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


Page One

Memorials 1 - 10


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.

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Date
Our Memorial Remembrance
10 01/03/06

My grandpa had been having some pain in his back for a few months, but no one really seemed to notice too much. He was still in good spirits. However, after going in for some testing in late September, he found out he had lung cancer and it was spreading very rapidly. He may only have a few months to live if he got chemo.

They found out the information on a Monday. My sister and I went to visit him that Thursday. He died Friday morning around six. My grandmother, Mom, aunts, and uncle were very upset. They had so little time to deal with everything. I wrote about my memories of him and they were read at his funeral. He died on September 30, 2005 at 69 years old.

I went back to work and was trying to catch up on everything. On the morning of November 3, 2005, I was sitting at my desk at work. I got a phone call from the secretary asking if my sister got through to my line. I hadn't heard from her, so the secretary transferred her to me. She said, "Amy, there's been an emergency with Mom. Come to the hospital." Two seconds later my boss came in with someone to fill in for me while I was gone. I left and drove to the hospital 20 miles away.

Amy and her momI just kept thinking that maybe she fell or something. She did have hip replacement surgery a couple of years ago after all. When I finally got to the hospital, my stepdad said she was dead on arrival. My sister was right next to him crying. I wanted to know what happened. My stepdad told the coroner that he woke up around that morning and went to check on my mom who had fallen asleep on the couch. She was on the floor, face down, with her tongue hanging out. He checked her pulse and called 911. It was too late. She was gone.

As we were talking with the coroner, the fact that my mom had been smoking about three packs of cigarettes a day came up. She was going to quit several times in her life, but something always came up to make her life "stressful." The latest time she was going to quit was after my grandfather, her dad, just died of lung cancer. However, my sister was having a difficult pregnancy, so there was stress in her life.

Anyway, she did quit smoking when the stress was gone. She also missed the birth of her second grandchild three days after her death. My mom was only 47 years old when claimed by a massive heart attack, five weeks after the death of her father from lung cancer.

Amy Berkshire

9 11/17/05

Denise Armand

Friend, neighbor, smoker died of GI cancer ten years ago.

Her husband had died of lung cancer from smoking years ago.

Nayyera Malik

8 11/14/05

My dear older sister Sharon died on March 24, 2005. Sharon had started smoking at the age of 9 years old, behind my mothers back. She originally smoked King Chesterfields with no filter until she got COPD and started using the filtered cigarettes. Sharon tried for years to stop smoking on and off but she always went back to it when she got mad at her husband, etc. The doctor had told her originally that she would be dead in two years if she did not stop smoking and at this time she did not have lung cancer.

By the time the cancer had developed it was to late to operate as her breathing was so bad from emphysema that they could not operate on her to remove the small tumor that had developed. It was not the fast growing small-cell cancer but due to not being able to operate the radiation did not help. Sharon was fine until about 4 weeks before she died, she thought she would have one more summer to go to Hampton Beach but it did not work out.

When Sharon started to decline it was so fast it was unbelievable!!! Even today I can't believe how fast she went! It seems like a nightmare but oh so true. What was the worst part was that Sharon knew that she had done it to herself. Sharon did not want to die! But she did due to her cigarette smoking, she basically killed herself and now her family is lost without her.

Sharon was well loved by her family and we miss her terribly and it is like a vast, open, wound not having her around anymore.

Debra Labelle

7 10/24/05

My best friend and grandmother, Frances Helen "Miller" Baker, age 65, died November 14th, 2004 at 5:03 am from a 3 year battle with COPD and heart disease. She started smoking at age 14 and I remember my whole life seeing her with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She smoked on average 3 packs a day and did 3 years prior to her passing

Her fight started in February of 2000. She started getting out of breath easily and wheezing terribly. She thought it was just a cold and went on smoking as usual. Well, after about 2 months of this feeling not going away she went to the doctor. He diagnosed her with asthma and sent her home with a nebulizer and some inhalers. She went on puffing away on both the cigarettes and the inhalers.

