A couple of months ago I published a poignant email from June, a 57-year-old mother of two who had devoted many years to bringing up her two children. June has smoked since her teens but now her daughter doesn’t want June's grandchild in a house where someone had been smoking.
I disguised some of the details because June (not her real name) was worried that her knowledge of her email might "rip my family apart". The basic story, however, was unaltered.
June had mixed feelings about Christmas. She was looking forward to having her daughter, her son-in-law and her grandchild to stay (for the first time in years) but the prospect of having to stand outside in the cold every time she wanted a cigarette was less appealing. Eventually it was agreed that June could smoke in an upstairs room, as long as the door was shut.
"I don’t know how I’m going to pull this off, with my sense of outrage running high," wrote June in November, "and still be a welcoming hostess to our guests."
I was curious to know what happened so on Saturday I emailed her and last night she replied as follows:
Christmas didn’t go exactly to schedule, as we received a phone call Christmas morning to say that my daughter, her husband and child couldn’t join us as planned. My grandson was suffering a mild case of flu, and was too poorly.
My daughter, her husband and child joined us on New Year’s Day instead. It was a small party of just five adults. I honoured my agreement.
I cooked a two-course meal, and disappeared upstairs periodically during the visit. Nobody commented on my disappearances. Nobody was inconvenienced by this except me. I have told none of my guests over the Christmas/New Year period of my daughter’s request.
I sent both my children extracts about passive smoking found on your site. My son informed me that he’d never believed everything said about passive smoking anyway. My daughter didn’t reply.
I’d like to thank all those who have left posts as they heartened me. Joyce in particular hit the nail on the head. I will tell my daughter that I will never refrain from smoking downstairs again when he visits. I would be prepared to go into another room, but not to shut myself away again.
Sadly, I fear that this will cause his visits to diminish, perhaps even cease, and I feel a great injustice here – as he had a privileged upbringing. I also feel bereaved in some way – crazy, I know.
Public and repeated debunking of the effects of passive smoking is a priority, I think. But what hope is there for tolerance when even our prime minister and his deputy are ashamed to admit they do or ever did smoke?
You can read the original post HERE.