written before i actually quit and originally posted on november 14, 2001; this talks about my fear that - like my father - i'd never be able to successfully quit smoking, and how i overcame that fear by adopting a new role model.

dad and bob

2008 December 27

several of the back doors mentioned in the last part of module 1 (of the american lung association's "freedom from smoking" program) apply to me, but i think the biggest is fear of failure, and this morning i had an insight as to why that might be:

i guess the fear of failure is really the fear that i'm no stronger than my father was.

a couple of weeks before thanksgiving of '89, i got a call from my mother - she said that dad had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and would have to have half of his right lung removed. i flew home for thanksgiving to see my parents - dad had just gotten back from the hospital a day or two before.

that saturday, i "caught" dad sneaking a cigarette in the back yard (he didn't see me, and i didn't say anything to him about it). when i was getting ready to leave on sunday, mom pulled me aside and told me she knew dad was smoking again; she could smell it on his clothes. i said i knew, and i couldn't believe it; my father was one of the strongest men i ever knew, and yet, here he was, apparently not strong enough to quit smoking, even after having had half of a lung removed!

dad continued to smoke, and a year and half later (a couple of weeks before his 64th birthday), he was diagnosed with stomach cancer - he never got back out of the hospital that time; he died a day or two after finding out that he had cancer again.

so i guess the fear of failure is really the fear that i'm no stronger than my father was.

how i plan to deal with this is by remembering my brother, and trying to be more like him:

bob was only 43 when he died 4 years ago of colon cancer; he had had a long struggle with crone's disease, and, rather than allowing his doctors to do a colostomy when the disease progressed to the point where it couldn't be controlled, he elected to try a form of chemotherapy that involved the use of some heavy-duty steroids. the steroids gave him the colon cancer that eventually killed him.

i was at his bedside almost every day of the last six months of his life; it still breaks my heart to remember how he wasted away. but all through this ordeal, bob showed the most incredible strength of character; the day he died, there wasn't a dry eye in the place, including the hospital staff - anyone that had anything to do with caring for him said what an inspiration he was, facing death the way he did.

looking back, his strength should have come as no surprise; bob was an alcoholic who chose not to drink, one day at a time, for the last 10 years of his life (in fact, besides my mother and me, the most frequent visitors he had in his last six months were his friends from aa; i don't think a day went by that a couple of them didn't stop in to see him). he was also able to quit smoking a couple of years after he stopped drinking and remained smoke-free the last 8 years of his life.

bob and i were always fiercely competitive as kids (we were only two years apart), and if he ever did anything, i wanted to do it, too (hopefully better than him...) - i remember many times thinking, "if he can do it, so can i" - and many times it turned out to be true. so that's what i'm going to think about as i go through this quit: if bob could do it, so can i!

15 responses leave one →
  1. 2003 September 26
    Brenda permalink

    A very beautiful way to remember your brother.

  2. 2004 April 10
    Leona permalink

    I to remember the struggles my grandfather had with emphasyma and so I know that you are remembering you brother and father with love and sadness too. God speed and keep you.

  3. 2004 April 12
    Fightn4life permalink

    My heart goes out to you. I lost both my grand fathers to lung cancer while I was still young.

    My grand father on Dads side prayed he would live long enough to see his first grand child. (My daughter) She was born the day he died. Three hours later. Neither grandfather was alive to welcome any of thier grandchildren to this world.

    My mother has battled with breast cancer and at this time she is cacer free.

    The things that haunt me is my three brothers and sister all still smoke...my dad as well. This adddiction is so powerful it blinds us to the reality of what we are doing to ourselves with every puff.

    I can only pray maybe by my quitting my competative brothers and sister will some day say...if sis can do it, so can we.


  4. 2004 July 1
    mary anne permalink

    Thanks so very much for sharing. These stories are wonderful - - so thought provoking. It's great having these sites where we can share our experience, strength and hope with one another.

  5. 2004 August 1
    Deince permalink

    Thank you for sharing your heart break. The power of nicotine addiction is amazing. I watched as my brother in law had his throat cut from ear to ear to try and remove the cancer. They didn't get it all and he died a slow death. He believed.....right up til the last few days of his life that he was gonna beat it. Funny thing is that he continued to smoke even though he knew the cigarettes are what caused his cancer. That is what scares me. That little voice in my head that draws me back every time I try to quit.If I can stop that voice...or at least reason with it I know I will stay quit for good.

  6. 2004 August 18
    GARY N. permalink

    I also watched my father die of conjestive heart failure he was a very active man and in the end he couldn't walk 10 feet and thats my fear although he was 87 he could still be alive today if it wern't for joe cammelmy fear and yet my motavation congradulations and keep up the good fight.

  7. 2005 August 26
    Lorraine permalink

    Was touched by the Page, and especially by Bob. I watched my best friend die of lung cancer three weeks ago, and it was horrible. I am completing my first smoke free day, and my daughter just celebrated three months of no smoking. Kevin, I too said "if she can do it, I can too .... she loved her smokes". Stay strong.

  8. 2005 September 4
    Denise permalink

    Thanks for sharing this my dad died 5 years ago of emphasemia(sp) I had not smoked for about 4 months prior to his last hospitlization but towards the end I started again i told myself to deal with the stress. Bless his heart some of his last words were he was sorry he smoked around me and my siblings and was sorry he sent us to school smellig like smoke everyday. He had not smoked in about 10 years but had already been diagnosed. I know if i don't quit i will have to put my son throught the same agony so I need to quit and I know by having this site and the others out there I can do this.

  9. 2005 November 19
    Barbara K. permalink


    It is really scary what smoking does to people. I needed to go back over this tale to strenghten my quit this Holiday season. My thoughts will be with you this season for all of your lossed loved ones.

