ideal for those who wish to mark the position of a loved one whose ashes have been scattered below.”

It was decided, only  Nana would have nothing to  do  with  it  , didn’t want her name mentioned  and went and sat in the rose garden. This is truly  a beautiful place.  I realized, although  his work of a cross ( commissioned by  the Governor of Gibraltar) hopefully  still adorns the altar in the Naval Chapel there ,

 

there  was not a permanent dedication ( well as permanent as can be in this life) but one day  even that small reminder will be taken from the wall

 

Anyway  I purchased a “tablet: and every  10  years I receive an invoice to  renew the dedication, a few hundred pounds.  No-one goes to  the crematorium anymore to  pay  their respects, I  am not sure anyone other than I  ever did but I paid this invoice today because his name is there , the fact he lived and died on those dates is still  there and he is not forgotten and he did live and he loved me and I , him

My Dad and I happier times

Oh his great grandson has the look of him  but only  I and a photograph of old realize that :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that is why  I  write about you  month  after month for as long as I  can  so  you  know you  aren’t forgotten and that you  lived…….. and are still loved with  every  breath  in my  body………..

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

July 3, 2019 at 11:25 am 1 comment

June 3rd – archeology of sorts- Chris Ritchey

Oh! the pond, what a pain I am having  with pumps , tubing and fish eating birds and animals. I have spent a small fortune on equipment this spring.  The winter weeks,  after your Dad was in the hospital, your brother-in law had to  stop  by a few times a week in the days of “polar vortex” to  make sure we kept a hole in the ice.  Just when I  thought I  had everything sorted last week , nets in place , aerators , new pump  and  filter system hooked up, and the waterfalls pump working and bringing at least me some  peace and happiness as I  watched the water cascading down the falls, of course, the waterfalls pump   stopped working.

 

Now nothing is easy  in this house, I could no  longer find the same pump , the tubing was too big, too small, and this pump  didn’t fit the old filter system. I tried as best I  could to  clean the filters every two  days and that is a horrible job. Why ??? because   your Ghost Koi needs air and clean water,  from  over forty  fish  we are down to  17 including “The Ghost”. Due to  my  diligence of filter cleaning every  couple of days the water is crystal clear. The offending pump  had to  be taken out and replaced. Heron apparently  don’t like ripples so making sure the water ripples means three pumps functioning .

 

I shut everything down and gingerly   balanced precariously  on the edge. The water was so  still and clear  I, for once, could see the very  bottom of the pond. The Ghost Koi loomed large – 10  years of eating and being king of the pond, he has grown to  a formidable size. As I  teetered and wobbled trying to  reach the old pump  under the falls, the thought crossed my  mind,

I  might end up  joining him… death  by  “pond life”,

he wasn’t actually  endearing me to  him in that moment and then I saw a glint of gold lying on the bottom.

I strained to  see what was shining up  at me and then I  realized it was a pair of your aviator sunglasses, you  too had been searching for the Koi that last summer ( a much  smaller little fish) and had dropped your  glasses  and there they  were still- where they  had fallen. A reminder of why I need to  protect and maintain the pond so  my  last Mother’s Day  gift from you  continues..the Ghost Koi…..

Those glasses  and ones like them that hid you  eyes from us when you  would hear the bad news the Doctors would tell  hiding tears  and pain.  Those same glasses that brought my  tears flowing once more a reminder of a life too short. and a son lost.

 

I suppose when we are gone and he pond is filled in will someone, in a time to  come, may dig the space   they might wonder how a pair of aviator glasses came to  be 4  foot underground and the story  behind them… a curiosity  for the future…… the missing of you, our love   and memories that should have been  can sometime cripple………

 

June 3, 2019 at 8:55 am 2 comments

May3rd – Mothers and sons – Chris Ritchey

1st Mother’s Day card- Christopher Ritchey

I still have your first Mother’s Day  card and  all the little gifts through your childhood years, they  along with  the ones from your sister are still here in bedrooms, living room, den  and kitchen. Chubby  little handprints in clay , adorn walls along with art work and memories of happier Mother’s days.

This coming Mother’s Day is a first  because for the first time in my  life I will not have my  mother your Nana to  help  celebrate. Coincidentally, when Nana retired and came to  live here she arrived on Mother’s Day of that year  and now I  have lost you  and her. Although   little gifts of mine she had kept still wait to  be dusted in her little living room.

And then there is your last Mothers Day  gift to  me , the ghost koi.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/ghost-in-the-pond-a-koi-story/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/the-ghost-in-the-pond-continues/

Oh Chris what a few days I  have had protecting him, by  far the largest fish  in the pond  , he is so  big. BUT that damned Heron who  arrived last year is back again bigger than ever and now two  others  come to  call. I  have set up obstacle courses around the perimeter, tried all the “get rid of Heron” tips. Climbed over slippery  moss-covered rocks, wobbled on the edge hoping my  knee will not all of a sudden decide it has had enough. moved shelves for the fish  to  hide, all in vain the “angel of death ” just laughs at me as he circles over head.

Nothing deters him ,  he cruises in on huge blue wings  and lands on a dime.  He and his buddies have depleted my  lovely  fat goldfish by  half , some of which  have lived in that pond for 13 years since you  helped dig the “new one” .

He partially  eats them, or drops them  and others he swallows whole.  It is a bit like living with  grief as it swallows one whole or takes bites out of you  daily. We have lost at least 14 of the big goldfish and  the smaller ones….   well who  knows. The ones that are left huddle at the bottom of the pond close to  your Ghost Koi – protection –

I don’t know but they  don’t stray  far from him. . I will battle on with  this “angel of death” beautiful though  they  are  so  I  can keep  the “ghost” and the memory  of that last  Mother’s Day  as I watched you  slipping him into  the pond.

