The Time Had Come

It was 11:56 a.m. on October 26th, 1996 that I stubbed out a stinking cigarette and told myself once again how much I hated this abominable habit. I walked out to the deck to get a breath of fresh air before making lunch.

The stairs collapsed and took me with them.  My cries for help brought my neighbor, Sheila, running to my rescue. After one look at my ashen face and peculiarly angled left arm and leg, she called an ambulance.

The heel bone was broken away from the Achilles tendon in my left foot and my left wrist was fractured.

“Nasty break,” said the orthopedic surgeon. “It will be a long time before you’ll walk again.”  “We’ll have you in surgery as soon as possible.”

“Can I have a cigarette?” I asked longingly.

“NO!” he yelled at me, glaring over his shoulder as he left the room.

“No smoking!”

Surgery left me bed-ridden, fitted with casts and slings in a non-smoking hospital for five days.

“Mom, you look so miserable,” said my son, Kelly, on one of his frequent visits.

“I need a smoke,” I moaned.

“I’ll take you outside for a puff”.

He had always detested my smoking.

“Do I look like I can walk outside?” I grumped.

“Mom, I’ll get a wheel chair.” He was so patient.

“I don’t have any cigarettes,” I whined.

“I’ll go across to the store and get you some.”

I stared at this handsome young man who had pleaded with me to quit smoking for at least 22 of his 29 years, always gently reminding me, “Mom, it’s not good for you.”

And here he was offering to buy me cigarettes, take me out in a wheelchair to smoke them and stand by in the cold night air watching me indulge my wretched habit.

As I looked at the love and empathy on his face I felt deep down in my soul that now was my time to quit.

I often wonder how many angels it took to knock those stairs out from under me when God took me up on my prayer to suffer anything to quit smoking. The time had come.

(This is an excerpt from my book My Precious Life; it seemed a perfect fit for day fourteen of the #everydayinspiration assignment on WordPress, to write about an hour or day event in my life.)

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