Once Simon was at school and the girls had left home, I decided it was going to be time for me. I was still doing the course at Kohanga and the attending polytech but I wanted more.
I decided that perhaps I should study again, perhaps do a University degree. I had studied extramurally before, before Marty that is and I had really enjoyed the challenge. Of course money was tight. In those days living on one income was a lot easier. I still had plenty to do, and of course I lost the home help when Suzanne left.
Now I was driving I would go up to Suzanne’s school and be parent help and of course I was parent help at Simon’s school as well. But there would still be time for study so I started to look into it.
Fate had other plans however. Jenni came back. She was unhappy. She really wanted to live at home with her mother but she had other ideas. As soon as she was able she sent Jenni to Solway College in Marsterton. Jenni hated it. After a term break her mother put her on the train. She got off in Hamilton and refused to get back on the train. The police were called and she refused to speak to her mother demanding her father. He got a call at work and he went to Hamilton and picked her up. She moved back in, full of teenage rebellion. It wasn’t pretty.
And then Marty got sick. He was a heavy smoker, had been since he was thirteen. over thirty years of smoking. I smoked too, no where near as much. Thinking about it, I have no idea how we could afford it. But we always managed to throw a carton of cigarettes in when we got the groceries.
One day he lit up a cigarette at work, took a drag and hit the floor. He was sent to hospital. He was told to give up smoking or he wouldn’t see his son reach ten. It was a powerful incentive. Back then no one talked about patches or gum, it was cold turkey. Marty had tried to stop before but just never quite did it. It was just so hard.
But with that incentive he stopped immedicately. I had seen withdrawal from herion on TV. This was so much worse. He would come home from work and curl into a feotal position on the couch. He barely ate or slept. I got so desperate that I rang the doctor who came that evening. As I have said, Dr Morgan was strange. He looked at Marty and said, I can’t do anything for him except pray and he got down on his knees and prayed very loudly.
The withdrawal continued for six weeks at least. I had a cigarette hidden in the hall cupboard and I was so tempted to pull it out and shove it in his mouth. But I didn’t. I knew he could beat this. And I was going to support him every inch of the way.
One day, he came home from work and he looked so much better. The tension had gone from his face. It was my birthday. he looked relaxed and happy.
He smiled at me and said, I did somethiing today. I looked at him and said, yeah your bastard you have had a smoke. Yes he said, I did, i wasn’t going to let it beat me. So I brought a packet and had a smoke. It tasted awful but I made myself smoke it all. I felt dizzy and sick but then my head cleared, I stood up and walked over to one of the guys and gave him the packet.
I will never ever smoke again, he said. I knew he was serious. I knew he had beaten the addiction.. And I knew he would be fine. It was the best birthday present ever.
So for all of you smokers out there, yes it is hard to give up but it can be done. And it is worth it. Do it for your family. Marty did.