Monday, September 28, 2009

My pain is infinitesimal

I have nothing wise to say today about hitting Day #28 smoke-free. The cravings are less frequent, but their intensity has not diminished. This past weekend I was at a workshop and instead of being in the company of friends who'd successfully quit, I was with those who enjoyed their cigarettes. I could have had a puff. I could have stood outside the doors with them instead of being stuck at a table with ladies I didn't know.

I want to join my buddies for just one cigarette. No one would find out. The woman across from me asks what I do for a living. I begin telling her about my website, my blog, and my dream of becoming a published novelist. She tells me about a poem her young niece wrote as a tribute to our soldiers in Afghanistan. An announcement that the next sessions start in 3 minutes cuts short a very interesting conversation.

I'm caught up in the presentation on covert surveillance techniques and don't entertain a single thought about smoking until the next break. I longingly watch my buddies slip outside. I follow them, watch them through the glass doors, turn away and finger a red MADD ribbon on a display table. A framed photo of a smiling toddler catches my eye. The baby looks so much like my grandson.

"My daughter's boy," the woman behind the table says. "He was killed by a drunk driver." My heart leaps, my eyes moisten.

"I've been volunteering for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for the last 11 years--since it happened. I talk at schools. I talk to prisoners."

I stare at her, wondering from where she gets her courage.

"He lived with my daughter in our basement. I remember him calling up the stairs in the morning, 'Grandma, are you awake, yet?'"

A nicotine fix is the farthest thing from my mind.

"I remember tiptoeing in to see him as he slept. I remember thinking, 'I love you so much, I don't know what I'd do if something happened to you.'"

The workshop ends and I pull up to our cabin. My grandson greets me with a gurgle and a 5-toothed smile. I think of the stories that I would not have heard had I been on the other side of those glass doors.

I have nothing wise to say about being smoke-free. There's nothing I want to complain about. On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain is infinitesimal.

Eileen Schuh,
Canadian writer


Renita said...

What you are doing is not only honouring your own life, but also your grandson's life. I am sure the lady would agree your battle is an important one to continue with.

Liz Brady said...

Eileen, thanks for your strong writing about your quest to quit. Having "quit" twice, I feel your pain -- which, as you point out in your latest blog -- perhaps is relative.I wish you success.

Eileen Schuh: said...

Sometimes I need encouragement, sometimes understanding. Renita & Liz--you've given me both. Thanks.

Twenty-nine smoke-free days & counting.

Unknown said...

Keep going, Eileen. The cravings will get less intense, I promise. You must just keep going. We have arrived back from Fairmont and had a great week. Huge, well equipped condo with a pool table, good weather, and the company of good friends- Ray and Brenda. Both are reformed smokers. I told them of your effort and they both say - keep on going. They both smoked for many years, and have been non smokers for many years now. Both are very greatful that they are now non smokers, but recall the pain they went through. Both had setbacks, but persisted and now are soo glad they did. Keep up the good work. Love Rits

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thank you to everyone for supporting me. A team effort is one of the best quitting strategies.