It was eighteen years ago today. March 1, 2003. I was in San Diego visiting my mother. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer a few months earlier. While it wasn’t quite time to say goodbye, that time was near.
March 1 was my mother’s birthday. A lot of my family was also in San Diego that day. We all knew it was going to be my mother’s final birthday.
She celebrated number seventy-four like she did her other birthdays….with birthday cake and cigarettes.
A few days later, I took her to see an oncologist in Santa Monica. He was a world renowned expert in his field. Supposedly he would be able to answer whatever questions we had. My mother had only one question…”Can I still smoke?”
I don’t remember a time when cigarettes were not a part of my mother’s life. Even when I was a young child, she would send me to the local drug store with a dollar to get two packs of Kents. The trip usually came with a reminder to bring back the change.
Those two packs were only half of my mom’s daily consumption. Four packs a day. FOUR! When you smoke that much, the comment shouldn’t be she died so young, but you should be surprised that she made it age seventy-four
There was so much more to my mother than her nicotine habit. Most important was the love she had for her family and how supportive she waas of all of us. But the reason I focused on the cigarettes today is because they took her away from us far too soon. She missed out on so many great and so did the newer members of our family. I’m picturing her today with all the newer members of our family, especially her great-grandchildren. It saddens me that they never had a chance to know each other, much less for a relationship.
Damn cigarettes! Damn cancer!
So happy birthday, Mom. Hope you’re having a great day up there. Say hello to dad. Maybe have him go get you a pack or two of Kents. Don’t forget to tell him to bring you back the change.
Related Post: Happy Birthday, Mom
Filed under: Birthdays