Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Buddy

I wanted to write about my Uncle Ritchie - who was born not breathing. And this was back in the 50's, before many of the miracles of modern medicine that we have today. According to my Grandmother (and I have to have some kind of poetic license here, because I can't double check with her, I'm just going on my memory and I'm over 40 and that can't be 100%)... he was so cute, the doctors worked on him longer than they would have or should have, and got him to breathe. There were some issues about a missing kidney, but that's neither here nor there..

Every time he did something great, wonderful, whatever - my grandmother would say "not bad for a kid born dead, huh?"... and it stuck. He'd say it when he got older and did something that he wanted credit for.

When he was diagnosed with cancer, he had such a positive outlook (because, after all, he was born dead) he was told that his life expectancy was 10 years at the most. His response "Great! I can watch my kids grow up"....

I'll never forget one time, at a play dedicated to my mother after she died, he got up and lost his balance and fell backwards into a door, the door opened, he fell out and we were all hysterical laughing because he kept talking about his "Mary Katherine Gallager" impression. Only Ritchie.

He lived long enough to see some of his (4) kids get married, and died not long after "walking" his daughter down the aisle at her wedding, he was in a wheelchair and she walked, her hand on the side of the chair. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

I miss Ritchie. He had the best sense of humor. Not bad for a kid born dead.

My friend Crissy over at Tiptoeing Through the Tulips has a son who turns six today. Who, without the miracles of modern medicine, wouldn't have made it to one. Or two. And who is the most amazing, smart, wonderful and adorable six year olds I have the pleasure of knowing but never having met. I'm friends with his aunt, and have known about him since he was in utero. So I do know him. :) Go check out his story, say Happy Birthday Graham and realize that it's not bad for a kid that shouldn't be here. :) What a gift.


cheatymoon said...

So sweet. Your Uncle Ritchie seemed like a trip.

He is a rockstar, that Graham. Walking freaking miracle and a wicked good kid. He has an excellent mommy too.

Cristin said...

Awwww... shucks... thanks!

Uncle Ritchie sounds like my kind of guy....

crone51 said...

Yup. Graham has an excellent Mommy and Daddy and excellent Aunties ( and great Aunties).

Uncle Ritchie sounds like those " most unforgettable characters" of Reader's Digest fame. I haven't seen a Readers Digest since my parents died but I assume they still have that same goofy feature. It was pretty much the only feature worth reading. Anyhow, how cool he must have been.