To the editor:
The outpouring of sympathy and support in the loss of my mother –in –law, Pat Lichtsinn has been tremendous. However, in her memory, let me digress. I can see Pat rolling her eyes at me now... Pat passed away at the age of 73 due to complications of lung cancer and COPD, both caused by her over 50 years of smoking.
I have never smoked, so I do not know what it is like to be addicted to smoking…However, what I do know is how a family is effected by the early death of a smoker. I know what it’s like to look into your husband’s eyes and see the pain of a boy, who lost his mom years too early. I know what it’s like to explain to grandchildren that grandma is gone and she won’t be coming to school programs, won’t be there eagerly awaiting your phone call to hear about your first day of school or a special event, nor bringing her famous cheeseball to holidays anymore.
I know too well about COPD and lung cancer, lack of oxygen and all the awful things that smoking brings.
I tell you this not too condemn Pat's decisions, she began smoking long before the dangers were known and I know if she knew the final result she would have stopped long ago. Nor do I want to preach what we’ve all heard before, but because I know there are people that will read this that smoke, and most that will continue to do so. But if I can get across to just one person the message to STOP SMOKING.
Do it for yourself, your kids, your grandchildren or the future promise of kids and grandchildren.
I know it’s easy to say as a non-smoker, not knowing the addiction. But there is a hole in our lives amongst Pat’s loving children, grandchildren and friends that should not be there. It’s too early. There is no way to know how many years Pat may have had had she stopped smoking years before. There is no way to know the graduations and weddings she may have attended, the great grandchildren she may have held, the hours of laughter over a cup of coffee or lunch she would have shared with her friends, and other momentous events large and small. I do know, had she realized her physical presence at these events would be eliminated due to her addiction, her choices would have been different.
Pat was blessed to live a life with family and friends that cared a great deal for her. She was able to live 50 plus years with smoking. Everyone’s body is different, while she had 50 plus years, others time may be much different.
I do not know what it is like to be addicted to smoking, I just know what it’s like to be the family member of someone who was. Please read my message – and get the help you need to just STOP.