dad and bob
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!