Thanks, Tobacco: You Killed My Mom
This video was created over a one-year period. At first, it was just random use of a video camera, plus a few pictures taken during a visit in September of 2006. Of course, this was before we knew that Mom had a collapsed lung. She went in for tests, and it was discovered that she had Stage IV Lung Cancer. As we learned of the cancer diagnosis in October of 2006, we tried to get Mom down to California (from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada). It was a race against logistics and paperwork (i.e. obtaining documentation in order to cross a border and travel), which we unfortunately lost. Mom suffered a stroke, ironically on the same day as she received her birth certificate, which would have allowed her to travel to Southern California. The stroke left her left side completely paralyzed, and she was stuck in the hospital, no longer the independent woman she once was. We were summoned to fly up immediately, as we were told by her doctors that her death would not be far behind. Mom proved them all wrong, and lived for four more months. Of course, the quality of life was minimal at best. There was no treatment, since the cancer was discovered so late, and due to the stroke. We have since learned that often times, a biopsy can knock loose cancerous material within a tumor, which can cause a stroke. It was extremely difficult to watch her suffering in a hospital bed, and wondering why her last months had to be made that much worse due to the stroke. So, Mom never did get to come see where we live in California. We continued to videotape the entire ordeal, so that family (who couldn't be with us at that time) could see everything. We ended up with approximately 90 minutes of raw footage, which has been edited down to the 10 minutes allowed here. First, we have done this to honor Mom's last wishes: tell people not to smoke. Second, we have completed this very emotional project to honor her memory, and to help us as we continue through the grieving process. Finally, we are aware that much of the anti-smoking media is not so real to life--it doesn't show the suffering, what the families go through, and the pain that cigarettes actually cause. This documentary is "non-Hollywood". We have omitted certain things that one might find offensive, including her IV, vomiting, bodily functions, and her actual death itself, which was obviously painful. Instead, we have brought many different segments together, which still conveys our overall message: DON'T SMOKE!
In a letter dated September 24, 2006, from Mom:
"Try not to worry about my health. I go for a CAT-SCAN on October 4th. I should have the results about a week later. The appointments are taking a long time, so I must not be in such dire shape, or they would rush them. I'm glad you never really had the desire to smoke. What do your lungs look like after all of those years of second-hand smoke? I can't wait to see you and Patti more often. Gotta go for now. Love Forever, Mom"
To conclude, one can compare smoking cigarettes to a slow-motion car accident. At any time, you can get out of the car before it crashes. It is your choice. Furthermore, you may be driving your own car, but please remember that you take passengers along for the ride.
: 2009-08-11 00:53:20