“My mother was dying. She had had several strokes and could no longer speak. My siblings and I had gathered to be with her. Then, she lost consciousness, yet we could sense her agitation at not being able to go out for another smoke–one last cigarette.
“My mother had been a two-plus-pack-a-day smoker all of her adult life. In fact, I think this is why I suffered so many ear, nose and throat infections throughout my childhood. My mother’s habit certainly caused me to choose medicine as a profession.
“Anyway, finally in the hospital as my mother’s agitation grew, it dawned on me that, if we cut a straw down to the size of a cigarette, placing the straw between her index and middle fingers might calm her. And, it did.
“The moment we placed that dummy cigarette between her fingers, something in her spirit relaxed–or her nervous system at least. Isn’t that funny?”
“Our habits certainly wear deep grooves in us,” I affirm quietly.