Time passed and her birthday came January 26,2001. She was feeling very ill and went to the doctor. She told him she couldn't breath and he told her (she had rheumatoid arthritis) that it seemed that she had a fractured rib. He sent her home and told her to stay off her feet. He didn't do x-rays because it was time for him to go home. She got worse as the hours passed. My husband and I stayed with her because I was worried about her She started acting strange, vomiting from the pain she was experiencing. She couldn't breath/ Finally at 11:56 I told her either she was going to the hospital by ambulance of we would take her ourselves, either way , GET IN THE CAR!

My husband ended up taking her in. They arrived at 12:25am. She went into the ER and they took her right back. The rest of my family arrived and at 1:05 am. She fell on the floor. She wasn't breathing. They had to resuscitate her and put her on life support and said that she wouldn't make it through the night. It turns out that she had pneumonia and a collapsed lung and was suffocating. Miraculously she lived and stayed in the hospital for 3 months afterwards then had to go to rehab for 2 months.

She came home on June 28th. They sent her home with oxygen that she had to have for 24 hours and LOTS of medications. She couldn't walk. She had to use a wheelchair to move herself around and get from place to place in her home. She couldn't leave home except to go to the doctor. That was horrible because she used to be so active - working in the yard, going shopping, doing so many things ... and all because she didn't listen to her doctors when they told her time and time again to STOP SMOKING!

She lived for 3 years after she returned home. As she said so many times, she didn't live, she existed. She Never picked up a another cigarette, but it was to late to help. The damage was already done. On November 14th, 2004 she passed away with congestive heart failure/heart attack at her dining room table sitting in the wheelchair in my grandfathers arms.

I miss her so badly. I still cry for her and I still wish she would have listened. We could be shopping together and having our weekly lunches. I would still have my best friend and my confidant. She leaves her husband, William Baker, her only daughter, Ronda Thompson, 2 grandchildren, myself, Veronica McGuinness, my brother Edmund "Buddy" Thompson, and 5 great-grandchildren: my daughters Jessica N. McGuinness (7) and Ashley Christine (2), and my brother's children Lyndsey Thompson (11), Jonathan Thompson (7), and Natalee Thompson(3), and one sister, Betty Parks.

We Love you Granny...and we miss you so very much!

Veronica McGuinness

6 05/07/05

On May 5, 2005, Ruth Ann Clark, my daughter-in-law's mom, died of lung cancer. She was a smoker since childhood, and had tried many times over the years to quit. In February she was diagnosed with stage 4. I stopped in to visit her not long after that and found her smoking and weeping at her inability to stop. She was on the "patch" at her Doc's advice, and was in such a state of disgust and despair over her relapse. She knew that I had finally sucessfully quit and asked for help.

I shared all the great info I've gleaned from this site with her, and I'm proud and happy to say that she spent the last month of her life in freedom from her addiction. She knew it was too late to save her own life. I think she did it as an act of recovering her soul, and to set an example for the smokers around her. I have done alot of hospice work, and have seen addicts asking for their fix literally on their deathbeds, and there is nothing sadder. Though the cancer was destroying her body, she had a glow about her, and a sense of winning though it was too late to save her body.

She was smart and funny and passionate and beautiful. She is loved and missed by all of us whose lives she touched for too short a time. She was only 57 years old, and left us way too quickly.

I know that it's through the grace of God, that I'm not in her position, and I'm eternally grateful to all of you here for helping me finally break the chains of my addiction, just when I had nearly lost all hope of ever stopping.

Love and life to all
Mary

Free and Healing for One Year, Seven Months, Six Days, 13 Hours and 44 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 20 Days and 7 Hours, by avoiding the use of 5,846 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $1,197.69.

5 05/04/05

I've smoked for 6 years. My father smoked for 30+ years. He was diagnosed with stage three lung cancer in 2003. He made it just about a year. His cancer had spread all over his body.