  10. 2006 March 19
    Sandra permalink

    My hearth and prayers are with you.

    I too lost my dad and my stepdad. My dad died in 1969 from congestive heart failure while driving. I was 9. For the last 5 yrs of my life I have watched my pop slowly and painfully died from lung cancer. Yrs before he was diagnosed with colon cancer and emphasyma. He had 1/3 of his colon take out. They thought they got it all, but 5 yrs before his death he was again diagnosed with colon cancer and lung cancer. He has been in my life since 1970. Pop was a great man, he took in a ready made family. There were 5 of us kids. All were teens at the time except for me. My 3 brothers hated him till the day he died. They treated him like dirt all their lives. But pop would never complain till the last few weeks of his life. My huband and 2 kids moved to SC so I could care for my parents. We could have moved to TX and gotten the home my husband grown up in, but we didn't, so his parents sold the home.

    My mom has alzheimers and 2 weeks before pop passed on we had to put her in a home as she is in advance stages and needs 24/7 care which we couldn't give her.

    Pop had his left lung removed. He could only use 1/4 of his right lung. He too kept on smoking. He used to say, "I am dying anyway so let me enjoy my smokes." We didn't stop him. As we knew he would anyway.

    The doctors told us that he would not live to see Christmas of 2000. He held on till Oct 4, 2005. He held on because of my mom, he always said he didn't want her to have to bury another husband. So he fought and fought for yrs till one day after I went to visit my mom and she no longer knew who I was or who Jack was (pop). I came home and went to check on pop (we live a spit away, next door) and told him, "Pop, mom didn't know who we were when we went to see her. She didn't even know who you were, so its time. Its time for you to rest, to let go and go Home. To go into the warm, loving and caring arms of Our Father. Go home pop, go in peace. Be free of this pain that you have had to endor these last few yrs."

    2 weeks later my soon to be 20 yr old daughter at that time, (oct 17 is her birthday) went over to check on him, make his eggs, clean out his pottychair, clean his bed (he slept on a pull out couch as he couldn't lay flat in the bed) and open the curtains before heading out to her collage. She came screaming home, she couldn't even talk. I knew when I heard her screaming outside what had happen and hated myself for letting her go over there that morning. I still do. That is not what a young women should see. But its life I guess.

    Pop had died in his sleep. He looked so peaceful, so relaxed. I fell to the floor next to him and cryed happy and sad tears. Happy that he was at rest and in Gods hands now, no more pain. Sad because I miss him so much, I miss our chats late at night/morning when neither one of us could sleep we would call and hope that the other one was awake. But it didn't matter if we were sleeping. Pop and I became so close the last 10 yrs of his life. He was my mentor, my best friend, my Pop! I wish my brothers could have known the man like I do. Maybe they would have felt different.

    It is not only for me to stop smoking, but also for Pop. In memory of him. I even set my quit date on his birthday April 3. I too like Bob have gone to AA. I first went 21 yrs ago when I found out I was finally pregnant after trying for so long. I even stopped smoking while I pregnant and 3 months after she was born. But started back up again. Started drinking again too, But stopped again on my birthday July 7, 1995 since I haven't had a drink.

  11. 2006 April 12
    sandy permalink

    I am at the point watching my mother die from lung cancer. She quit smoking about 10 years ago after smoking for 36 years but was too late. I quit smoking 6 mos. ago after I had my second mini stroke with hopes I have no more. When my mom found out it was too late for chemo too help. I really hate watching all this happening. I also have a 45 year old brother dying of conjestive heart failure. He has never smoked but he has been around it all his life, because he has always lived with my mom. Life really does not seem fair at all.

  12. 2007 March 6
    Sami permalink

    Wow - your story about your father not being able to quit hits on the bulls eye with me. My father had his first heart attack at 50....he proceeded to have several more, and when he turned 60, he had to have triple bypass surgery (couldn't have more than triple cuz the other arteries were completely damaged from his previous heart attacks)...anyhow, I saw my father cry for the first time when he was being wheeled into surgery and he swore off his 2 pack a day habit...BUT, he returned to smoking shortly after he recovered. He passed away 3 1/2 years ago at 66...of course from a heart attack - I still have the pack of cigarettes that he had in his lunch bag that morning....AND, that was my fear also - failure. IF my strong and powerful father couldn't do it - then how can I??? Well - I'm on day 23 - thanks to FFS and quitnet (just joined that today)...and thanks to you for your story - it truly helps.

  13. 2008 March 21
    Deb permalink

    Your story gives me strength! My Dad was totally opposite, an acholic from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. M-F. He would say he was quitting drinking or cigarettes pretty regularly and did for a period of time...30 days or more, when the day arrived when his spoken word of how long was over...he went right back to smoking or drinking or both, whatever he said. He did this pretty much of my life. Then he told me in 1984 that it was all enough...."I'm sick of cigarettes and booze", today I'm quitting for good! HE DID!

    I always felt it was a way for him to keep control over them....since they had control over him. My Dad was always a man of his word, so if he said it, you and everyone else believed it...always! He will be 79 in April, still working in his a/c business and has never gone back to cigarettes. He had a heart attack back in 2003, but it was from clogged arteries.

    I need to think about my Dad and know if he can do it, so can I.

    I'm new to the site and my quit date is April 4, 2008....for those of you who pray...I'd really appreciate it!

    Thanks for sharing,


  14. 2008 December 27

    note: the comments above were left on the original tale on the dates indicated.

  15. 2011 May 30
    delilah permalink

    thank you for sharing)

leave a reply

Note: you can use basic xhtml in your comments. your email address will never be published.

subscribe to this comment feed via rss