WhyQuit Presentsrose

The Smoker's Memorial - WhyQuit's Wall of Remembrance

Here we memorialize, remember and pay tribute to wonderful lives cut short by chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine. May remembrance of our friends and loved ones inspire youth to never start, smokers to quit, quitters to stay the course, and ex-smokers to relish life.

Click here to share your memorial

Share your memorial remembrance of a friend or loved one. Although not necessary, feel free to include a picture if so inclined. If you would like your e-mail address shared as a link beneath your name, so that smokers, quitters and journalists can contact you directly, please include the email address you want shared.

Earlier Memorial Pages

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8

Our Remembrances

#83 - 02/05/16

In December 1984 I was a sophomore in college. I lost one of my closest friends because she passed out at a fraternity house holding a lit cigarette. The whole fraternity house burned down and my friend was the only one who died. Others suffered mild to severe burns.

It's always haunted me because the firemen knocked on our door early the next morning and asked if we knew where she was. We didn't, but we knew something was really wrong, so in our pajamas me and my roommate ran down the street to get more information. The firemen showed us her rings so we could initially confirm that it was our friend.

It was December and time for finals. I'm sure the fraternity was excused from final or at least allowed to postpone them. We were not. I had to attend her funeral and return the same day to take an accounting final. I ended up on scholastic probation, but didn't really care.

The rest of that year was a blur. I did manage to pull myself together the following year as far as school went, but am still haunted by the way she died.

My great grandmother died of lung cancer. She was too old to treat. It was very sad to have to come to that realization. It was very hard on my dad. She had quit smoking many years earlier, but I guess the damage was already done.

Now my 25 year old son smokes. He hides it, but it is not something you can hide very easily. Many millenials live for now and don't consider long term consequences. He thinks he needs to smoke to take the edge off - and he thinks it's better than other things that have gotten him in trouble in the past.

I've told him how I feel, but of course it's all about how he feels. This breaks my heart. Why can't he see? Why doesn't he care? There is also another person we know that is dying from lung cancer that has spread. We see this person almost every week. Just why!?!

Why doesn't he care more about his appearance, but more importantly why doesn't he care about his health and living a long life?!?

Desperate

Rhonda Wright

 

#82 - 07/11/15

Photo of Jim Heusi with his arm around his daughter Jenna.I lost my father in May of this year to metastatic lung cancer. Sadly, he had quit smoking 15 years earlier. The last time I saw him, he was a shell of himself and the final words and said as I hugged him goodbye were "see you on the other side baby." I will ALWAYS miss him and there is a special kind of pain watching a loved one slowly die from cancer.

I, myself, quit smoking almost 2 years ago. Please don't start, and if you are trying to quit, remember there are much worse things than a few days of withdrawl.

Rest In Peace
Jim Heusi
January 25, 1949- May 8, 2015

Love your daughter,

Jenna

 

#81 - 03/17/15

I quit smoking 100 days ago, just a week before my mother died for lung cancer. She smoked for more than 40 years and died when she was 70.

On November 3, 2014, she came home from work and started vomiting. On November 26, 2014 she was diagnosed with lung cancer. On December 15, 2014 she died in a hospital bed.

Just few days before dying she said very proudly: "I quit smoking" :D

I smoked for 22 years. Now I'm 37 and I will never smoke again.

Bye bye mom, I love you.

Dario

 

#80 - 12/08/14

I quit smoking since 10/09/10, the day my dad died so suddenly by heart attack at age 61. I was 26. He left this world without any notice and somehow I felt angry and abandoned because he could have quit, he could have done something to stop from smoking two packs of cigarettes per day. The doctor said that his lungs were black and useless and that basically he committed suicide. I quit smoking since then because I don't want smoking to be my cause of death!

I will always remember the day that my dad died as the day that saved my life.

Thank you dad, I am thinking of you every second.

GC

 

#79 - 10/14/14

My mom smoked most if her life and so did my dad. They both quit but for my mom it was too late. My mom had copd and started coughing up blood. The sad news came she had lung cancer. During her chemo my mom was so strong but in time she started getting dementia. My mom who was always dressed the best with her "face on" and put together so beautifully quickly fell apart. The women who did everything was quickly turned into can't do a thing. For some reason she couldn't even hold her bowels. The hardest thing was watching my mother not eat, take care of herself and not knowing what she was doing.

I was her caretaker along with my dad and changed her diapers as she once changed mine. The day she was burried was the absolute worst day of my life, uncontrollable sobbing, knowing this was it, GOD took her home. I now met a man who smokes. Do I watch this happen again or will he quit for me? Nothing good comes out of smoking!

Teresa

 

#78 - 04/21/14

On August 15, 2013 my older sister Karen died from lung cancer, just before her 38th birthday. Our mother smoked at home growing up, and Karen had started smoking regularly since she was 11, and was never able to quit no matter how hard she tried.

I used to think Karen was so cool growing up with a beautiful cheerleader for an older sister, six years my senior. She smoked all the time, even in middle school, and by the time she was in high school in the late 80s, she was already smoking two packs a day. They even called her the "smokin" hot cheerleader, cause she smoked all the time even as a young teenager. I tried so hard to find that classic picture of her in her gator cheerleader outfit she always wore sporting spotless white keds without socks, but I couldn't find it, and it just made me break down crying looking through all the old pictures from our childhood.

