27 February 2010


It was my mother's 76th birthday this week.  I went to bed with her in my heart and in my head, and I woke to thoughts of how much she would have loved being with her family, in body, at this time in our lives.

You see, my mother passed over 14 years ago.  She had throat cancer.  A couple of dreadful operations and six weeks of radiation therapy didn't stop the cancer returning again and again.  She finally gave up fighting when she heard it was on its way up to her brain. 

I can understand why my mother began smoking.  Truly, I can.  I was around, I saw the advertisements!  You couldn't be one of the 'in' crowd if you weren't a smoker.  It was good for stress, for your throat, for everything...  if you don't believe me, why don't you take a look at this link. Have a read of their 'About Exhibit' page. It explains why so many people of that generation are dying of various smoking related cancers.

Neither my sister nor I smoke.  We never have.  I could never stand the smell of cigarette smoke.  It made me physically ill.  The constant exposure to cigarette smoke also caused me to have many, many bouts of bronchitis and even pneumonia when I was a child. We didn't even know about the dangers of second-hand smoking then! 

I tried to smoke.  Once.  When I first started work for a large insurance company. 'All' the girls smoked (they did, truly) and I was constantly being teased because I didn't.  I eventually gave in to a 'lesson' on smoking.  Two deep draws and I was ill!  Which was more embarrassing than not being a smoker.  I also had a violent headache which lasted for the rest of the day.  So.  No more smoking.  I was constantly nagged to 'keep trying'. Why would I pay good money to feel so sick?  Made no sense to me. Today I can reflect on the fact that somebody must have been looking after me!  I am so grateful that it never became a habit.

Right.  So now we know why our generation felt compelled to smoke.  What I'd like to know is why young girls (sorry, but this is a 'chickie' chirp page so I'm leaving the boys out of this) today are still smoking.  I truly can't understand the logic behind it.  Their generation now know better than ever that smoking kills. And, if it just killed you it wouldn't be that bad... it's how it kills you that is so shocking.

If you've ever valued your looks you would understand the trauma of having to submit to having half your mouth carved away by a surgeon desperate to save your life.  When that operation doesn't work, they'll perform another and then another... your teeth might go, your saliva glands might not work anymore, you might not be able to swallow properly.  You're not looking so cool anymore and you're feeling as though you've woken to hell on earth. 

Smoking also makes you STINK.  Stale cigarette smoke on the most expensive suit smells no different to what it would on an old rag.  Smoking makes your hair STINK too.  So what if you paid hundreds of good dollars to have the best cut and colour?  Expensive perfume + cigarette smoke = STINK.  So what is the point?  Sticking it to the establishment?  Hey, our generation have 'been there and done that'... you're not impressing us.  Hell, most of us don't apparently seem to care either! 

There's an advert on Australian TV at the moment.  It asks how a mother feels when she has to tell her children she has cancer.

If you're a young girl who's just getting into the addictive business of smoking, this is a good time to ask yourself a few questions.  Do you want children 'one-day'?  Why do you want children?  Will you love and cherish them?  Do you want the best for them? Do you want to watch them grow up to have families of their own?  Will you be around if you don't stop smoking?

You see, life is about a series of choices we make.  The choices we make today affect tomorrow.  That's just how it is.  We are each of us responsible for our own destiny.  We create our reality.  Why would you choose to create a living hell for your family and yourself?  Oh, right... I forgot!!!  You can stop whenever you want to.  You're in control. Of course!

I miss my mother.  I miss her voice on the telephone, I miss her arms around me.  I miss her long, chatty letters.  I wish she was still around to see what lovely human beings her grandchildren have become.  I wish she could have held her great-grandchildren in her arms.  I know how much she loved us all and I know how much she would have loved to be here today.

I believe that what my mother went through has to make a difference, it has to have taught us all something. It can't all have been for 'nothing'!  So, please be patient with me if I ask you whether you really need that cigarette...  I ask because I care.

April Blackbird

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree! It's such a horrible habit that effects everyone around you. I really can't stand the smell of stale cigarette smoke on peoples' clothes and on their breath. It actually puts me off going to pubs in Europe.