~~Every story has an end.~~ Unknown
A few months ago, I agreed to write a post about Donna and tell you all her story. I couldn't do it. The words weren't there and they wouldn't come so I just put it off. The words still aren't quite there but I do understand the importance of what she wanted to say so please forgive me if this is a bit disjointed or confusing.
Donna was one of those smokers who liked to smoke. We used to smoke together back when I also smoked. I quit and she didn't want to hear why or how or how I felt being a non-smoker. She teased me about being a "Debbie Downer" when she would light up around me. Eventually she didn't smoke when I was around but was not thinking about quitting, she just said she didn't want to give me a chance to change her mind.
I don't think I could have changed her mind. Smoking is an individual choice...or maybe not a choice, I don't really know the name for it. Anyway, she told her kids she enjoyed smoking and didn't want to quit. She told her grandchildren they shouldn't smoke or they would end up looking as old as she did. She told her doctor she wasn't interested in medicines or patches or treatment for her 'addiction'.
About two months before she died, she came to me to discuss something. She was tearful and angry and lost. She said her son told her that he was mad at her because she chose smoking over them. He said that she knew smoking could kill her and she chose to risk death over quitting to be with her family. And rather than deny it or explain it, she looked at me and asked, "Did I do that?"
I could have talked about addiction or dependencies or neurotransmitters or any of the other things that smoking is linked to. It's often my way of staying away from emotion while helping them find their answers. But this was Donna. My dear friend. I pointed out the numerous ways she showed her children she loved them. Because I truly know she did. And then she said something unexpected and stunning. "Sheri, I don't know why you always point out the good in stuff, but just stop. This isn't anything good and you know it."
Smoking killed her. And it killed her even before she took her last breath. Because she lost hope, she had tons of regrets, and she retreated even more into herself....just as she did when she smoked.
She asked me to come her and write a post about her. About her children thinking she chose smoking over them. About her dying. About how her love of smoking finally took everything from her. And so I am writing that post. And I am not being positive, am not pointing out the good stuff, and not trying to teach any lessons here. I am just telling you about what she wanted people to know.
And she wanted people to know that her love of smoking took everything away from her...even her life. She left a hole in the universe that no one can fill. One less light. One less heart. A tremendous amount of grief and suffering for those she left behind.
Every story has an end. She didn't get to chose her ending. And that, I think, is the saddest part of all.