Karen always stayed the coolest big sister a guy could have, but even in college, her addiction to cigarettes only got worse and worse, as she got to where she was smoking at least three packs a day or more. She was never able to cut back to less than that no matter how hard she tried, even when she was pregnant, and lost her first baby to miscarriage, even later when she got divorced when her husband complained about her constant smoking. But even as she was becoming a hopelessly addicted chain smoker in college, she tried to do the right thing. I remember when she came home from college and found me smoking a cigarette on the back pourch when I was in middle school, and she told me I needed to be careful or I would end up addicted like her and not be able to go even thirty minutes without a cigarette. I didn't listen to her, and wished I had now.

She leaves behind two beautiful daughters, Sarah and Rebecca, 12 and 9 years old respectively. Last summer when visiting Karen at the hospital, where the stage 4 cancer was spreading rapidly, I caught Sarah sneaking a cigarette behind the parking garage. How could my beautiful 12 year old niece be smoking while her sweet 38 year old mother was dying from lung cancer next door? I wanted to be mad, but since I was there on a cigarette break myself, all I could do was just cry and tell her about the time her mother had told me to stop smoking. It didn't seem to stop either of us from smoking, because the addiction just runs too deep in our family. You'd think having a mother and grandmother die from cigarettes would set in, but I guess not. Shes just like her mother, sadly. It makes me cry just thinking about her becoming yet another victim of nicotine addiction. I pray she doesn't die from lung disease in her 30s like my sweet sister Karen did.

We love you Karen, and we know you're watching over us from heaven,

Robbie

 

#77 - 11/20/13

I have been re reading your wonderful site on and off for the past couple of days. I am the mom of a beautiful 11 year old and I am 8 months into my final quit.

I have been reading your memorial today. What a wonderful idea to remember those we have lost to this terrible addiction. I have found encouragement to continue in my quit and have opened completely my heart to my own losses. I too lost my dad to lung cancer years ago. I also lost my mom to breast cancer when she was young. Although mom was never a smoker she has afflicted with cancer when she was pretty young. A fighter. She survived cancer many times until the end. My mom was an angel on Earth.

My dad was a chain smoker almost all his life. He was extremely strong and muscular but I remember, he coughed a lot. When I was 15 I started stealing his cigarettes. When he found out he was furious and brought home pictures of smokers lungs. I did not want to see, of course (I was already addicted). He gave up trying to make me understand, since he was unable to quit himself.

I smoked on and off for 35 years. I quit many times but relapsed after having just a single puff. I did it again and again in disbelief of the power of nicotine addiction. I am as hard headed as my dad and have been into denial most of my life in this topic. I have always been pro healthy lifestyles and still smoked through almost every problem. I knew cigarettes were deadly but somehow believed I could be spared.

Magical thinking. Even after feeling in my own body the harmful effects, I would not quit. I had a recent check up and am sure I have not escaped unharmed. I think it's not fatal but it is definitively important I take care of my body. Since I really quit this time I have started to discover the lies and mistruths I have believed for many years. I always thought I was so smart, I did not fully assess the ravaging effects of this addiction. I did not stop smoking even after witnessing my father's death.

Now I have a daughter. I have tried so many times to quit smoking since she was born. I had some successes but all gone in a puff. She pleaded and pleaded and I honestly tried. I am also a single parent. Well ... I am happy to say I have been successful in my quit. It hasn't been the longest, but it is definitively the final. I am completely determined. My determination and commitment grows everyday with each quit day.

I will not give in to addiction. The buck stops here.

This site has been a source of inspiration in my journey. Being addicted since my teens, I am discovering a new me I have come to value and respect. I have new goals and am open to learning. I am exercising and have the goal to run a mini marathon. Easier said than done, I am proud to run even a quarter marathon. To me it means the will to survive, try and strive. I need not impress anyone. I am just so happy to be free. Everyday a little more.

I am so touched by all your stories. That's what being human is all about. Sharing. My heart is with you and completely against this toxic deadly addiction. Smoking is death. Period.

Since so many of us begin in our teens, I am deeply concerned with my daughter and her generation. I want to get out there and speak at her schools and other schools. From what I have seen, there is no anti-smoking education at her school. I want to contribute. Cigarettes are just too available and kids are so misinformed.

If I have learned something in my final quit is that knowledge is the power we need to succeed and unveil the denials and lies that mask any addiction. It has changed all my perspective about smoking and smokers. It's a powerful addiction pretty much like heroin or crack. It's not life.

Kids need to know. I would appreciate your advise in this area. For now, in solidarity and love,

Cristina

 

#76 - 03/20/13

My parents were robbed of their Golden Years, my children were cheated out of having their Grandparents and I am orphaned NO thanks to smoking.

My Mom had a massive stroke March 8, 1996 the day before her 57th birthday NO thanks to smoking. She was so young, strong and determined that she actually began to recover and even began to drive again. She even started to smoke again. Sadly, just 9 months later, her miraculous recovery was interrupted by several more strokes and a COPD diagnosis. My Mom was a woman that was once so full strength that I only ever saw her cry once (a tear or two at my Grandfather's funeral). She was now suffering so deeply that she cried daily. She was living trapped in a body that would not work for her any longer - NO thanks to smoking.

My Dad tirelessly devoted himself to caring for her needs, but after 3 years he was emotionally, physically and financially exhausted. Concerned for my Dad, we moved them in with us. As you can imagine, this was quite an adjustment to add 2 adults to a family of 4 that included my husband, me and our 4 year old son and 7 year old daughter. I won't blow sunshine, there were some difficult times, but we concentrated our efforts on 'life as usual' and giving my parents back the 'normal'things that their lives were missing.

