Geoffrey Turner of Latham, New York, passed away on February 13 at 66-years-old. His death was caused by lung cancer, brought about from years of excessive cigarette smoking. Prior to his death, he wrote his own emotional obituary, an open letter to the public urging others to stop smoking, according to Today.
The habit started when he was very young and got a hold of one of his mother’s cigarettes. By the time he was 4-years-old, he was already smoking on a habitual basis. Although he was able to give up the habit when he got married, he quickly picked it up again later in life as a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of daily life. His smoking caused tension between him and those close to him, many of whom begged him to give it up. Turner instructed his own children to never follow his lead and pick up a cigarette, but he wasn’t ever able to take his own advice.
While he knew the damage smoking was doing to his body and the division it was causing to his family, he just couldn’t shake it. Like many of those with addictions, he did not know life without the crutch of cigarettes.
Smartest Thing I Ever Did (17+ years ago) Was Quit (That, and Move To Florida): New York man who died of lung cancer urges others to quit smoking…in his obituary (In lieu of flowers, you can make a donation to the American Cancer Society…) https://t.co/NLKiBLuRT9
— Richard Patterson Jr (@rpattersonlaw) February 24, 2019
“I was an idiot who made the same stupid decision, day-after-day, multiple times per day. I was a smoker and even though I knew it may eventually kill me, I chose to deny the truth to myself. The pain and suffering I caused my family was not worth the perceived ‘satisfaction’ that really did nothing more than waste money, separate me from my family, and eventually destroyed my body.”
Turner knew he had a good life. He made a decent living and had a vast support system from his loving friends and family. However, he could have likely enjoyed many more years with them had he taken better care of himself. He hopes that the words he wrote on his deathbed will inspire others to learn from his example. Shaking an addiction like this is no easy task, however, it could determine the difference between life and death and allow for many more memories to be made with loved ones.
“If you’re a smoker — quit — now — your life depends on it and those that you love depend upon your life,” was his final statement.
Turner’s daughter, Sarah Huiest, says she is encouraged by how many times her father’s message has been shared. Although nothing can bring back her dad, she hopes other lives will be saved because of his poignant words.