Today is the one-year mark since my Grandma Barbara passed away. There have been a lot of thoughts in my head since then: thoughts about heaven and thoughts about my relatives' sanity, thoughts about picking up the phone to call on my way home from work and then remembering that I can't. Thoughts about how death and money are all kinds of ugly and disgusting and thoughts about how she would (or wouldn't) have wanted her family to act without her. Thoughts about the best way to clean my floor and Fig Newtons and gold glitzy things and really good makeup.
But sometimes, quite frankly, I have to think about the shitty way she died. About the extra ten or fifteen years she could have had. And forgive the harsh language, but there is no other adequate way to describe that kind of death.
Most everyone in my extended family smoked all of their lives. It killed my Grandpa Bill, and it killed my Grandma Barbara. It is disgusting. Repulsive. Fatal.
I know. This isn't news to any of you. But in this day and age, with the information we have about tobacco, there is no excuse for picking up something like that in the first place. And I get that it's an addiction, but to be frank, there's no excuse for continuing it even if you've already started.
My in-laws both used to smoke, and they quit. My Grandpa Mal used to smoke, and he quit. My great grandmother used to smoke, and she quit. And every one of those people would tell you that it's really, really hard. Many years later, it's still hard. And they're only one cigarette away from starting it up again.
But you know what? They don't. That's the difference between quitting and not.
Choosing to meet your grandkids and great grandkids and watch them grow. Choosing to grow old with the person you love rather than making them learn how to live without you. Choosing to die with dignity rather than shutting down your own organs one by one.
You can make excuses for it if you'd like, but it really comes down to the fact that you're responsible for the choices you make. Life or death. It's as simple as that.
What will you choose?