So it’s April 17 here in
Korea. That means it’s been five years since my mom
died. For the past few April 17s I’d
post something on facebook like, “fuck cancer.” I’d get a lot of people liking
that post. Some would be friends and
family that knew the reason I was posting such a comment on April 17, others
maybe lost someone to cancer and I’m sure others think cancer is a shitty thing
that ought to be “fucked.”
Well, this year I feel different. I am engaged, and will be starting a family soon. And, well, it’s pretty painful to know that my mom will never know my future wife nor will she know any children we might have. When she was sick I’d never cry, at least in front of anyone. But rest assured on the ride home I’d cry my eyes out. The main thing that hurt was this fact: she’d never know my family. Sure that was a bit selfish, but everyone dies including our parents and us. To me, so much of who we are, if not all of who we are, is made up by our interactions with others. Furthermore, knowing the people who were close to your loved ones help you to learn more about said loved one.
Fast forward to now. My fiancée will never know my mom. Sure, she’ll learn about her from stories, but it’s not the same. She won’t know what it’s like when mom watches
Funniest Home Videos. She also won’t
have to go through all the bullshit my mom put my brother’s wives through
during the beginning of their marriages. But, good and bad, it’s all a part of it. And
now, five years later who am I to blame?
Hint- it’s not cancer.
If you are reading this now, and you smoke- stop. I told my mom to stop smoking for at least 23 years. She didn’t. After we had a meeting with the doctors and they told her that only chance to live was if she stopped smoking, she didn’t. (Sure, in hindsight it wouldn’t have mattered, but we didn’t know that at the time.) Now I know that quitting isn’t easy. I watched my mom try, on and off, basically all of my life. I think if you keep trying to quit you might be able to.
If you don’t quit, you might die from something else before you get cancer. Sure, YOLO and all that. But remember, my mom was never going to die from smoking. She was sure of that. That is something that happens to other people, not us. Of course when the cancer spread to her brain she could hardly function, when she was just using her “reptilian” brain…can you guess what she was doing? She kept moving her hand to her mouth as if she was smoking. After she could no longer function, that impulse to smoke was still there. And if you are smoking, don’t worry that will never happen to you. Just like it would never happen to mom.