I remember my Dad once telling me that he didn't feel the loneliness that he had once felt and that he was grateful for all the noise the kids made because the previous silence was deafening. Together, we all lived as an extended family unit for 2 years until my Mom passed away from complications of advanced stages of COPD on September 21, 2004 - NO thanks to smoking. These 2 years were the hardest years of my life and yet I wouldn't trade some of the best laughs and the most precious moments. While both my Dad and I vowed to quit smoking, neither of us did.

My Dad said once that it took several years after losing my Mom before he felt that he had 'found his way' again. He stayed living with us. He found new joy in his Grandchildren, cooking meals, shopping, training the dog, poking around in the yard, and working on odd projects. One of his favorite projects was working on an old pick- up truck he bought. He would fix stuff on it, put pin stripes on it, wash it, buff it, you name it. He loved to just mess around with that truck. My husband and I would see him out the window and chuckle. He was so content and we loved that he was happy, again. He deserved it.

Then it happened, 6 years after losing my Mom, my Dad was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma (the dreaded lung cancer) at a routine physical in June, 2010. He had been cancer free for 15 years after being treated for cancer of the larynx (throat) when he was 55. The Doctors had told him back then that if he didn't quit smoking that the odds were that cancer would find its way back in 5 years. He made it cancer free for 15 years.

We quit smoking together with this Stage 1 cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, the Stage I diagnosis was short lived. Just several weeks after the upper lobe of his left lung was surgically removed in September, 2010, cancer was found spread to my Dad's feet, hands, legs, knees, ribs, back, neck, pelvis and skull in October, 2010. His diagnosis was escalated to Stage IV. My Dad and I 'quit quitting' smoking together feeling the devastation of his prognosis. He began radiation and chemo immediately with cautious hopes for slowing the dramatic cancer growth. One morning my Dad awoke and showed me that overnight a golf ball sized mound had grown on his collar bone. We showed this to his radiation oncologist that same day thinking that it had to be a reaction to a medication or the treatments, or something. Their answer was an audible silence. This cancer was literally growing so fast that a tumor had appeared overnight - NO thanks to smoking.

On February 13th, 2011 (just 8 months after the routine physical found the shadows on the X-Ray), I became an orphan - NO thanks to smoking. Since then, I have a new addiction - not a single day goes by that I don't think about how much I miss having them both in my life.

I took my final puff on 2/4/2013.

Your loving daughter always, Kelly

NOT ANOTHER PUFF, EVER!

chezswix@aol.com

 

#75 - 06/20/12

My name is Michelle K. Smith. I'm 43 years old, and married with two kids, ages eight and five. Five years ago today, my father was killed in a house fire, started by careless cigarette smoking. I miss him every day of my life.

If you smoke, *stop* already, because it will kill you too. Maybe fast - like my Dad - or slowly - also like my Dad; he was in the agonizing end stages of emphysema, each breath an effort, rattling, wet, desperate. So maybe burning to death in a few minutes was a small mercy. Either way, it will kill you, and you may well take someone with you. Your wife, or your husband, or your baby will burn up or suffocate in the fire you started. Or they'll get lung cancer years down the road. Maybe it'll just be asthma, but your smoking will have hurt them as surely as if you'd placed a lit cigarette on their skin.

*Stop* already, because it will kill you, and the people who love you will miss you every day of their lives, and they will never get over it. They'll have gaping, raw, bleeding, jagged holes in their hearts and in their lives because you took yourself away too soon. Their heart will break over and over as they watch their kids grow up and know you aren't there to see. Worse, those kids won't get to know you - maybe not even meet you - and have to learn second-hand just how brilliant you were. Except when it came to smoking.

So just *stop* already.

Michelle K. Smith

 

#74 - 03/19/12

I lost my dad James L. Miller on 3/6/2012 from heart failure caused by acute archelerosis of the arterys and veins. He passed so fast, he didn't even get to say goodbye. I know he would like to tell everyone who smokes "Please try to quit, or the smokes will make you quit." We tried day and night to make him quit, but he refused. After losing his left leg from circulation failure, he quit for 6 months, he started again. On his final journey, he finally died of circulation failure, blowing out his heart because of high blood pressure. I say to him now, safe journey.

James

 

#73 - 11/7/11

Neil T. Curtis is survived by his nine-year-old daughter Kristen and his bride Debra. Neil died of lung cancer on July 10, 2011, just 37 days after diagnosis. He died a proud "recovering nicotine addict" who took comfort in the fact that his real killer - nicotine - was no longer circulating within, that he died a free man. A member of WhyQuit's support group Freedom, Neil's online stop smoking journal documents in detail his awakening and what was likely his most liberating journey ever.

Just four days after quitting, on January 14, as if prophesying the challenge to come, he wrote, "I now call myself a recovering nicotine addict rather than an ex-smoker, because it reminds me of the power of this addiction and disease." "I never know if, or when, that spot will show up on my chest x-ray, but I know if I have to face that type of situation, I want to face it as a non-smoking recovering nicotine addict, and I won't go down without a fight."

By January 17, day 8, Neal was feeling pride, enjoying deep breaths, no longer coughing and savoring a new found sense of smell. By day 11 he'd gained a few pounds but was already working on it and his optimism about continuing success was on the rise.

