The following email was sent to me by a childhood friend. I am not sending this out to pass judgement but as a favor to my friend. If you like it, please feel free to copy and re-blog or to send it out to your email contacts.
What is it worth to you??
This is a letter/message about the recent passing of my father. My father, thru his 76 years of life here on earth, has fought many battles and won. However on Tuesday, November 16th he lost his battle with lung cancer. My father had been a smoker all of his adult life, surviving lung cancer in his 50's with part of a lung removed, only to continue smoking and be diagnosed with advanced stages of lung cancer about 3 weeks ago. It took only 3 weeks for the cancer to spread throughout his body and take him from us. I received the call early Tuesday morning that things were looking really bad and that I need to make the 2 1/2 hour journey from St Louis down to Cape Girardeau where he was in the hospital. During the drive I kept making calls checking on his progress only to learn that the whole family was there saying their goodbyes and that he was holding on to see me but was fading fast. He had made his wishes clear not to be on a respirator but to let him go when his body quit. He was kept on heavy oxygen to keep him alive unitil I could get there. The drive seemed to take several hours but now I can't remember any of it. When we arrived at the hospital I ran the length of the hallway to the end where his room was. I entered the room and ran to his side to hold his hand, the oxygen mask was removed, he took one breath and passed. He was waiting for all his children to be together one last time. What does one breath mean to me? Everything. Everything knowing that he fought to stay alive thru pain and suffering to give me one last breath. When he was admitted 3 weeks ago he was no longer allowed to smoke. I know in my heart that 3 weeks gave him the strenght to give me that one last breath. I am writing this letter not only to inform friends and loved ones of his passing but also as a message from a child of a smoker, a silent sufferer. I love my father dearly but have always wondered why he choose to smoke, after marriage, after his children and even grandchildren were born. You see when a smoker becomes ill, hospitalized, there is always someone there by their side to care for them. A spouse, child, or perhaps a grandchild. Some one to hold their hand, ease the pain and help them on their journey to the other side. That was my mother, who lived at the hospital for the last 3 weeks. We all have addictions of some sort, smoking, drinking, drugs, overeating. But none so greatly and directly affect loved ones as smoking. From the secondhand smoke they breath, the smell in their clothes, hair and furniture to the commitment they must make when that time comes. The time when they must be the handholder, the usher thru the journey to the other side. And not once are the sufferers asked do you mind if your hair smells, if you go to school smelling like smoke, or will you be there,my hand holder. My father was laid to rest in a Veterans Cemetery, given full military honors including an usher by the Patriot Guard, a twelve gun salute and a medal of honor. All of which he deserved and so much more. At the gathering after the services several family members smoked as they stood in mourning. As I watched I wondered what is one breath worth to them? I hope that everyone this letters reaches will read and ponder what is one breath worth. I am asking that you forward this on and that those receivers continue to forward it. Even if just one person who reads this is moved, motivated to quit smoking it will have all been worth it. My father's last breath will continue on.