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The Smoker's Memorial - WhyQuit's Wall of Remembrance - Page 6

Page Six

Here we honor and remember the lives of our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and friends killed by cigarette smoking. May our messages motivate those still slave to nicotine to at last devote the time needed to learning and understanding both why they'll smoke that next cigarette and how to at last break and stay free. Share your memorial remembrance of a friend or loved one. Although not necessary, feel free to attach a photo.

Our Remembrances

#60 - 06/11/09

We lost my father in-law to lung cancer at 52. He was one of the greatest men I have ever known. He was the kind of man that would do anything for anyone. The one thing he couldn't do was quit smoking. He loved life and always told us that nothing material matter only people and I now understand what he meant.

He was diagnosed in January of 2005. He fought hard and did really well until October of that year. Then everything went down hill. We spent Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in the hospital with him. We all watched him go through the most agonizing process of dying. They were giving him liquid pain medication because he could no longer swallow and he accidently overdosed on it. Then his kidneys started shutting down. They told him there was nothing else they could do. We lost him 3 days later on December 24th, 2005. We had to watch the fluid from his lungs bubbling up into his mouth and having to be suctioned out until the very end. I would do it again in a heart beat but I don't wish it upon anyone.

His granddaughter/my daughter was his "baby doll" and was 4 at the time. She now tells classmates and teachers about why you shouldn't smoke. I just hope it sticks with her and she never tries it. All I can do is keep telling her about it.

If anything, all I can say is please try to quit now. It's never too late to try. Give yourself that second chance to spend as much time with your family as you can.

We still miss him every day. It never gets easier you just get better at dealing with it. Good luck to all who are trying to quit. I have never smoked but I started reading the whyquit.com website because of a friend of mine who quit almost 11 months ago. It really helps you understand how hard it is for them to quit. My parents have been trying for years. It is, in reality, an addiction just like any other and it needs to be treated that way. You don't just wake up one day and stop. It is an every day struggle.



#59 - 06/10/09

I received a call on Saturday March 15th 2008 looking for "next of kin" because my dad was gravely ill and in intensive care. Even though I had not seen him in almost 20 years when this call came, I knew in my heart that whatever was going on with him was directly related to smoking. My dad was a lifelong smoker. Every memory of him, he's holding a cigarette in his hand. I have childhood photos depicting the same. My sisters and I went right up to New Hampshire where he was living at the time. The doctors believed initially that he had suffered a stroke, and a seizure, however, his biggest problem seemed to be his lungs. The doctors described his lungs as "mush". He just couldn't breathe on his own anymore.

We stayed by his side until his death a week later. Chronic lung disease/COPD was what they decided to have his death certificate read. It could have been a list of things, because "smoking" was really behind all of the "conditions" that he experienced. I myself was nicotine free two years at the time of his illness. Over the years I have quit a million times, but always somehow "justified" going back to it. Through my father's death from smoking I have been given a gift. This heart wrenching "gift" came at the expense of my father's life. The "gift" of seeing first hand what smoking does to a person, someone I loved ... to my dad ... I believe it's sealed the deal that I won't go back to it, I pray, EVER.

I celebrated three years nicotine free this past March.

In memory of my dad, I celebrate the "gift" of life.

Love you Dad.

Sarah Laird


#58 - 05/13/09

My dad passed away April 2, 2009. He smoked 2 1/2 packs a day most of his life. He quit after he was found on the floor passed out barely breathing from severe emphysema. He quit smoking when he went into the hospital.

My dad lived for five years with severe emphysema. He was on oxygen almost 24/7, he took lots of medications and could not hardly walk across the room. He did manage to live on his own the whole time until two weeks before his death.

He will be remembered by most people as having a sunny disposition and not complaining much. His goal in his last years was to make someone smile every day, he was a constant joke teller right up until he couldn't talk anymore. You see it took all the energy he had just to breath, his struggle the last days was the most horrible thing I have ever had to witness. Hospice made him a comfortable as they could with medication, and the dignified manner in which they took care of him.

I quit cold turkey almost four years ago. I will contribute my quit to my dad. I knew after seeing him gasp for every breath that I did not want to die from a smoking related illness. I wish I could have taken all the smokers I love in to see my dad in his last hours, maybe that would give them the strength the need to quit cold turkey.

To all of you out there thinking of quitting, please do it before it's too late.

Kayla S. Bush


#57 - 03/04/09

My mom and dad smoked most of their lives and both died young as a result. My mother had a stroke and ended up on a ventilator and in a coma until she died. My father died shortly afterwards due to emphysema and brain cancer. He made the ambulance driver wait for him to finish his smoke before he went to the hospital!

I watched them both waste away and endure unbelievable pain and suffering. However.. I kept on smoking. Until I found why quit. It's been almost 2 months for me and I will never smoke again. I wanted to quit for a long time but never thought I could after 35 years. Well here I am living proof it can be done. I have 3 children and I never want my kids to go through watching that happen to me. There is no guarantee that all those years of smoking won't have an effect on my life, but from now on I will make it better. To all of you reading this, please stop now before it's too late.