Neal's one month celebration evidences just how much his thinking had evolved. "I originally named my first post journal "4 Decades Of Lies" because I have been smoking for over 40 years. The lies I was talking about was aimed at the tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, and the government for letting them do all that lying to us. After working this program for the last month I came to realize that I was doing the lying to myself for all those years. I never "liked" or "loved" smoking, cigarettes were not my friend, it was not O.K. to substitute NRT for cigarettes and think I was doing myself a big favor (it always led me back to smoking anyway), I thought smoking was a bad habit, I told myself I wasn't addicted, it was alright to have just one while I was trying to quit. I thought I couldn't live without smoking, I would never be able to quit for the long haul, nicotine feedings were not my #1 priority, I could never go a whole day without wanting a cigarette, and one of my favorites - you have to die from something, why not smoking? Etc. Etc. Etc. They were all lies to keep me feeding myself nicotine."

On March 23 Neil wrote, Well, I'm on Day 73 today and all is going well. I'm loving my freedom and I feel very far away from the possibility of using nicotine. I haven't been quit so long that I forgot what it was like to have my life revolve around smoking, but I have been quit long enough to see how much better life is now that I'm finding the real me. I did gain about 10 pounds, as predicted, but I know that will soon come off. I'm finding I have a lot more time on my hands. I've already painted the whole outside of my house, and now I'm working on re-landscaping the entire back yard. (All with the money I've saved from not smoking!) It truly is getting better and better. YQB Neal - NTAP"

Neal celebrated three months of freedom by documenting his path in destroying his mind's use rationalizations. He entitled it "The Real Me Versus the Junky."

On May 2 he posted stating, "I noticed on my quit meter that I have saved $560 so far. I'm getting paid to feel good!!" And on May 9 he wrote, "I have really been enjoying all the extra time, money, and energy I have since getting rid of all the nicotine. I don't ever want to go back to where I was."

And then it happened. It was June 16, 2011 when Neal shared the shocking news of his stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis, that it had already spread to his lymph nodes, thyroid and stomach. "We have to always be vigilant and realize the deadliness of this addiction we are fighting. I don't want any of you to experience the feeling I now get when my 9 year old daughter looks to me with all the Love in her eyes. I have no idea of what the future holds for me. I know because of the great people on this site that I will face my future as a non-smoker."

Some might be tempted to use Neal's journal as justification for that next fix, that he died of lung cancer anyway. But he clearly hoped others would learn from his shared awakening and end their self destruction while still time. Actually he went further. On February 9, 2011 he shared the dream that you "aspire to inspire before you expire." May Neal's wish come true. May there still be sufficient time for your own recovery to inspire others to follow.

John R. Polito

 

#72 - 11/04/11

Macklin Wayne Riley-MillerMy stepfather Macklin Wayne Riley-Miller was diagnosed with lung cancer and brain cancer after having an automobile accident on my 30th birthday, May 25, 2007. He fought his battle with cancer for almost 2 years, succumbing to brain, lung, and adrenal gland cancer March 29, 2009. He had smoked cigarettes for years and nothing seemed to make him want to quit, that is, until he received the lung cancer diagnosis.

In Loving Memory of:
Macklin Wayne Riley-Miller
September 29, 1951 to March 29, 2009

Submitted by: Khristella Joseph, Port Arthur, Texas <

 

#71 - 07/27/11

My dad died at 51 years of age on July 9th, 2010. I have waited a while to write this because I thought it would be easier if I let more time pass. It is still hard but I just have to let people know about his battle with addiction.

He was soooo addicted to cigarettes. When he was first diagnosed with lung cancer I remember watching him in the hospital room just tapping his fingers, chewing tons of gum, pacing and doing whatever he could to keep his mind off of smoking since he could not smoke in the hospital. He was also wearing a nicotine patch that was provided by the hospital. He was so visibly agitated and going through serious withdrawal the whole time he was there. He felt that if he could just have 1 cigarette everything would be so much better.

I don't think he had been without a cigarette in his hand in 20+ years. It made me so sad to watch my dad (who I always thought of as the strongest man on earth) go through such a hard time due to this addition. It was at this time that I realized that this addiction was truly going to defeat him. He never quit smoking. In fact, the minute he left the hospital after being diagnosed he lit up a cigarette. My dad's addiction to cigarettes was the most important thing in the world to him. He lived for cigarettes and he died for cigarettes. He would go without food, water, clothing, electricity or even shelter before he would go without nicotine. He lived for 2 and a half years after being diagnosed with lung cancer. By the time he died he was up to 5 or 6 packs of cigarettes a day. It was horrible watching him waste away for those last couple of years and the he was in a substantial amount of pain.

Just a few things I wanted to remember and say about my dad: Even up until the end of his life my dad was a kid at heart and loved playing video games, he loved his grandbabies and would always laugh and make jokes about everything, he was so witty and always had to be up to date on the latest news and events around the world. He loved to learn new things and reading science fiction books was his passion. He loved to listen to everyone else's life stories and problems and even when he was facing such horrible problems of his own, he never complained. Family was so important to him and he really felt bad for letting us all down by getting lung cancer. Making other people happy was always so important to him and whenever a guest came to the house no matter how sick he was he always made sure to get them a drink or at least asked if they wanted anything and if they were comfortable.

A lot of smokers will say "well you have to die of something" in order to defend their addiction. I always wonder why on earth would you want to pick to die that way? Yes we all die of something, but why choose that? I bet that the people who have died from cigarettes, if given a chance to do it all over again, would not have picked that path. It also bothers me so much when people say smoking is just "a hard habit to break". Do they honestly think that people are dying because of a habit? Nobody dies because of a habit. These people are battling full-blown addictions to nicotine.

