As an act of faith and friendship, a smoker is inspired to turn her back on tobacco.
Charita Braker and I met at church choir practice 15 years ago. She has brightened my life ever since. She may have even saved it.
It happened one Thanksgiving, a rough time for me because that was when my mom died. Charita invited me to her house. We had a good time cooking together. But my thoughts kept going back to how badly I missed Mom.
Soon I was craving what I reached for when I got emotional—a cigarette. I slipped out the door and lit up. I’d taken a few drags when Charita came outside.
“Would you do something for me?” she asked.
“Of course,” I said. “You name it.”
“Would you stop?” she said, staring at my cigarette.
“Why? What’s the big deal?” I asked.
Charita took my hand. “Because, Miriam, I love you. And I don’t want to lose you. So, will you quit? Please?”
Her words shook me. I knew the heartache of losing a loved one, and I didn’t want to put anyone through that. I stubbed out my cigarette, walked inside and threw out my pack. Then I wrapped my arms around Charita.
That was 11 years ago. I haven’t smoked since. I’ll always miss Mom, but Thanksgiving is no longer a sad time. Now I think of it as a celebration of love and gratitude, particularly for Charita and the new beginning she gave me.
The Great Smokeout is held every year on the third Thursday in November. For some help in quitting, check out our tips on how to stop smoking.
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