Dear Tobacco,

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dear Tobacco,

As I lie awake here on this Sunday morning it occurs to me that Eric's death is nearing it's one year anniversary.

I've not yet gone to visit his grave, but I might.

You know those scenes in movies where someone has drank themselves to death, so an embittered love one pours a bottle of some booze over their grave? Part of me wonders if the family of someone killed largely by you would ever be angry enough at their dead family member, and you, to leave a stomped pack of tobacco sticks at their grave. Not that Eric's family would ever do that, since I know they were at peace with him regarding you when he died.

I doubt they'd ever be at peace with you.

The funny thing about that 'tradition' is that in order to carry that kind of act out one would have to purchase a bottle of the booze or a pack of tobacco to purposefully waste in the act of angrily remembering someones life and death in the context of their poison. Maybe there's a more appropriate offering when someone is that bitter?

Perhaps it's the cigarette butts that line the sidewalks; the ones leeching their poison into our groundwater. Perhaps it's the remains of a nasty full ash tray from the blue-aired bar. Perhaps it's the wedding dress, or suit, permanently entrenched with stench from all the years of smoking in the home. Perhaps it's the blood from the final coughs of the deceased wiped off with a cotton handkerchief.

Thankfully I believe that Eric's family has forgiven him, so should they decide that kind of hommage is worthy it would more likely that they send those things to your makers and supporters as a reminder that the ashes of their loved one are mixed with your poisons.

I miss Eric. He was this huge looming man, but always seemed somehow soft under his leathery skin that was deep set with the wrinkles of a life of farming Alberta fields. I miss the fact that he was the one person who could get away with shortening my three letter name to a simple "R" and still make it sound like an endearment. I miss him more than any other person I've known that has died.

Here I sit with my husband asleep beside me, listening to him breathe. You probably remember him? He's the grandson of the man you took right as I met my husband. It was the final months of some seventy years, most spent with you in his blood. My husband's grandfather, who was as close to a father as he had until his 7th year, smoked in the home they shared. His
addiction to you contributed to my husband's near-fatal asthma, a condition he finally has under control with the use of new medicines. Even his lungs bare your signature.


I get so frustrated when writing to you. I could say so much. I am so mad, still. Every aspect of our society compensates or accounts for you in some fashion. Every day I see a non-smoking sign, a cigarette butt, a pack of smokes in someones purse, a person huddling next to a building puffing against the elements.

I wish the world could be free of you.

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  • Maybe tobacco itself as an herb isn't bad, but the processed, chemically treated, nicotine and tar ridden tobacco that we have is as bad as any drug on the street, in part because it is not illegal.

    I had a cousin who lost one parent to an accidental suicide because of an overdose, and then the other because of smoking. He died really slowly, not being able to breathe very well because he'd smoke so damn much. It cause a lot of pain for my two cousins. Both of their parents were dead. It left them orphans, though they ended up living with my grandma. Still, they did not have anyone to help them, anyone to turn to in the end. My cousins are good people. I see the people who died not with grief, but with joy, because they have become free of this terrible life, and I will still always feel them in my heart. But I will never come to terms with cigarettes and other forms of non-pure tobacco. That I wish would be wiped from the world forever, but the corruption of human life has gone beyond things that we would initally be able to see. It is far deeper than anything we could imagine. But someday, things will be different. I know it. Someday.

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