Watching my dad suffer and die from Lung Cancer was one of the saddest things I have ever experienced in my life. In writing about this I am hoping that my experience will help at least one other family to not have to go through this. Life is so short, it seems such a waste to pay a cigarette company to slowly kill you. That is what my dad did. He literally paid the cigarette company on a daily basis in exchange for toxic chemicals to be introduced into his body until it eventually killed him. It is so sad really. Please try to stop smoking, and if you fail, try again and again and again, until you succeed. Think about how horrible it would be to have your family member writing about you on here.

Nicole

 

#70 - 10/18/10

My sister Cathi aged 50 died from smoking. She started when she was 11 and never could quit, not when pregnant. This past summer of 2010, she developed chest pains and a stent was used but that didn't do the trick. She needed a bypass on September 20, other than the damage done to her veins & arteries, she was a good candidate. Her prognosis was excellent. But after the open heart seemed to go really well, she developed collapsed artery. Then it was another open heart. Then they wanted to amputate her legs. She died within 36 hours. She only weighed 124 but left in a body bag at 205. She was really petite and cared so much about how she looked. She was divorced and ready to leave for a Hawaiian wedding. That was never to be.

Anybody out there that thinks smoking is cool should have seen what it did to my sister's young body. She died a very barbaric death. It is absolutely hell for those left behind. She'll never see her beautiful daughter marry nor her only son. She'll never see her grandchildren.

Most of us think it's cancer that gets smokers, I think heart is the real killer among women. Your risks double and the younger you are diagnosed the more fatal it is. I was shocked when I looked it up online. It seems like men have an advantage that women do not have.

Also because of smoking, I wasn't around my sister a whole lot because I would develop a migraine from second hand smoke. We would talk on the phone daily as I moved to another state 2 years before she died. She smoked until the ambulance pulled in the driveway. I know she took the pill as well. That is a lethal combo as well.

I never in a million years thought my Beloved sister would die at 50 (life begins at 50) but here I am writing to you. Weeks turn into months and before long , you are dying or losing your healthy heart. If I can talk one person out of smoking, I'll rest in peace.

I quit twice after smoking and haven't had one since 1989 and I am 55, it can be done if you learn to hate it. I have no desire to smoke and haven't in years. Your mind is stronger than you realize.

Please don't follow in Cathi's foot steps. Don't put yourself through it nor your family. Sometimes it gets you a lot younger than you plan on.

Vicki

 

#69 - 08/10/10

Jennifer Hern's momMy beautiful mom passed away on 5 Jan 2010 at the age of 61. She had been smoking since she was about 18. She was diagnosed only 6 months beforehand, in July 2009. Hers was a brief fight, but oh so difficult! She went through severe chemotherapy, even though we knew that the cancer was incurable. It had already spread to her lymph nodes and it looked as though she had 2 soccer balls on either side of her neck. She started the battle so positively, but the chemo slowly takes it's toll. She had 6 sessions, but there was no change. In fact, new spots had appeared on her lungs. They stopped chemo and decided to try radiation to relieve the symptoms. She was ecstatic as she could now eat again :) But stopping the chemo meant that the cancer just ran rampant. She died 3 weeks later.

How do you get over something like this? I stopped smoking 5 years ago and have stupidly been smoking again for the last 4 months. This site has inspired me to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! Starting right now. I don't care how difficult it is!

Losing my mom has been the hardest thing. She was so vibrant and full of life, a keen golfer and a wonderful friend. I am an only-child and I feel the void each and every day. I have just bought a house, gotten a new dog, am starting a business and have the most wonderful man in my life and yet I cannot share any of these joys with her. The memory of her last few months haunts me. She was in so much pain and couldn't breathe. Watching your loved one go through something like this is heartbreaking and if this email stops just one person from taking a puff, then I feel that it's worth it.

Jennifer Hern

 

#68 - 07/06/10

On June 16, 2010 I had to say goodbye to my best friend, my younger brother Ron who died of advanced lung cancer - adenocarcinoma. He was 59 years old. He smoked since he was a young teenager as did I and eight brothers and sisters. Only one sister never smoked but she died of breast cancer. So once there were ten of us and now we are five. Three other brothers also died of cancer and I'm sure it was all related to smoking. Our father smoked but not our Mom.

Ron was a kind and generous soul and we were best friends. He never married but he helped me through two marriages, both of them ending in my husbands' deaths. He helped me with my three children who are now grown with families of their own. I quit smoking in 2008, cold turkey, with the help of this website and I tried to get him to quit too. He would, for maybe a day or two, but then just went right back to a two and sometimes three- pack-a-day dependency.

Losing Ron has left a tremendous hole in my heart. We were very close since we were little. I wish everyone would quit and put the tobacco industry out of business.

I am now in the process of clearing out and cleaning out his house and disposing of his belongings. My heart aches for him and all he left behind. He was only in the hospital for three days and we only knew for ONE DAY that he had this cancer. ONE DAY! It was as if he decided to just give up but I know he wanted to live. We were planning a trip and making other plans when he started having trouble breathing and felt chest pain. We went to the hospital because of the chest pain and never suspected that it was what it was. My heart is broken and I will miss him for the rest of my days.

WhyQuit.com has my everlasting gratitude for helping me to quit. I recommend it to everyone. I will never take another puff, ever. Thank you.

Mary Anne Kennedy

 

#67 - 06/28/10

I am writing this remembrance of my dad Andy who died at 55 in 1984 of adenocarcinoma of the lung. He was a lifelong smoker, just like everyone in my family. Both of my parents smoked. I was hooked on nicotine in the womb. I couldn't wait to light up my own cigarette at 12 years old. I had had to settle for second hand smoke from my parents. I used to stand by them and inhale deeply.