Karen Fohner


#56 - 02/01/09

My Father's Footsteps: My father started smoking when he was 22. So did I. He later developed hypertension and elevated cholesterol levels. So did I. I'm 42 now. The rest of the story I would like to be able to leave off the "so did I."

If I recall correctly, he quit smoking when he was in his upper 50's. He started having mini-strokes and heart problems, and had to retire early for health reasons at age 63 or so. At age 75, he was in and out of the hospital several times with emphysema, congestive heart failure, pacemaker/defibrillator placement, and a hip fracture.

My parents planned a big party/family reunion to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Planning began about a year in advance. The party was set for June 26, 2005. My father fractured his hip in March 2005 and was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes from that point on, until about two weeks before the party. Dan's FatherAmazingly, he was well enough to be discharged home from the nursing home, and did attend the party with my mother and many family and friends on June 26. That's where the photo of him was taken that I put on my page.

Not long after the anniversary celebration, he was back in the hospital, treated for emphysema and congestive heart failure. He had a c-pap machine assisting him with his breathing, IV medication to help regulate his heart and reduce the fluid build-up in his lungs.

On July 21, 2005 it was clear that the end was coming quickly. With my mother, brother and sister, we decided to stop trying to hang on to him. We made the decision to stop the IV medication and the C-pap. We had the defibrillator function of his pacemaker turned off so that when he passed it would not try to shock his heart back to life. We continued the oxygen he was receiving as well as the morphine to keep him comfortable. The most difficult thing I have ever done in my life was to stand at his bedside with my family and watch as he gasped his last breath at 8:10 on that evening.

I don't expect to live forever in this world, but I don't want to go like that ... desperately gasping for air. I don't want to follow that closely in my father's footsteps.



#55 - 01/23/09

We lost our mother, Louise, December 8, 2002 to lung cancer. She smoked two packs-a-day and could not quit. She started getting sick around Thanksgiving that year and finally on December 3 my dad had to call 911 because she couldn't breath. After being tested in the hospital she was diagnosed with lung cancer and renal failure and died FIVE days later. She would be alive today if she did not smoke. She was only 69 years old.

I wish she would have gotten a second chance. I miss her very much.


Lorraine Prendergast


#54 - 01/20/09

My first husband died of lung cancer. He continued to smoke for as long as he could until he died. He even lied to me and snuck smokes for as long as he could after being diagnosed until finally one of his friends let it slip. Every time he lit up was like a knife in my heart because I felt like he didn't love me enough to even try to live while i was killing myself trying to find a way to get him medical care with no insurance, then attend his appointments with him while holding down a full time job and a part time job. I just couldn't understand.

I still remember the first time my stepdaughter lit up in front of me -- all these years later I still feel sick when I remember that. That is the only time in my life I regret NOT hitting someone. I still can't believe she started smoking after watching her father die so horribly.

As the only non-smoker in my circle of friends & co-workers (back when smoking was allowed in workplaces routinely) I would endlessly hear about non-smoking sections and other "infringements" of their smoking rights. Meanwhile I was constantly having colds, sinusitis and bronchitis. After years of illness I was finally diagnosed with asthma. Think anybody quit smoking? Nope! At one point I was living with 3 smoking roomates and hacking my lungs out constantly and they kept insisting I had allergies!!!

Well, lo and behold, my present husband quit smoking, we moved several states away from all our smoking friends, and I haven't had a single episode of bronchitis since. Meanwhile two of my smoking circle of friends have died -- one in his 40's of circulatory-related problems and one in her early 60's of a stroke precipitated by a big ol' heart attack. His widow and her daughter still puffing away!!! Whenever I go to visit them I come home sick and stinky. I still love them but spending time with them really costs me and can really be a drag. Every time I turn around I have to wait for my friend to have or finish or roll a cigarette. I counted one day. I spent 45 minutes in one day just waiting for her to finish her cigarette before we went into the house or store or restaurant or whatever. She was SO considerate about not smoking in my car...but every drive of more than a half hour included ten minutes on each end so she could stand outside the car and smoke a cigarette while I waited. UGH! To think of all the years I sacrificed breathing clean air in order to spend time with the people I loved. Except for my 2nd husband, they sure haven't sacrificed smoking to spend time with me!

I've resigned myself to watching them sicken and die too. I've also realized the need to cultivate some healthier friends that I can hope to enjoy growing old with. Smoking weakens relationships as well as bodies. When you watch someone live in denial about doing something so self destructive for so long it definitely affects your feelings for that person and relationship.

