Monday, March 25, 2013

Counting Moments

A moment from yesterday, you can see the masts of the fishing fleet outlined against the setting sun.

You're catching me as I wax philosophical lately. I've lost friends over the years. Far too many to count now. "Lost" seems that I was careless, somehow. As if I temporarily misplaced them. How come we use that metaphor? "Oh, you lost your dad, I'm so sorry." As if he could be found, you know? Lost to what exactly? Life, the world, his loved ones, the cancer that got him?

All this to say that a friend of mine died 10 years ago. A nasty form of cancer. She smoked. And the cancer ran everywhere in the end. She was a strikingly good-looking woman and dressed to the nines. Hair always perfect. Nails polished, cashmere twin-sets (now there's an old fashioned word but she was built for twin-sets) and pencil thin skirts and expensive tall shoes. A high school principal who had to run outside and up the road and behind a coffee shop to attend to her habit. Out of sight of her students and shedding her dignity in the process.

Her widower visited me out here in Newfoundland about 5 years ago. He was still in deep grief over her loss. We talked into the long nights about his beloved. She meant everything to him. He smoked. Four years ago he lost a leg, two years ago, the other one. Send them to the tobacco companies, he said at the time. Now he has receded into dementia.

Their younger daughter died last week, leaving three children. Smoking. Cancer. And when family pressure forced her to medical attention it was far too advanced. She suffered greatly in the last 6 months of her life. She was so like her mother in every way it would break your heart.

I look at her pictures today on Facebook, her last Christmas with her family, her chemo-head covered in a santa hat and her dad in the wheelchair beside her and her kids, the youngest only 12 and sadness overwhelms me. For all of us. For this precious, fragile world we inhabit so carelessly. Afraid to breathe the clean air and eat the good food, inhaling, ingesting, imbibing all the poison and toxins that will surely kill us in the end and far too soon.

And I'm glad her mother didn't live to bear this. And they have yet to tell her father.

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Anonymous Grannymar said...

Wonderful sunset capture.

Emphysema, cancer and dementia are all vile cruel life sentences and some families get way more then their share. There is so much to be said for a heart attack.

Mon Mar 25, 03:08:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Most of my family smokers.
Not me and so pleased my children
and grandchildren say it is "gross"
Hope no dementia sets in - that does not run in family either.
So thankful..

Mon Mar 25, 05:01:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Irene said...

That is why I am so happy that when I had the X-rays taken of my lungs that nothing showed up, because secretly you are afraid that something will. To what extend are we the masters of our own fate? We are all slaves to our habits and none of us are perfect. See me struggle with my stomach issues now, when every kind of food seems to be a problem.

Mon Mar 25, 06:39:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Secret Agent Woman said...

Both my grandfathers died from smoking - one from emphysema and the other from lung cancer. That was enough to convince me not smoke. It's such a dreadful way to die.

Mon Mar 25, 06:40:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Yes a sudden ending without suffering is much to be desired indeed. I have seen so many deaths from smoking.


Mon Mar 25, 06:53:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Yes me too, I am so very grateful I could give up so many of my addictions. With a lot of help from those who had walked before me.


Mon Mar 25, 06:54:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


It is in breaking the chains of slavery that we can become more authentic, IMHO.

I am so sorry you are struggling.


Mon Mar 25, 07:41:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Like I said to GM, I've seen such incredible suffering from smoking that it scared me off them in 1988And I had one heavy habit. :(

I was so pleased when 10 years after quitting my doctor said to me my lungs were as if I'd never smoked.

That is so sad about your grandfathers.


Mon Mar 25, 07:43:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Molly said...

My mother (R.I.P.) died of lung cancer. Got the habit as a nurse on night duty, back when all the sophisticated, Marlena Dietrich types smoked! Seeing her smoke all my growing up years took away any allure it might have had for me. It's a horrible way to go.....So sorry about your friend and her daughter and husband. How much those children must hate smoking---one hopes.

Mon Mar 25, 10:24:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Friko said...

I’ve come to catch up again.
Every post speaks to me, directly, to a place within me which means that I am alive.

to the ex-friend with the memory blockage: say nothing or say why you won’t be in touch. In a detached but decisive manner. No recriminations, mind.

Waxing philosophical is what you do so well. I could listen to you any time. Is your voice still Irish? I’d love to hear you tell stories.

There is a saying in German: "there is no greater pain than the pain we cause ourselves”

Says it all I think.

Tue Mar 26, 09:59:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Interesting this, but her eldest daughter smokes along with drinking excessively.

Very few of us learn from the addictive patterns of our parents I truly believe.

So sad about your mum. I think Marlene did a lot of harm with her example but my gawd, wasn't she wonderful??


Tue Mar 26, 02:08:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Yes, Friko I still sound Irish, so they tell me!

I realized on FB that there is a note when a message is read by the intended party, so she knows I've read both her messages and chose not to respond.

Thanks for your kind words.


Tue Mar 26, 02:10:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Anonymous Jocelyn said...

Oh, oh, oh. You write so beautifully about EVERYTHING, but I find that your kind of good writing makes a sad story--of lives lost unnecessarily--almost achingly poignant.


Tue Mar 26, 02:31:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Hattie said...

I am pleased to report that I saw very little smoking in Peru and now seeing little of it in Mexico. Alas, our friend who we are visiting here smokes, a habit she took up in nursing school. How she has made it into her 70s I'll never know.

Tue Mar 26, 11:14:00 PM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

Thank you Jocelyn, your words go to my head!


Wed Mar 27, 11:26:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...

How sad that you had to stay with someone who smokes, the smell goes everywhere, I hope you didn't have to suffer second hand smoke with your heart condition, Hattie.

Good news on people quitting in Peru and Mexico!


Wed Mar 27, 11:27:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Stan said...

As a euphemism for died, I think lost is popular partly because it's so close to loss. It evokes the great and painful gap left in the world by someone's passing.

Thu Mar 28, 06:38:00 AM GMT-2:30  
Blogger Wisewebwoman said...


Of course. Thanks for the elucidation!


Thu Mar 28, 11:47:00 AM GMT-2:30  

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