Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Incentive to Quit Smoking

For those of you that have been following my blog, you know that the main reason that I am quitting smoking is because my wife and I are expecting a baby in September. Since my father is the reason I started smoking in the first place, I did not want to make the same mistake. I do not want my son to know me as a smoker or to pick up this nasty habit from me. I also want to be there for my kids and family for as long as I can. I want to watch my kids grow up, go to college, get married, and start families of their own.

I now have a new incentive to quit smoking. I got a phone call yesterday morning informing me that my father has passed away. It was not an unexpected phone call. In fact, I was quite relieved that he is finally at peace. He had a stroke back in March and his health quickly deteriorated from that point. When they found that he had a stroke, they also found that his kidneys were failing, his liver was failing, and his lungs were not good. I went to the hospital to see him and knew when I left that it would probably be the last time I would see him alive. And it was. He was only 67 years old.

There are a few things that he said when I saw him in the hospital that I will never forget. He told me that he was scared of dying. Even though the stroke caused significant damage to his memory and he was doped up on medication, he knew his days were numbered. I could almost see regret in his face. I think when you are at the point in your life, when you are looking death in the face, it really makes you stop and think about your life. What regrets do you have? Would you change anything? Would you do something different?

Something else that he told me was that I needed to quit smoking. That kind of took me by surprise. He knew that I had been smoking for the past 20 years, and he is just now getting on my case? I believe that he knew that being a heavy smoker and a heavy drinker for a good chunk of his life had finally taken its toll on his body.

After seeing my father laying in the hospital, knowing that he was going to die, I knew that I did not want to end up like that. Yes, it is true that we cannot control everything that happens to our health as we get older. But there are things we can do to attempt to live longer and healthier lives. And not smoking is one of those things.

It seems almost ironic to me. The man who got me smoking in the first place is the same man that will get me to quit smoking. Thanks dad. I love you.

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