Today is a difficult day for my mother. If my father were alive, today would be their 50th anniversary. We probably would have had a big celebration, especially since it fell on a weekend. We had talked about all of us taking a vacation together, or having a BBQ with friends and family. My mother made me swear years ago that we would not have a big formal party. She said it just wasn't "them" and a BBQ with a hay ride would be more their style.
Instead, my mother is spending the day at home, my sister and my aunt are with her. We went in together and got her a gift certificate for a facial at a really upscale place. We weren't sure if she would want to go out and do anything today. My father had said a number of times that he really hoped he would make it to their 50th. I think knowing that he was looking forward to it makes it even harder.
My father died last year of congestive heart failure. He started smoking when he was fourteen. He quit once for two years when I was in junior high, but said he never stopped craving a cigarette and so he finally gave in. He had his first heart attack one fall when I was still living at home. The ambulance took seven minutes to get to our house and it seemed like such a long time we actually called the hospital a second time to find out why they weren't there yet. My mother rode in the ambulance with him, and I drove in my car, breaking all speed limits and screaming at the top of my lungs most of the way.
He wound up having to have 5 bypasses done. Over the years he also had angioplasty, MRI's, a pacemaker implant, and so many other procedures I can't even remember them all now. Every time he went in the hospital, we all took off work, worried for days and weeks, would he live, would he have a stroke, would he suffer. We sat in the waiting rooms of many different hospitals trying to keep each other calm, waiting to hear how he was doing. We took time off work, we traveled long distances to be there, we drove like maniacs while crying and worrying, we paid for hotels and cafeteria food. When people smoke and use the excuse that it is "their" body and they "are only hurting themselves" I want to shake them. You hurt everyone around you when you smoke. Anyone who cares about you is hurt by it. Over and over and over. If only my father had never smoked...........
We could have all been celebrating.