Thank Yah, my mom has been off cigarettes for 10 years now. She just turned 80, after smoking 55 years. My dad didn't grow up around smoking, as I don't believe his parents smoked. When I started putting the pieces together, I had still thought I was bullet proof. I thought my long term nutritional lifestyle made up for my smoking. I told myself that I wasn't the "type" to get cancer. Then I remembered, I grew up with two smokers. They smoked non-stop in the house in the car, they never "stepped out for a smoke."

I have coughed since I was born. I had constant strep throat, bronchitis, and "allergies," which my mom treated with antibiotics and antihistamines. I had a runny nose since I was born. I had a mental illness: denial. I watched my father suffer. They gave him 6 months. But, Dad made a liar out of them; he lived 6 months and 11 days.

I have been clean of cigarettes for a year, but still am hooked on NRT. My latest is e-cigarettes. To be honest, they are getting me off the lozenges, and the vapor seems to help my lung function. I am going to be nicotine free soon. That is why I come to this website to set my mind straight with facts, and gets me out of my denial.

My daughter smokes. She smokes in her car with her kids, in her house with her kids, she is me 20 years ago. Selfish and in denial. I told her I have COPD, and even that is not getting her off those death sticks. Mine isn't too bad, though. My cough is almost gone, and I am improving my endurance with regular work outs and keeping A SMOKE FREE ENVIRONMENT.

I read the memorials, and I see my dad all over the place. I was his birthday baby, and I lost him when I was 33. My brother died two years ago at 58. He had hepato cellular carcinoma (liver cancer). He, too, was a lifelong cigarette smoker . He otherwise qualified for a liver transplant, but the doctors called it off because he had blood clots in his lungs and could not be safely put under for the surgery. My brother died because he smoked. I am just a year and a half younger than he was, and he was dead!

My daughter is doing a powerpoint presentation on Quitting Smoking for a college class, and I knew exactly where to come get the data for the project. I am helping her do this so that I can get her to quit, as she tries to get an "A" in the class. She spent many years doing meth, and Yah only knows how much she smoked then. My grandkids will never see me smoke. I have it written in my will, that cigarette smokers are exempt from my cash, hahahaha!

In the end, I don't want to go the way my dad did, and I think I stopped in time. Now I have to pay it forward, and get my kid to quit, so that this vicious cycle of familial addiction STOPS HERE ... IT STOPS NOW. My dad would be so happy to know that no one in his immediate family smokes any longer. It is now our job to make sure our kids and grandkids don't or won't ever smoke.

Postscript; (One year later...) My mom just got out of the hospital. They found her bladder full of cancer. We are waiting on the pathology reports to find out what the staging is. Bladder cancer like hers keeps coming back 85% of the time. When she was telling the doctors about her symptoms, the first thing he asked her was, "Are you a smoker or former smoker?" He immediately called for CT Scan. My mom also has Albuteral for her emphysema now too. My mom did not escape. Watching my dad die of lung cancer didn't get any of us to quit then. Every day you smoke, is one day closer to not escaping the trap of horrible death and pain. If you smoke now, QUIT ! I pray for all of you, I pray for my mom, and I pray for myself... I am off the NRT now! I am free...

In Messiah of Care,

Pamela G.

 

#66 - 06/22/10
My loving Brother in law Jack Oram lost his battle with lung cancer which had spread to his brain by the time of his diagnosis in Jan of 09. He was my husbands best friend, big brother, a husband father and one of the great loves of my life in the way one is when not lovers but deep and dear friends. He was a renowned scientist, a musician a gatherer of people of lover of life and all that it held. Three part harmonies will forever be silent without him beside us.

He had quit smoking in his early 30's just decided one day enough was enough, and then some years later( about 13) just started up again. When I asked him why( I was still a smoker) but could not fathom a near 13 year quit just gone( see me snap my fingers) just like that, up in smoke.

His reply was we each have a pack life, and now that I have quit so long I can smoke until my golden years.

Imagine my look of dumbfounded you are a crazy arse and they pay you 100's of thousands of dollars to come up with that crap.. I mean did you get a grant to research something so asinine? Truly this brilliant and I do mean brilliant man. This radiant heart this friend of my married lifetime SAID that.

And you know what, it would be years before I GOT IT, he may have been brilliant but he was a addict/ junkie and the junkie brain spoke smooth and whispered and he forgot there isn't any such thing as 'just one"

And so given 4 months to live but lasting 14 months, we tried to believe in a miracle, we prayed each of us in our own way, we spoke of days gone by and he, his brother my Bob and our grandson the only male heir to the name even had some great beach and a great day long train trip. But in the end it was care, and sharing care giving( we were so lucky to live so close and it was his losing his ability to think, recall words( this man who traveled the world and gave scientific talks on lipids and peptides) he could not get thru a local paper cross word although years he had spent Sundays doing the New York Times in pen.

And we cried, and I buried him monthly, and I hoped beyond hope but after a time watching his suffering his dignity gone, his joy, his lust for life, although he WANTED to live was enough to break the most warrior of spirits.

So on March 31, 2010, exactly 14 months from the day he was told he had lung cancer, we sat at the dark of morning with his body as he had left this life. And his brother my husband cannot grieve, but his loss is palpable, and our entire family asks what, now as he represented the elder statesman. Who was a young 64 when he died.

