Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Public Service Accouncement

Or 'How cigarettes are destroying my family'.

In a previous post I wrote about my mom's diagnosis with small cell lung cancer. In this post I'm going to share the less than pleasant experience I had as a result of a photo I posted on Facebook.

If you've followed my blog for any period of time then you'll know that while my heart is a big as Texas I am very outspoken and stand up for what I believe in and advocate for things I feel strongly about.

And I know that some of you will probably take offense or feel attacked, but know that is not my intent. Everything I am going to say comes from a place of deep love and compassion - for myself, my family and each and every person effected by this particular topic. I was going to say negatively effected - but there truly is NO positive effect from this particular thing.

I am talking about smoking.

I DETEST cigarettes.

Aside from the given - they stink up your house, clothes, car, air around you, stain your fingers, teeth and are a danger to the smoker themselves and EVERY person around them. Oh yea and they kill.

Aside from those things they stole the life of my grandmother - someone I loved and adored - and are stealing the life of my mother as I type.

Now for the post....

My grandmother died from emphysema caused by smoking in 1994.
My mother will soon follow her.

*Smoking is the leading cause of emphysema.
*Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.
*Smoking is the leading cause of children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins & friends having to watch their loved ones die slowly and painfully.
If you don't care about yourself enough to quit - care about everyone who will suffer when smoking kills you.

I debated telling my intent behind the picture before posting it, but decided to let you see it first and have your own initial reaction.

Now that you have I'll tell you what I see - and what most everyone but my family saw as well.

A strong, healthy, beautiful woman.... followed by what a careless, selfish addiction has done to her.

Now for some of the responses -
I deleted many of them because they were so cruel and hateful I could not see any benefit to anyone by leaving them - but I'll share bits and pieces in a moment. As you can see - for the most part a very positive response was received.

Staci Moss Schneider: My mother lives with me and my husband. She has COPD, Congestive, and Diabetes. She smoked all throughout my childhood. She finally decided to quit about 10 Years ago but the damage was already there. She is oxygen dependant and can't ...walk more than about 30 feet without getting out of breath. A little over a year ago she had a Bi-Ventricular Pace Maker and Defibrillator placed in her. I absolutely despise cigarettes. I know people who have watched a loved one struggle for their last breath and yet they won't put their own cigarettes down, I just don't understand.

Kevin Yekaitis: A very sad and powerful message. I pray God will give you both peace.

Aryn Polk Knight: Very powerful! I am so sorry, Mollie!

Melodye Smith: Mollie, I will be praying for you and your mother. Our God is a healing God

Joseph Abshire: Mollie, truth or not, this is not very sensitive. Don't do things like that. You have one thing right, smoking will impact your health negative.

Theresa Langston: Thank you so much Grandpa!

Jerri Withers Stidham: Ok now it is time for my opinion. Thank you Mollie for posting that! My Mom has COPD and emphysema. She just got out of the hospital from having pneumonia for the second time in 3 months. She was still a heavy smoker at that time. The doctors told her the next time she is in the hospital she WILL leave with an oxygen tank. I took her last week for her follow up appointment with her primary care physician. I told him what the doctor told us he said “IF” she gets to leave next time. He said the harsh reality is that she could not make it next time. He also ordered an MRI of her head because she still was incoherent. The MRI results showed a stroke (which is caused by heavy smoking) and a meningioma. She has an appointment with a top neurologist on February 8th. Smoking KILLS! It also kills ALL dreams and hopes of the people they leave behind. It is time to GET REAL! This is HER mother also. Mollie is suffering like the rest of her family. Please let her deal with this as best as she can. Thank you Mollie for being a fighter and advocate!! On a positive note my Mom hasn’t smoked since January 12th!! She said she is DONE. The damage is done but she may have saved herself from much worse down the road.

Kaffa Warren: Mollie, I know I don't know you well....but it would appear to me that you would have more inspiring and courageous things to say about your mama, especially at this time. She is my cousin and although the miles have separated us, I love very much for who she is. Yes, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I pray the regrets and guilt you will feel in the future (because you will feel them) will diminish more easily than the hurt your post has caused. We are none perfect, but we are as God says to love each other. This post definitely does not show the smallest ounce of love. You can delete my post, it matters not. But I for one think your mama is one of the most courageous and strongest women I know. It is not our place to judge. When you start pointing fingers, remember 4 are coming right back atcha.

Deana James Eaton: Mollie- I truly respect that you are showing what really happens when people smoke. I am so sorry about your mom. Reading your post has reminded me that I HAVE TO QUIT. Thank you for your honesty and sharing the truth about the harmful effects of smoking. I am also sorry that ANYONE would say you posted that for "attention". I can't imagine anyone who knows you saying that. Again THANK YOU Much love and prayers- Deana

My sister responded that she has never been so embarrassed by any one's actions in her entire life - then proceeded to tell me in text that except by blood I was not her sister and she had no desire for her or my nieces to have a relationship with me any longer.

