Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The worst part of me.

Ok, so I'm all for being brutally honest on my blog. Which is fairly easy, because no one in my circle of people knows I have a blog. I have chosen it to be this way in order to be totally anonymous. That way, I can be absolutely truthful and say whatever I want and nobody knows what I'm talking about. Kind of like real life in that aspect; most times I don't know what I'm talking about.

But I digress.

I have a dirty habit. It is the one thing about myself that I am embarassed about. Not nose picking. Not eating gum off the sidewalk. Not drinking other people's leftover drinks at the bar. Do you see where I am going yet?

It's the worst of the worst, in acceptable society.

I. Am. A. Smoker.

Don't worry, you don't have to say it, I'll say it for you. Ugh, gross. Here's the brutally honest part: *deep breath* I have been a smoker for twelve years. I smoked while pregnant with all three kids (I really, really cut down while pregnant, and you don't have to crap on me, because I did a really good job of making myself feel like shit for 10 months x 3). I watched my mom die of lung cancer. And yet, I still smoke.

Oh yes, I have tried quitting. Patches, Zyban, cold turkey. I have not given up on quitting, because it's really important to me that my kids don't ever think it is ok or acceptable. Especially now, when the anniversary of my mom's death is so close. I don't smoke in the house or when the kids are riding in the truck with me. The other day, though, the Hurricane said to me, "Mom, when I am a grown up, will you teach me how to smoke?" A part of me died inside. I felt my inner self grab a knife and jam it into my heart, then twist it around. Then my inner self punched me in the ear and said, "Do you see what you are teaching your child? What kind of mother are you?" Oh, the guilt. Oh, the guilt.

(Sidenote: I am sitting here cringing at my total unworthiness to raise these children.)

See, both of my parents were heavy smokers. How much of this did I learn from them? Would I have been a smoker anyways, even if they never smoked? I hated the smell of cigarettes when I was living at home. Refused to even buy my parents cigarettes if I had to stop at the store on the way home. I didn't start until I was 19 years old. Old enough to know better, too young to care. My husband is a smoker - would I still have married him? All but one of my friends are smokers. Would they still be my friends? Am I passing on this horrible habit to my kids? When my children are adults, are their lives going to be blown apart because I have been diagnosed with cancer?

(Sidenote: I want to throw up at the thought of that.)

My brother did a really good job throwing my habit in my face last year. He flat out told me that I was a bad mother and a lousy human being because I smoked. I was stunned to realize that a tiny part of me agrees with him.

I carry such guilt about this. I saw my mother die because of it. I don't want my kids to go through what I went through. I am hoping that by writing it down and exposing the worst part of me, I will find the motivation to wake up one day and slap on a patch instead of grabbing a smoke.


  1. I am going to tell you something that is going to break your heart more. But honestly, I tell you out of love for your children that I've never even met. I tell you because the pain is still so real that it will knock me to my knees and cause a panic attack. I tell you because I know you love your children and would go to the ends of the earth for them. So I am talking to you now, for your children in a future that they don't know exists.

    15 months ago my father died at the very young age of 66 because of 2 aneurysms. One in his stomach and the other was aortic. (Since you're a nurse, I'm sure you know what this means.) I will spare you the details of what the last 7 days of his life were like for him and for his children. But I will tell you what happened a month after his funeral.

    I was in therapy. My mother-in-law and my father died within 2 weeks of each other. Both deaths were unexpected and my husband and I literally spent an entire month at someone's death bed. I was not coping- at all. My therapist had me write letters to both of them saying whatever it was I needed to say. Well, in those very honest moments while writing I realized I blamed my father for him making us watch him die such a horrible, painful death.

    My father was a smoker. Believe it or not he had smoked for 60 years. Yup, started at the age of 6. Very scary to think I know. But regardless of that fact- 60 years or 12 years...the doctors told us this. Smoking CAUSES aneurysms. (I think my father was lucky that the effects of smoking didn't kick in way sooner.) My father caused his own death. My father caused our pain. My father caused me at only 33 years old to be forced to sit at his bedside while tubes are sucking black crap out of his body and machines are keeping him alive. My father forced me at 33 years old to tell the doctors that it was time to let him die. I had to kill my father. Yes, I know he was already dead. And I know that technically I didn't kill him. But that decision to turn off the machines was on me. I was mad that my dad caused me to endure such pain.

    I tell you this, because I think my reaction to my dad's death is very normal. And I would never wish upon anyone to have to go through that kind of emotional hell. I know you had to watch your mom die of lung cancer and you probably already know all of this. But I hope that hearing it from me may motivate you more. Smoking doesn't just kill with cancer. It kills in other ways too. And it doesn't just kill the person who is smoking. It killed the person I was. I am not the same 30-something year old that I could have been had my dad not died this way.

    I would hate for your children to be angry at you after you have already died and are unable to speak with them and make amends. It doesn't matter how old you are or how old they are when you pass away- death is painful. It only makes the healing from a death that much harder when the death is self-inflicted. So many more emotions have to be dealt with to try and heal.

    I know this is probably the longest comment in history. But reading your post broke my heart. I hope that you can stop smoking. I pray that you can stop- for you and your kids. If you need a support system I offer myself whole-heartedly. Whatever I can do for you from here I will. Please, just let me help. For you, for your children, and for me. Because maybe if I can help you, I can help my heart a little too.

    OK, now that the tears are pouring down my face and I can no longer see my computer screen I will go. But know- I am praying for you fervently.

  2. I never picked up the habit but my siblings did and in fact, my younger sister is quite a heavy smoker. My son in-law is also a heavy smoker and I know it weighs heavy on both of their minds too. Hugs to you as you struggle with this. Just knowing that you need to stop is perhaps half the battle?? Good luck!

  3. While I certainly don't disagree with anything Foursons said, what I don't think you need is more guilt. On the contrary, while I think quitting FOR your children may be a perfectly noble reason, it can backfire. If you are quitting for them, how long will it be before they piss you off one day and your subconscience decides to "punish" them? Do you really want to resent them for "making" you quit?

    Because you *know* that those two things should not be this way, you will feel even worse when you DO have those feelings. Smoking is not logical, so you can't easily use logical reasons to stop. You know them all and you haven't quit yet. (Even if you didn't have kids, it's perfectly illogical to keep going.)

    I think the only person to do it for is yourself. It just so happens that everybody wins! (A side bonus is you get to take all the credit!)

    I wish you well with this. One day at a time, Sweetie. And not the crappy 70s sitcom, either.


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