Question/Comment for Bernie:
I met you at Quinnipiac College when you spoke at an OT conference years ago, and asked you about my niece, who has since died from an unusual form of a cancer (she died in 1995 at just 18). Then, I saw you again at your son’s store in Simsbury. I was so looking forward to meeting you and listening, but it was a ‘group’ sharing many intimate details of their cancers, their families’ cancers, and other illnesses.
I was in awe of your kind responses to people until you asked others to share. I then expressed my heartfelt sympathy and empathy for a woman who shared that she had lost someone to lung cancer, and she could not understand why it happened since the person had never smoked. I then took my turn, very aware of what she was going through and feeling. I shared my sorrow for her, and then shared a part of myself.
Without recalling the exact words, I said something to the effect, “I am so sorry for your pain and loss. I had a niece, who was like my own child, die from cancer. I have had friends who have died from lung cancer and never smoked. I smoke. I feel guilty sometimes that I’m still here and those other souls are not.” You interrupted me to ask me why I hate myself. I told you I did not hate myself. You wouldn’t listen and insisted that you were right and I was wrong.
Guess what, Bernie—you are still wrong. I am still here and who knows why I haven’t succumbed yet. Only God or the Goddess or the Great Spirit in the sky knows (or whatever you may call the creator). And so far, I’m doing just fine. I will grant you that when I began to smoke as a teenager, I must have had lots of self-loathing—who is really self-aware as a teenager? But that was learned behavior, and the addiction is real. I have tried everything humanly available and nothing has worked to date.
And I broke the cycle—-my biggest accomplishment is that I have two incredible grown kids that hate tobacco and will never become addicted. I don’t hate myself any longer and neither do many others who have not succeeded in quitting. I actually have been very blessed in more ways than you will ever understand. Just thought you should know. Best wishes to you and your family.
Thank you for bringing me up-to-date. I doubt I used the word hate, but you heard it that way.
Why don’t you love yourself as you do your kids? How your parents treated you is the issue.
The opposite of love is indifference, rejection, and abuse. Love yourself and your life and smoking ceases.
“Doug and I now smoke in the yard. We’re not killing our cats anymore.
We hope you are not killing yours.”
So it’s okay to kill yourself, but not the cats you love.
May peace, love, and healing be with you.
Comment on Bernie’s Answer from Message Above:
Bernie, I will never forget it…you said it and it was one of those lifetime moments that stay with one forever. I’m sure it was not intentional—you wanted to make a point maybe? I left that evening shaken, and never went back to your son’s store. Although I had previously been a frequent customer, I was afraid to return. I have many of those “moments” in my life—some nice, some not so.
Yes, I was abused by more than one person when I was a little girl, not just a parent. Yes I got therapy, many kinds throughout the years. I am learning to love myself again…lost the ability for a while for a variety of reasons and my own personal history.
I love my children, husband, and close family and friends with all my heart. I am just now trying to find the way to give my heart back to myself first and foremost. I had it when I was young, innocent…just lost it along the way.
I may eventually be successful at quitting the poison (tried literally everything out there)…now KNOW it really must come from me. It has been a life long struggle. I wish it is easier—so far, I have been fortunate. Thanks for your response and bless you.
Find pictures of yourself as a child and put them up where you live and work. And love that kid every time you see her face. Meditate and let God and love in.
What I ask people is “Why don’t you love yourself?” What they hear is related to what is within them. You are here for a limited time, so enjoy your time. Create your graduation commencement—no excuses.