posted on Oct, 17 2005 @ 08:56 PM
I’ve been thinking a lot about the effects of smoking and specifically lung cancer caused by smoking. I want to share a story.. This is the first
time I’ve been able to do this so I may be a bit emotional... anyway, you don’t have to read it.
Without telling my Father’s life story, I am going to go over what took this wonderful man from me, my family.. And this world!
Donald Robert Davis (That’s right I am a Junior) I share his name and I am proud of it.
My father left us at the young age of 65, I say young because he was a hard working and seemingly healthy man for most of his adult life.. He was a
heavy smoker.. Was since his teens. He tried to quit several times and all ended in failure. About 7 years ago during a check up it was found that my
father had emphysema, and was warned to quit smoking.. He was successful for a brief time but eventually started again, and no one could stop him..
Not even himself. My father was in the Military for most of my childhood, from what I can remember he was always a heavy smoker, My father and a team
of technicians working in Germany built the Sargent missile guidance system in 1966. (I spent my first five years of life in Germany) Shortly after
returning to the USA my father left the Military and worked in consumer electronics for most of the rest of his life. He was paid very well. We always
has a good life and as a child I can never remember wanting anything, except to spend more time with my father on hunting trips and camping. I was
very spoiled, along with my sisters. My father and mother split and divorced in the late 70's, he moved to his home town in Arkansas, and I decided
to live with my father while my sisters stayed in Utah with my mother.
My father was always there for me when I needed anything, advice, financial help, or just to talk about the news and weather. Through the years we
grew apart, my father re-married and I fell in love and married as well, I fathered four children, all of them were favorites of my father (grandpa)
We never seemed to find the time to get together, even on Christmas, we exchanged cards and pictures through the mail.. Even though we were only 46
As the months turned into years we seemed to hardly ever contact one another.
Then about three and a half years ago, a call I will never forget “Hi son, I can’t ever get ahold of you on this phone so I am leaving you a
message. I just found out I have cancer, the doctors say I need to go in for more tests and maybe surgery. Call me”
Without going on and on.. I will sum it up... My father then went through surgery, had a major portion of his left lung removed and several months of
chemotherapy which left him with a body weight of about 120 pounds (he was ‘6 3" tall) and no hair.
He recovered and we had the best family reunion ever.. I still remember the good times had by all at that reunion and how thankful we all were to have
him there and recovering.
My father promised the whole family then that he would never smoke again. And we all believed in him... He failed again a few months later. He just
could not break his addiction.
Some weeks after the reunion my father called me with great news. His latest tests showed that he was CANCER FREE!!! ... I was stunned and thanking
God in every way I could think of, along with everyone in the family. He said he’d be tested again in 6 weeks and he was hoping there would still be
Once again weeks turned into months, we stayed in touch more than in the past when we had grown apart.. Though with each passing day we were in
My father returned to his job even though he had no reason to... he was retired.. He had planted a garden, done all the home improvement work he
could, yard work.. Hell he even planted trees, bushes and flowers at He and my step-mother’s new home in Mississippi.. He couldn’t stand being
around the house with little or nothing to do... Well I now know that he started back smoking at the time he went back to work.. But Here is the
confusing part.. It wasn’t really smoking that directly killed my father...
His immune system was broken down by the chemotherapy, and he had caught a cold..
Excuse me, this part really hurts.. It’s hard to write this.
I come home from work one day, at the time I was going through my own illness issues.. I didn’t want to burden my father with it.. So I hid it from
him, by avoiding contact with him or anyone in my family. The phone was ringing when I came in the door.. I answered and it was my step mother.
She was frantic, I could hardly understand what she was saying.. I heard her say the name of a hospital, your Dad, and come NOW!
When I arrived I was confronted by many of my Father’s family members, all in tears and no one would tell me anything.. I had to ask a nurse.. And
she gave me directions.
I made it to the CCU and was taken to a small room with a glass wall and door.. And I seen this man in the bed.. I quickly realized it was my father..
They had him hooked up to everything and he was on a respirator.
“What the hell happened” .. I said to my stepmother.. She said “I woke up this morning and your father was at the kitchen table and was holding
his chest, and was barely able to tell me he couldn’t breathe” Then she began to cry... “he fell in the floor and I called 911"
“By the time we got here he was blue and they were trying to help him breathe” They had to put a tube in his throat” .. Then she grabbed me and
I held her as she cried uncontrollably..
Later I was able to talk with his doctor and found out that my father’s lungs had filled with fluid, and he was full of infection.. He assured me
that this had nothing to do with the cancer.. It was his weakened immune system.. Which was caused by the chemotherapy used to get rid of the cancer.
Ironic.. The very thing that saved him.. Was about to claim him.
For a while I was alone with my father, I held his hand, and talked to him.. All he could do was nod his head, and look at me.. I asked if he was in
pain.. And he nodded yes.. I called a nurse and asked if they could give him something more for the pain... They did.
We could only spend a few minutes at a time with him.. Then they would make us leave.
My heart was breaking.. I didn’t know what to say to anyone or what to do.. The next morning I met with the Doctor along with my step mother.. The
doctor told us that the antibiotics were not helping and there were no other options.. They were having a hard time keeping his blood pressure up..
And the fluid was filling his lungs almost faster than they could pump it out. He then informed us that my father was suffering and there was little
they could do now but keep him drugged and alive by breathing for him.. He then told us that we’d have to make a decision very soon. And asked how
long we wanted him to suffer like this.
My step mother left the room and collapsed in the hall.. I followed and picked her up.. And she said “I can’t, you have to do it” ... It was the
worst moment of my life.
Later I went into my father’s room in CCU, along with a doctor and nurse. I held my father’s now lifeless hand.. As the tube was removed, and the
doctor opened up the morphine drip all they way.
Everything but the IV was removed.. I expected my father to pass quickly.. However he held on for over 3 hours.. Almost as if he was waiting.. My
stepmother sent a message to me through my uncle that she can’t be in there.. She can’t take it anymore... Then to my surprise she came in..
Wheeled in a wheelchair by a nurse.. I took her around to the side of my father’s bed and she took his hand.. When she did his eyes opened for a
brief moment.. She said and I will forever remember “It’s ok Don, I’m here, we’re all here with you, you can let go” .. Then with a final
gasp my father was gone.
After a long session of grieving with my family at the Hospital.. I went home.. I hadn’t checked on my kids.. I looked at my cell phone.. And I had
several messages which I had ignored for quite a while even before my father fell ill.. I listened to them.. The first was from my ex wife.. The next
from my Daughter, and the next ... was from my father.. Two days before he fell ill he tried to call me.. The message said “Hi son, I just wanted to
let you know I am feeling really good now, I am back at work, and I was, well Linda and I would love it if you and the kids would come over Saturday,
we’ll cook out, we really miss you, anyway call me when you can love you bye”
I saved that message.. I still have it.. The reason it is so special to me is more than what is obvious... It was the first time in my life I can
remember ever hearing my father tell me he loved me.
Two weeks after we buried my father I spent an evening with my step mother looking through photo albums and sharing wonderful memories.. Then she said
I want you to see something..
My father on the day before he fell ill and so quickly died from it.. He had been on the computer.. Searching for a song! .. The song he wanted to
give to my stepmother .. He found it and downloaded and saved it under the file name “for Linda” .. The song was by George Jones Title: I’ll be
over you when the grass grows over me.
Now you know how smoking took my father from me.
And why I must say to any of you who smoke.. QUIT NOW!
Please, think of your family as well.
God bless you all.