Well... I continued to smoke, with every intention of quitting because of my dad. I didn't get it. I never got the actual quitting part down. I finally got the strength up while on a trip with my family. I had realized that if my dad hadn't been a smoker, he would still be alive today. I realized the irony of it all. How I'd been so hurt by his death, yet I continued to do what killed him.

He was an awesome man, though. He always played Santa at our Christmas celebrations. I miss him dearly. As does everyone who knew him. I know how much he grew to hate cigarettes and smoking... and I owe my quitting to him. He didn't even know I smoked, and I'm glad that he didn't. I miss his voice, his face.

RIP, Dad.
Love ya,
Jessica

4 04/30/05 My father died from an aneurysm twenty years ago, in September 1985. I wish I could go back in time and show him the WhyQuit and Freedom sites, and educate him, and also the doctors. He became ill in the '60s when I was about six years old. I remember he had difficulty in walking and would have to stop every hundred yards or so with pains in his leg at the ankle. He was having circulatory problems and by 1971 he had to have a leg amputated from just below the knee after suffering lots of pain.

He was a smoker and continued to do so. The doctors said that he should stop as it was considered to be a contributory factor. I now totally one hundred per cent believe it was a total factor. But in the '70s the health service was in denial. The amputation did not relieve the pain as he then suffered phantom pains as if the limb was still there. Worse was yet to come as his other limb started to play up and he used to get large abscesses which had to be drained and began to suffer from gangrene.

I can still remember the smell of rotting flesh. In 1978 he had to get the other limb removed from below the knee. But it wasn't long before they had to operate and cut from above the knee. If smoking was the major cause then my father suffered 30 years of pain for the so called "pleasure." He didn't just lose his life in September 2005, he lost it in the mid sixties to a cruel and, at that time, well sold and sponsored addiction. Hopefully this story will demonstrate that addiction doesn't always result in a quick death but can result in many years of misery.

John Ross

[Editor's Note: The above four links, including links to graphic images of Brandon Carmichael's leg amputations, were added to John's powerful message to help readers better understand how circulatory disease today remains smoking's #1 killer.]

3 04/27/05

On April 20, 2001, my father, Robert Prince, went to see a doctor for what he thought was gallbladder stones. They did x-rays and found that he had a tumor in his right kidney which was cancerous. His right kidney was removed on April 31. At the follow-up visit after surgery we were told that the previous diagnosis of kidney cancer was false. That in fact he had lung cancer that had spread to his kidney. On May 15, 2001, eleven days prior to my 18th birthday, part of my father's lung was removed and they started him on chemo.

Originally, from the day he was diagnosed in mid April, my father was given six months or less to live. He beat those odds but not for long. Everything was okay until September 2003 when he started going downhill fast. He was being severally medicated 80% of the time and didn't know where he was half of the time. In December 2003, on Christmas evening, he made a comment to me and my brother that we needed to go to sleep because Christmas was tomorrow. I was 20 at the time and my brother was 18. Sadly, he was so medicated and out of it that he completely missed Christmas. A few days after Christmas we went to see hospice and checked him into one of their centers where he stayed for two days. They released him to us and we were told to make him comfortable. He didn't want to die in the hospital.

Hospice came daily and took care of dad's meds. On January 9, 2004, he woke-up complaining that he couldn't feel his feet. They were completely blue from his calves down. We called hospice and my dad's entire side of the family showed up to help. I couldn't stand being in the house, so I took my then 7 month old son out to his father's house. I came back around 6 p.m. that evening and had my son's father keep him overnight so I could take a nap. On January 10, 2003, at 12:10 a.m., my father passed away. My mom woke me up about 15 minutes afterward but I already knew.

I called my son's father. He told me that a few minutes after my dad had passed away that my son looked up at the ceiling with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes, and was waving goodbye. I truly believe my dad stopped to see my son before he left. There was no way that my son or his father could have known until I'd called to tell them.

My father smoked 3 packs a day until the day he died. He started young, 13ish I believe. He was only 41 when he passed. He left a loving wife, two kids and a grandchild.