I am so  proud of you  my  son and love you  through  eternity …..

Breath of Life – Celtic Knot – Chris Ritchey

May 3, 2019 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

April 3rd- FORGOTTEN- Chris Ritchey

In the days and weeks I  have been in this latest medical situation I  managed to  watch a movie – Hunters Lodge– not a wonderful movie but entertaining enough  to  take my  mind off of things. However, the opening lines  resonated with me:

“They  say  you  die three times – once when your body  fails you – again when you  are buried ( funeral) and again when you  are forgotten”

Those were the lines that  set me watching the rest of the movie… I agree with them.   I believe   you  have died twice and in some cases  three times. There are those that  forgot and dismissed you  from memory  in the very beginning of our loss but there are those who  truly  love you  from whose memory  and life you  will not be forgotten.

 

 

Gavin, just a few months old when you  passed  and Braedyn  born 3 years later KNOW you,  talk of you  and “remember” not in the usual way of remembering a life  but who  you  are now! You  are still very  much  a part of their lives.

Very  few of my  family  left remember my  Grandmother  “Nanny  Bunyan” and her sons, my  mum’s mother , Nanny  Hines – such  a different person from my  Dad’s mother  not the exotic sophisticated wealthy  red- haired fashion conscious , jewel wearing and Channel  No  5   for her. Nanny  Hines  a nurse/ midwife  mother to  6 – 3 boys and 3 girls and all that entailed, no,  she was warm and loving and gentle .

 

Soon, those of us that still remember each  of them as they  were when they  were alive and part of our living memory  will also  have passed  and apart from the little bits of information  left in  my  mothers” ” MY BOOK” ( hopefully  passed down to  the younger family  members) we too will die our third death.

Cover Design Chris Ritchey

I  have tried to  hold (in the present )  the “man that time forgets” – you- by  keeping your life, your art, your thoughts and our love for you  alive on this blog- archived (hopefully  for  all time)   – and  with  my  own book, when it is completed

and our own  contributions to  the great – what happens after you  die  theories ……

 

Love doesn’t forget……. and neither do  we

April 3, 2019 at 10:31 am 4 comments

March 3rd – The Rating – Chris Ritchey

ART WORK- CHRIS RITCHEY

It has been a short month  February  but one of the longest in other ways. We are now on our third  venue  with  regard to  “hospitals and rehab”. As we traverse yet another life changing road, I believe it is time to  rate the experiences.

Chris Ritchey Face book icon

Your hospital experience found me pretty  much  a novice and very  naïve, because your “bride” was part of the Cleveland Clinic System, Southpointe and Main Campus I  deferred to  her- a huge  mistake– I  will always believe that  to  be the case . That perceived mistake is not one I will ever make again.  Much  to  the irritation  of CEO’s, some Doctors, not so  much  the nurses,  but aides and hospital protocols I am involved more than just visiting at regular hour, I  am an advocate for “my  patient and loved one” and your sister  is just a younger version of me!

It is you  and your  strength  that has kept me , if not on an even keel  at least  afloat and once again it is anger that keeps me upright.

I know  the signs and I know you  are with  us on this journey , just as I  carried you  beneath  my  heart  and shared souls – that continues  as does my  love for you. I will write the story  of our latest journey , the Kudos, the positives and negatives of each  of the facilities – maybe others having similar journeys  will see the pitfalls and the solutions.

I love and miss you  more than ever ………

March 3, 2019 at 7:17 pm 2 comments

Feb 3rd- sick of hospitals- Chris Ritchey

Artwork Chris Ritchey Face Book page

A whole month  has passed since I  last wrote  and I  have in the last three weeks spent more time in ER’s  talking to  Doctors -that  don’t know us -explaining past issues. ICU becoming my  2nd home and all the different  protocols.

I want to  get off this band wagon of monitors, that beep  and fluctuate I have seen too many  of them since you  were in that dreadful Main Campus  Cleveland Clinic (Tausig).  I have traversed the  halls , waiting rooms in hospitals in Elyria, Westlake , Houston Texas  and Lorain.

I  am so  tired of the unexpected and having to  have the strength to  advocate.  This latest ill-health  go  around sudden and quick is going to  drag out into months. Touch  and go  10  days ago…….

The flawed Hand of the Healer by Chris Ritchey

.

I can spot an officious nurse at 10 places, know the ones that listen , talked to  professionals , that know their stuff I  am sure , but the accent is thick so  I  become infuriating to  them as I  have  to say  “repeat that please.”

 

I have sat in ER’s  waiting for results of scans and tests. I have sat in the waiting rooms with  total strangers that reflect the fear , hopefulness and dread that I know is written on my  face just as it is on theirs .

I am exhausted with illness, dying and decisions , keeping up my  strength  to be my  family’s advocate all the while wanting to  run away  and not have to  deal with  anything at all.  Life changes looming.

One of the most infuriating things is the fact that all these different hospital systems  but when it is  an emergency  you  are taken to  the  nearest ER . If they  are under a different network your health  records are not available, so  the ER does not have a base line as to  your previous health issues. Family  are left explaining in layman’s terms as to  your history and then when you  contact you  own medical team you  have to  explain the new issues. You  can request those medical records be sent  ( they  don’t like it  but insist).

Anyway   weeks of hell again looking at those monitors for every  heartbeat…………… and the horrible reminders of your last days flooding in my  brain as the smells , the squeak of rubber shoes on shiny  floor , the monitor alarms add yet another pain to  deal  with as you  sit quietly  waiting………..

I love you  still  and your bravery  still reminds me to  fight

Hands – Touching- Hands – art work Christopher Ritchey

 

 

February 3, 2019 at 11:54 am 3 comments

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