One of the things he said to me shortly after his diagnosis, was ' a week ago I was still making fun at your expense, because you chose to make some pretty big life changes". "Now I realize you truly are the smart one" . I cried because I knew his brother , my husband who smoked and had survived cancer and other life threatening ills was still going to smoke, and I knew Jack was so sorry for his inability to stay the path.

BUT I also knew I had less then 8 yrs in my smobriety bag and he had quit for 13, so it was imperative that although I believed nothing would ever make me smoke, I needed to make certain nothing did. And so every day, I still read, I still express gratitude and I still walk with the caution one might give to a strange new neighborhood on a dark unlit street. By that I mean I pay close attention.

Of course I also have this magnificent love of family, that I will hold as a beacon thru I believe many lifetimes and I shall shine for all those who lost the battle and for all those beautiful children who I will model a smoke free existence for.

In memory of John Fisher Oram Jr. Please if you smoke stop, and please think of all those who will never be the same if you choose to let this be the cause of your lifes end.

With Love in Sadness

JoAnn Oram

 

#65 - 04/18/10

Last month I lost my mother. Looking at her death certificate, I was shocked, but not surprised, that she had emphysema. She had been a smoker for 50 years. When I was 9 or 10, I saw the Surgeon General's warning on one of her packs. For the next 25 years, my pleas for her to quit always feel on deaf ears. She comes from a family of smokers; on top of that, my dad died of heart problems and arteriosclerosis, brought on by smoking. Her brother was a longtime smoker who is, as of now, still alive, but in bad shape. Three of his four children, the oldest born in 1955, smoke.

I now have rhinitis and other allergy problems. I am told that it may be related to second-hand smoke as a child. My mother and her family had a sneerful attitude towards anti-smoking efforts. When I first warned her, she gave me excuses, the most notable being. "People have a right to smoke". Seeing what we see now as opposed to the 1970s, I was prophetic as a child. I have so many horror stories regarding smoking I don't know where to start. I would like to lend my mother's image and story to some anti-smoking campaign that would like it.

I don't know how to send pictures over the Internet; as I don't have my own computer. I have uncovered scores of old photographs, including dozens from my mother's and father's wedding. A couple of photos have my mother holding the then 1-year-old aforementioned niece, putting a pack of Winstons in her mouth. When last I saw her, she picked up the habit.

I just discovered your memorial and I'll try to read it further when I can. I hope that you can help provide some solace over the way tobacco killed both my parents, and now that that has passed, may be looking for further victims, including some of my other relatives.

Thank you,

Paul Kovacik

 

#64 - 04/12/10

Ron ThomassonMy father Ron Thomasson passed away 1/20/2009 due to complications from lung cancer at the age of 72. The last time I saw him was Christmas 2008 when I took this picture. The chemo had made his hair fall out and he was still smoking! I had not spoken to him in 5 years when my grandmother called and told me he was dying. My father had other addictions too.

Thankfully, I had already quit my 32 year nicotine addiction. He smoked 2 packs a day his whole life. When I was a kid I would watch him go to his room and smoke one after another while laying in bed reading. By the time he was done the ash tray would be spilling into the floor. There were nicotine stains all over the house, even the light switches and plug outlets were coated with brown.

I am glad when he passed he knew I was no longer smoking. But the sad thing is even though I had been smoke free at the time of his death for 8 months I thought about using his death as an excuse to light up! Anybody would understand right? I am so glad I didn't do that! This is a horrible life robbing addiction and as Ronnie would say...never let your guard down.

Rest in piece pops.

JRT

 

#63 - 09/08/09

This memorial memory is for 2 very close friends, both were very heavy smokers for over 40 years and both died from small cell lung cancer within a week of each other. These 2 ladies had never met but both were close to me. One was my boss' wife, our Vice President of our small company and the other was my next door neighbor for 10 years. They were diagnosed with cancer about 6 weeks of each other, the same kind of cancer, and died soon after.

This was my wake up call. I smoked for 35 years. I remember when I took my first cigarette at age 14, it was with my best friend. Her mother died from emphysema from smoking. I remember how I smoked in the restroom at school, never got caught but my friends did. 5 day suspension. I remember that I met my the man of my dreams and I tried to quit then. He wasn't the man of my dreams but I did find someone. I remember looking at my mom lying in her casket at age 50. She died from smoking related heart disease. I remember how I railed at God for taking her from me. But even that didn't stop me.

I remember sneaking out of the hospital after delivering my 3rd child, to have a smoke. Couldn't go even 6 hours without smoking. My doctor was to have written notes to let me go out and smoke. I remember when I interviewed for my current job. The Vice President said I would fit right in, I smoked. I also remember seeing her after she was diagnosed with the cancer. She looked like a little old lady. I saw my neighbor lady after she was diagnosed, stooped over and could barely walk. She was using a walker. I remember both of them at their funerals. I remember the wasted look of both. The disease had eaten them up. This not how I want to be remembered. This is not how I want to go out of this life.

If you smoke, quit now before it is too late. If you don't smoke, don't ever start. This could be your wake up call, like I had. Yes, it has only been 6 days but I will never take one more puff.

Cindy Ralph

 

#62 - 08/17/09

As we have weathered the protracted crisis of my 23-year-old son's diagnosis and battle with renal cell (kidney) cancer, our friends, family, co-workers, and even casual acquaintances have kindly and generously offered to help. They have brought food and drink and comfort. Tragically, real help has been out of their reach and ours, out of the reach even of the experts in cancer treatment. Quentin's disease progresses inexorably, and we expect that it will overtake him soon. But nevertheless, there is one thing that every one of the people touched by Quentin's illness can do to help. Here is my request.