Jolene Prince

2 04/26/05

Kim after chemoKim was 44 when diagnosed with lung cancer. The last thing she wanted was for her name, picture or story to end up on some Internet memorial such as this. She knew that if it happened it meant that she'd lost her battle. But this proud brave lady was anything but a loser. The scar from her lung removal surgery had not yet fully healed before she was here, on the Internet, inspiring smokers to quit and quitters to win.

Kim and her loving sister Kelly both quit upon news of Kim's cancer. They arrived at Freedom from Tobacco, WhyQuit's quitting forum, in the Spring of 2002. During the next two years they'd remind the forum's 3,000+ members of what the ultimate battle was all about. For many, it made the challenges of quitting pale in comparison.

As Kim told members on March 8, 2004, "Believe me everyone, withdrawal was and is so much easier than this 2 year cancer battle I have been fighting. The craves disappeared, the cancer hasn't"

We lost Kim on June 23, 2004 but not her spirit or her message. We invite you to read Kim's story at this link. She would have wanted that. It's only fitting that this new WhyQuit memorial page be dedicated in honor of Kim, the most courageous Canadian many of us will likely ever know. We miss you, Kim!

John R. Polito
Editor WhyQuit.com
Charleston, SC, USA

1 12/29/04

Hello Folks. My name is Mike, and with the help of WhyQuit / Freedom, their fantastic managers and members, I crushed out my last half-smoked cigarette on 12/5/2000 and I know that since I'm only one puff away from a full-on relapse, I'll never take another puff. I tried really hard to encourage my parents to quit, to the point that they were getting angry with me. They chose to not follow my good example, and just said "yeah, I'll quit some day"(sound familiar?). Any way, this is how it played out.

I'm sharing my story with you in hopes that you are either inspired to continue your fight against nicotine addiction, or are encouraged to do the smart thing and not start at all.

My parents were married for over 44 years, and they traveled all over the world. My father actually was part of the Apollo program, which always made him seem kind of super-human to me. My mother was very well liked where she had worked for over 20 years, and she was quite beautiful. My wife, 20 years junior, was even jealous of how gracefully mom was aging.

Both of my parents were very smart, and they kept very neat records, their cars were always perfectly maintained, and their grass was always cut. Never were they even a day late in paying a bill, never did they fail to save that portion of their pay for their futures.

The day finally came when they retired and moved to South Carolina, where they put in a swimming pool to honor a promise they had made to their grand children that they loved so much. Two years or so went by and my mother developed a dry, nagging cough.

This cough stayed with her for quite a while, but despite my father's begging, she refused to go to the doctor. Finally, after dealing with this cough for several months, she finally went for help, and that's when she got the news: She had inoperable, non small-cell lung cancer and was given six months to live. Her oncologist told her that chemo might help, so they did their best to fight it, but she died in the hospital almost exactly 6 months after the diagnosis.

At the time of her death, I never would have recognized her if someone didn't show her to me. She was only 62, but she looked 92. I stood there with her, holding her hand as she passed slowly away, and believe it or not, even at this moment, she was in denial about what was happening. She still never thought it could happen to her.

My poor father, who was also a heavy smoker, died suddenly, just 18 days later as he was lighting a cigarette in the wee hours of the morning. He had laid dead for 2 days before his maid came by and found him. He had died where he stood. Left behind are his 2 sons and his 4 grandchildren who miss them terribly and who may never fully recover from this shock.It sounded almost romantic at first, that he had died of a broken heart, but I know the truth was much more grim and ugly.

So here we have 2 sadly typical tobacco-related deaths. One, the most feared lung cancer, the other we're not exactly positive but the doctor said it was probably a stroke, a heart attack, or an anurism, all of which can be attributed to tobacco use.

So please, find it within yourself to keep on fighting the good fight. The tough times really do pass before you know it, then you just need to constantly be on guard against complacency and remember to not take another puff. It truly is great to be able to fill my lungs all the way up with air again!! By the way, I've also saved well over $10,000. Quit simply, there is no reason to smoke.

Mike Kidd
Maryland, USA



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