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Killing Me Softly

I had an Aunt Lavonna. She died recently from lung cancer. Lung cancer that she got from smoking.

Growing up I remember hearing my uncle Calvin speak for the first time through a hole in his throat after his voicebox was removed. He held a vibrating prosthesis thing to the hole in his throat; it made him sound like a Speak-n-Spell.

Why was his voicebox removed? Because of throat cancer. Did he quite smoking? No. He smoked and he smoked and he smoked and when he died his face was eaten up with cancer. His lips were so swollen that they folded up and exposed his yellow teeth and cancer-ravaged gums.

My Aunt Lavonna was married to my uncle Calvin. She smoked right next to him and watched him die – but she never quit smoking.

Why is it that something can have such a firm hold on us? Why is it that so often we cannot say no? Why do we continue to do something knowing that it is killing us?

I am constantly suprised by my own detrimental actions that I visit upon myself daily, or even hourly. Be they physical or mental, I cannot seem to stop. Every day I have to get up and start over. I have to try again to be better than the day before.

I get tired of failing.

But I know I can’t stop.

To stop would be to give in to the clawing demons, the ruthless undertow, the siren’s song that keeps killing me softly, caressing me with words, willing me… to just let go.

We all have our own worries, our own fears… but we cannot let them cripple us, we cannot let them win.

Everyday is a battle and it seems that most days I lose, but there is always tomorrow.

By Evan Stark

Eddie Renz is an avid fan of Egyptology, Wilbur Smith and bacon. Not a fan of humility but often finds himself humbled when he is around people who understand numbers like the Fibonacci sequence and Pi.

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