If you smoke, quit. Do it today. If you know someone who smokes, ask him/her to quit. Today. Pledge to not give one more penny to the tobacco companies who have profited from the addiction and suffering and deaths of millions. Acknowledge that every time you smoke, you model the behavior of smoking for children, youth, and young adults around you; with every cigarette, you are culpable in some measure for their addiction as well as your own. Pledge to never again be part of the culture of smoking.

The statistics offered by the University Hospital hereditary cancer clinic say that one in three people is stricken with cancer. There are many risk factors and much is yet unknown, but the clearest evidence links cancer to tobacco use. Of everything in Quentin's background and family history, the one and only factor they determined that increased his cancer risk was tobacco use.

losojos01 at aol.com



September 10, 2009 Update
"My son Quentin died this morning"

After a 14-month battle with renal cell (kidney) cancer, Quentin passed away this morning at 7:08am. His final hours as an inpatient at Collier Hospice Care Center were relatively peaceful, pain-free, and dignified.

I will publish an obituary in the Denver Post and in the Toronto Star newspapers. We will hold a memorial celebration of Quentin's life late next week, time and place to be determined.

Isobel McGowan

 

#61 - 08/14/09

I was only 19 when we found out what it was that was making my father so sick and not able to breath. And yes he had smoked until he was around 40. That is what I am now. He had Alpha-1 Antitrypsin. It's a genetic disorder that affects the lungs on the liver. Since my Dad smoked, it affected his lungs, he had advanced emphysema.

My father was always a "unique" individual, one-of-a-kind. At the start, he was getting these plasma injections, which at that time they were not able to test for aids. I remember meeting him at the doctors to be with him for his 1st Plasma treatment, since I worked at the Clinic/Hospital anyways. He was scared, I was scared and I cried with him. He was put on the list for a lung transplant in 1993. Usually it only takes about 2 to 6 months to find a donor. BUT NNNOOO....NOT MY DAD! Again, he played his unique card. It took them until October 1995 to find a donor due to the "unique and rare" tissue in my fathers lungs.

My sister got married on Sept 30, 1995 and my brother had to dance with my sister because my father couldn't. He had to take her down the aisle in his battery operated scooter. I cried. It tore my heart out. But he was proud to be there. On that day, we did not expect my father to make it to Christmas. He stood 6'3" and weighed about 75 lbs by this time. And he only had a breathing capacity of about 10%. The week my sister got back from her honeymoon, we got the call. Dad was on his way to Shands in Gainesville, FL to get his lung. (We live in Clearwater, FL which is about a 3-4 hour drive.)

I met my sister and her new husband and we rode up together. It's a good thing too because I could not stop crying. I was always Daddy's Little Girl. And I was a wreck!!! We all met at the hospital, by that time they were just prepping my dad for surgery. So at least we all got to see him and tell him that we loved him before surgery. It was a 19 hour long ordeal, and we all waited around the hospital until we got the news. He was out of surgery, but we could not see him until the next day. Everything was looking up from there. They told us that with the new lung and my Dad's disease, that we can expect him to be around for another 5 to 7 years. Okay, I can deal with that. I still had my Daddy!!

In time we all forgot about things because all was pretty much back to normal...at least what normal is for my family..(LOL). Here is was December 2007, just over 12 years later, Dad was still here. And we knew that his breathing capacity was already down to about 15% again, and ready to go back on oxygen 24/7. He waited. March 6, 2008, they rushed him to the hospital. And we were told that this was it, Daddy was dying. We were all called to the hospital to have a one-on-one with Dad. He asked each one of us want it was that we wanted of his. I told him..."All I want is you Daddy."

They did surgery on him the morning on March 9, 2008 to put a feeding tube into his stomach, so that way he could as least get some nutrition and at least make it comfortable. I went and saw him on my lunch from work, and it was horrible. He was in so much pain from the air in his stomach cavity, that I don't even think he knew I was there. I had to go back to work, but I waited until my Mom and sister got there. I couldn't leave him alone, not like that. Well I got out of work about 5pm and went straight to the hospital where I met my Mom and sister coming out. They told me that it was senseless for me to go in because he would not even know I was there, he was still in the same shape as when I was there at lunch. He was still screaming about the pain.

Later that night, about 10pm, I was at Mom's, and the phone rang. She picked it up. I stood there and watched her close her eyes and sigh....I knew it was the hospital....Dad died. So we got in her car, I drove, we started calling all the siblings (brother and 2 sisters), to get to the hospital Daddy's dead. I was driving like a bat out of hell to get there, Mom's telling me to slow down. I couldn't...this was Daddy!!! Plus, by this time, I was angry!!!!! Angry at my Mother and sister for making me leave earlier that evening. I could have been there with Daddy when he died! At least he wouldn't have been alone!

We laid my father to rest on March 17th, St. Patricks Day, 2008. He broke the records for the length of time he lived with a donated organ. Doctors told us that he would get another 5-7 years and a donated organ. HE LASTED 12 1/2..... They papers and news stations did a special story on him because of it. I miss my father so much it still hurts.If you "GOOGLE" his name, Allan R. Wilton, you can read the article from the paper.

Daddy, your Little Girl" misses you terribly, but I am at peace knowing you are were you can breath again.

I miss you, I love you and I am Sorry. (only you know why.)

Sharon Britten
Clearwater, FL

 

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