Every now and again, I think about my mother. And I wonder.
Did she kill herself on purpose?
Like today’s political conservatives who disbelieve and reject what the CDC says about covid-19, she and her cohort disregarded what a government agency said about tobacco smoking. Stupidity, ignorance, cant…whatever you want to call it…the effect was the same. Science meant nothing to her. Facts meant nothing to her. The obvious meant nothing to her. She would do as she pleased and would hear not a word to the contrary from Big Brother.
My father, who went to sea until a few years before she developed the cancer that would kill her, apparently wasn’t paying attention. Evidently it never registered: the only conscious moments she spent without a cigarette in her hand were when she was in the shower and when she was stuffing food into her face.
Otherwise…first thing in the morning she lit up a cigarette, before she lifted her head from the pillow, and the last thing she did before she turned off the nightstand light was to smash out the cigarette she was smoking to see off the day. She puffed away until food was on the table, and the instant she put her fork down after a meal, she lit up another cigarette. Once she was at my house for 40 minutes…by the time she left, the seven-inch-wide ashtray on the coffee table was full to overflowing with butts smoked all the way down to the filter.
Even though he smoked, too, how could he not have noticed how extreme her habit was?
But he didn’t. Oddly enough.
You only just now noticed? How could you have missed it? Did you, seriously, never pay any attention to her? Maybe that’s why she spent most of her adult life committing slow-motion suicide?