My brother responded in many posts that were deleted because I could not even believe the hatred and cruelty of his words, but here is one that I kept, hoping if he read what he was actually saying he'd see how his words described in himself everything he was putting off on me.
'Anthony Abshire: Mollie if you were not so selfish then you would see the no one but people who do not know mom on a personal basis are agreein and if it was there mother no one would be mollie wake up. You are so selfish you do not have the capability of understanding that it is not all about you for once this is a grab at attention. It has upset a number of people not jus SMOKERS...It is true family that loves our mother. You will probably burn in helll anyways but you should be crucified for this one mollie...You will never be part of my family again and you would be lucky if anyone accepts you. This is over a line. A line that people dont have to talk about. Its understood by everybody but you and whoever the hell these other people are...Let our family mourn and do it in private this is not putting just you and a dying woman in the spot light it is putting your whole family out there and seperating us whenever we need to be the closest but no its always all about mollie. cant be about everyone our mother cant even die in peace because of you only you and i hope you never live this one down. It would be best if you and your little husband moved somewheres far far away

What my brother and other family failed to realize is that those other people, the ones who understood and appreciated my post didn't have to personally know our mother. They knew the people they had lost and were losing from smoking related illnesses. They had a personal connection to this message the same way I do.. and they understood where I was coming from.

One of my brother's friends posted this..
Bradley Scott: .... but as Anthony said, you didn't have to put your mother's pictures on display. I'm sure there are more comparative pictures on google or somewhere.

And I'm sure there are... but those pictures aren't personal to me, my life, my experience with smoking. There are dozens of pictures of my mom on Facebook in the hospital looking sick, out of it, but because they are taken with someone healthy and smiling next to her they are OK to post?

The only difference in the picture I posted is the healthy smiling person next to my mom... is her.

All of those commercials you see on TV about starving children, or people killed by drugs or drunk drivers...those commercials touch your heart but then you turn the channel and forget about them don't you?

How easily would you forget about it if it were a picture of your family? Or of someone you knew?

As a kid I remember wishing I could participate in certain events, or go out with friends but we never had the money. As a kid I also remember wondering.... if we don't have the money for me to go to the movies with my friends... how do we have the money for mom to buy cartons of cigarettes every week? Or for dad to buy packs of Skoal?

By their choices my parents were telling me - this addiction we have - this thing that we do that we KNOW is killing us - it's more important than you.

A few years ago I brought my mom to New Orleans with me for a company Christmas party. We spent the day walking down Bourbon street and most of the walk was spent with my mom walking behind me.... so the cigarette smoke didn't blow in my face. She thought she was being considerate.

But she had no idea how much I'd have rather had her JUST NOT SMOKE and walk beside me.

This picture is my plea to every person out there who for whatever reason cannot see the damage they are doing by smoking.
"I'm not hurting anyone but myself"
"It's too hard, you just don't understand"
"I'll get fat if I quit"
"It helps me with stress"
"I've tried everything but I just can't quit"

Those are some of the most common excuses I've heard from not just my mom but my entire family.

I've watched my niece want to sit on her mother's lap and be told 'Not now Marley - mommy is smoking and you know it's yucky'

What kind of message is that sending?

Now think of your children.. your grandchildren, your spouse...your brothers, sisters, parents... and think of this.

Every time you put a cigarette in your mouth and light it you are, by your actions, telling them.

I love this thing more than I love having a long healthy life with YOU.

This is my family

This is my family on cancer

Don't let your last family portrait be like mine.

Please quit. If not for yourself... do it for your family.
The Internet's leading cold turkey Quit Smoking resource
Free Government Resources to Help YOU Quit

2 People who coughed on a furball:

Heather Wigen said...

I personally see nothing wrong w/ your post. We have family who has died from lung cancer and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with COPD a few years ago. She finally quit smoking almost 2 years ago.

In your post you said your sister doesn't was you to have a relationship w/ her or your nieces any more. This breaks my heart for you. I know how much they mean to you. You can tell from your wedding pictures. Your sister reacted so strongly because she feels guilty. Later in your post you stated that she has told her daughter she can't sit in her lap because she's smoking. Your sister is not learning from your mother's experience.

Family is supposed to be there to support each other through everything. Your brother's comments were not brotherly at all.

Support your mom and be there for her. Do what you need to that helps you cope with what is going on in your life. Know that you have a loving husband that will support you and build you up.

Anonymous said...


I think your family is cruel for their treatment of you over this post. I see it as a way for you to express your grief over your mother's disease. Everyone expresses grief in their own way. I also appreciate the fact that you are so passionate about your beliefs that you are willing to show others your pain in the hopes that maybe they can avoid the same. Stay strong, keep believing the way you do, there are many of us that truly know your pain and hope that our loved ones will get the message. My former mother-in-law died from emphyzema, my ex-husband is diagnosed with it and my boyfriend of 10 years continually ignores the pleas of his children and family to please stop smoking. I wish I had the ability to put my heart out there for all to see the way you have.