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Smoking To Remember Mom

Question:

I just lost my mom to cancer, two weeks ago today. She not only was my mom, she was my best friend too. Even though the last few years were a bit of a “rocky” relationship. I know now that that was because both of us were hurt by self doubt about whether the other cared. I think the both of us realized near the end of her life, that we both cared a lot for each other. When she was in the hospital after breaking her hip(she smoked for 65 years)I would take her down to the smoking room. After about a week of fidgeting, I realized that when I sat at the table and had a coffee with her, I was use to having a cigarette. At the time I hadn’t had one for sixteen years at least. So I asked her for a cigarette. She passed me her cigarettes and I had one. She put a great big smile on her face and we had the first “fun” gab we had had in a long time. I realized later that she likely missed having someone to have a cigarette with, since all the family had quit smoking. So from then on I bought my own and smoked when I was around her. I also found out at the same time that it was easier to strike up a conversation with co-workers at work if I plunked my butt, lit up a cigarette and started to gab. When my mom was in the last stages before she died, I smoked like a chimney with or without anyone. During the funeral I smoked like a chimney and right up to a few days ago. I stopped smoking for four days, partly because I was afraid I was becoming addicted. I had no problems with not smoking. I went out this morning and bought another pack. I find it strangely comforting. Why? Do you have any advice?

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Answer:

Smoking was a way that you were able to bond with your mom. You’ve associated your smoking with her feeling good about you. Now that she is gone, smoking is a way that you can hold on to her memory. In a way this is sweet, but in another way it is harmful. The problem with your ‘smoking to remember mom’ is that smoking is not a safe thing to do. Smoking will kill you. You say that your mother died of cancer. Was that cancer related to her smoking? It very well may have been the case. My advice to you is to stop smoking. You can find better ways of honoring your mother’s memory and the bond you shared than following her to the grave on account of her bad habits. Don’t buy another pack. Instead, use the money that you’d spend on cigarettes each month to buy flowers for her grave.

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