SMOKING kills feelings but not my tears


I was not aware that my dad was smoking in the basement while growing up, until I saw cigarette butts resting in the cellar wall as a late teenager. But it was smoking at his work desk when I was a freshman at Cornell that I felt both of our embarrassments – I think he apologized and I stood sadly silent.

He didn’t want to be a poor example to his three beloved children. My dad took good enough care of his diabetes by following his diet and injecting daily insulin. Still, he died of a sudden heart attack at age 60, so I could never say goodbye or tell him ‘I love you.’

I became angry at smoking. I wouldn’t let my third husband smoke in our house or around me and my two daughters. I separated from him because he wouldn’t quit when he said he would. (Others aspects of our relationship factored into our divorce.)

And, my fourth husband couldn’t quit either. When I returned from Omega, a personal growth weekend, I found an ashtray full of butts on the deck; Gregory not respecting my loving request (limit) which he had been respecting since we had started dating. Since he had promised to quit. I felt rage pounding in my chest. I ran downstairs to the garage, found the sledgehammer and began smashing the ashtray and its insane reminder of how cigarettes kill. I screamed and yelled: “I hate cigarettes! I hate that you killed my dear daddy!!”

Soon, Gregory appeared, to hold me in his arms while I sobbed.