Recently while searching for a pressed powder compact in my car, I opened a compartment in the dashboard and was startled to find a pack of cigarettes.
Almost a full pack of Marlboro Lights – only two of them were missing.
Stephen smoked Marlboro Lights.
I realized that I had not opened that compartment for almost three years.
As I held the cigarette pack in my hand, I recalled events from three years ago that I’ll never forget.
Although Stephen had cancer, his doctor did not discourage Stephen from smoking as the stress of pain and treatment were more than Stephen could handle without the added stress of giving up cigarettes.
When we arrived at the cancer center for his daily hydration treatments, Stephen would hide his cigarettes in the dashboard compartment just before we handed the keys to the valet to park our car in the garage. Hiding his cigarettes ensured that he would have cigarettes when he finished his daily treatment. I can only assume that the pack I found was placed there on the day Stephen was admitted to the hospital during one of his infusion treatments. He was never discharged from the hospital and died eight weeks later.
After I thought again about the final weeks of Stephen’s life, I placed the pack of cigarettes back in its hiding place and closed the compartment door. And wondered how many years would pass before I again opened the compartment to find the cigarettes.