As a non-smoker I have washed more nicotine off my walls, out of my car and hair and clothes than you'd believe. I have had cigarette holes in handmade quilts (first hubby burnt both smoking in bed, one didn't even make it 24 hours after I finished it before it had a burn hole.) My (new!) car upholstery, and burn marks on the bathroom countertops. I found a piece of my tupperware with a cigarette burn in it that no smoker in the house would own up to. And butts all over the driveway and lawn -- after providing a can for disposing of them -- and how hard is it to field strip a cigarette anyway? I lost a year's worth of decent sleep because my first husband smoked in his sleep and wouldn't stop!!! Eventually I'd snap wide awake at the click of a lighter and watch him SMOKE in his SLEEP in the bed! (don't ask what I had to do to make him stop -- I was afraid of dying in a house fire and it wasn't pretty but I HAD to get him to stop. Asking didn't work.) literally and figuratively, I've been dealing with other people's smoking and it's consequences my whole adult life. Every time I see someone smoking, looking all old and haggard and prematurely aged, I thank GOD I never started. that could so easily have been me.



#53 - 11/19/08

My dad died of pancreatic cancer with metastasis when he was 42. It was a long time ago and I still miss him. He was a 3-pack a day smoker and he used big ashtrays which were always stuffed with cigarette butts. Larks was the brand he smoked and it had a charcoal filter that was supposed to make them safer to smoke. The charcoal filter was his only concession that cigarettes might be bad for you.

We could always spot him in a crowd because he towered over most people. He went from being a smiling and handsome 6'3" man to a skeletal ghost in four months. He smoked up until the third day before he died, when he went into a coma. He never once tried quitting. He had a full head of wavy black hair which he kept until the end. His hair still looked young even though he looked about 80 years old. We didn't know how the funeral home was ever going to make him look like himself since he only weighed about 100 lbs, but they came through and he looked good at his funeral.

I was 19 when he died and I couldn't get over it for several years. I used to sneak his cigarettes and was hooked by age 13. I once quit for 9 months and picked it up again the day my dad died. Now I feel ashamed for having used his death as an excuse to continue smoking. In fact, I smoked for 44 years, more years than my dad even lived. For some unbidden but welcome reason, I have been able to quit smoking for 93 days. For the first time I think I can actually keep a quit now that I have educated myself about nicotine addition. My dad was a big reader. I wish WhyQuit was around when he was a smoker -- he might have saved his own life. I think there's still time to save mine.



#52 - 10/28/08

I am Amanda Johnson. I lost my grandfather in January of 2008. I do not have a tragic story of a man's life cut short by smoking. In fact, despite smoking for 50 years he lived to the age of 78. However smoking had a huge effect on his quality of life. The last 4 or 5 years of his life COPD made many things impossible for this active man. He rarely left the house due to the embarressment of getting out of breath. He would wear out just walking from his room to the living room at family functions. This is a man who adored his family. He would have done anything for any of us. Yet many times his health simply would not allow it.

I have been blessed to be at the side of a few loved ones as they passed. I can assure you the only thing I have seen that is more horrifying then dying with COPD and lung cancer is AIDS. Your lung function becomes so labored talking can make you run short of breath. It broke my heart to see the strong man I had always admired be reduced to a shell in a bed and struggling for each breath. I promised him I would quit and I intend to make good on that promise. The sad thing is someone my age has no excuses. I knew the first time I lit up it was dangerous and deadly. My grandfather did not get that warning until it was far too late. I hope he is the last in our family to meet such a fate.



#51 - 10/10/08

My name is Kaye Lynn and one week ago today, we buried my 54 year old mother because she smoked from the age of 16. Her lungs were not healthy enough to survive another bout of pneumonia. Her smoking gave rise to emphysema by the age of 28 yet she still did not stop smoking. Her allergies were exacerbated severely by smoking and her immune system was compromised by smoking as well. Although my precious and beautiful mother had a string of chronic illnesses, I believe most, if not all were caused by smoking.

Mother never really tried to quit smoking. She knew her nicotine addiction would be her most difficult battle. Then a little over a year ago after another hospitalization due to respiratory issues- she finally gave up the cigarettes. This was short lived I am sad to say. Maybe 6 to 8 months but most assuredly she felt better in that time than she had felt in decades!

I do wish that she had been able to kick smoking for good. There is no guarantee it would have saved her life but it certainly would have made the quality of the life she had left a great deal better.

What I think many people miss about smoking is that sometimes smokers don't die directly of a smoking related illness like Lung Cancer or emphysema which is what people typically think. Sometimes they die because they have damaged their lungs (and other areas/systems and organs) in such a way from smoking that their bodies cannot support the healing process any longer.

I am in about my 26th hour of nicotine withdrawal now. I have quit several times. A few of those times have been for 9 months and a year but I've always picked them back up thinking one cigarette would not cause a relapse. Sometimes it didn't right away but it definitely ALWAYS did!

I hope that I am able to maintain this time because I'm beginning to have many respiratory related illnesses, asthma, bronchitis, pluerisy and they have gotten especially bad in this last year or so. In fact I am suffering from the most severe case of acute bronchitis and pleurisy that I can recall ever having as I write this. I quit once a couple of months ago but I just didn't commit. Seeing my mother pass away the way in which she did has made me acutely aware of how short my life may indeed be if I do not stop smoking now! If I only lived as long as she did, that means I only have 16 years left here with my family, friends, husband and children.

That is not acceptable so smoking must not be either.

Very Sincerely,

Kaye Lynn Peddy


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