Friday, September 18, 2015

The Item At The Bottom Of The List.

In the weeks leading up to my eighteenth birthday, I can recall my mom making multiple comments to me about buying cigarettes for her when I was out shopping. I'd finally be old enough to purchase them legally, so why not? I'd always respond with a 'no'; I didn't (and still don't) feel comfortable buying them -- they are nasty and disgusting. At the time, I thought she was just joking with me and I brushed the comments off as small talk.

When I turned eighteen finally, I realized my mom wasn't joking.

One evening soon after my birthday, I can remember getting into a big argument with her. I was headed out to buy groceries. She'd written me a shopping list to go by. At the bottom of the list, she'd scribbled in a particular brand of cigarettes. I gave the list back to her, saying that I wasn't going to get the cigarettes. She had the strangest look on her face. I could see the shock of my disobedience quickly turn to anger, though. Her lips drawn tightly to her face, she began to guilt trip me -- I was a bad son whom didn't care about his mom. I finally had to flat-out tell her -- I wasn't going to help her kill herself.

My mom never asked me to buy cigarettes for her again.

Ten years later, mom was dead. A lifetime of smoking had taken her life. I don't feel guilty, though. It was her choice... a choice I never helped her make.

There's no judgment to be passed about the situation. No grand philosophical statement to be made. What's done is done. This is just a memory of mine... one I felt the need to write down.

Mom cutting the cake on her 47th birthday in 2007.

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