About Tillietoiler

Member since: 7/9/1999
real name: Mary Merrey
quit date: April 23 2001
age: 68
gender: Female
e-mail address: mmerrey@frontiernet.net

More About Me

Why do I want to go through the agony of stopping smoking?
Well, about 28 years ago, I watched my beloved father die because of Emphysema; watched him cough until I thought he would burst a blood vessel in his head; watched his struggle for air as he tried to walk just a few feet from his recliner to the dining table; watched him suffer heart attacks until a stroke finally killed him! Was that enough to make me stop smoking? Of course not!

Then, in January, 1999, my sister Louise had surgery - for lung cancer. Between then and her death in July, 2000, she went through two sessions of radiation and one chemotherapy treatment. Why one? Because she reacted to it and almost died. Because she only agreed to it in the first place because she wanted to live to see her 50-yr-old daughter graduate from college in the spring of 2001. In December, 1999, we buried her youngest son (age 39) (yes, he too was a smoker) who had died of cancer! Early July, 2000, she told me she was only trying to hold up thru the wedding of a granddaughter on July 15. She died on July 30th!! She was my best friend and close companion. Did I stop smoking? Well, of course not! I had stopped for 75 days early in 2000 and for 73-74 days in mid 2000. Blew it both times!

My addicted mind told me I couldn`t go through the agony of her death and the resulting grief without "my friend," the cigarette, even tho my mind also knew that it is no friend! Several times since then, I have attempted to stop - without success. I have been living with a daughter and her family (husband & 4 wild kids) for a year now; daughter and hubby both smoke (she is a chain-smoker). It has been impossible for me to stop under those circumstances BUT next week, I will be moving into an apartment and living ALONE again!!! I can hardly wait. Watch out, Nicodemon. You`re going to be history!!!

So, Newbie, if you are reading this, STOP SMOKING if you haven`t yet or KEEP THAT QUIT if you have stopped. You see, it is really too late for me to stop smoking and save any amount of life. I already have had surgery for Squamous Cell Carcinoma (lung cancer) May 11, 2000; I have severe Emphysema; I have heart trouble. I am on continuous oxygen, take 11 medications each and every day, and use a nebulizer for breathing treatments every four hours that I`m awake. So, stopping smoking will not prolong my life; however, it will make the end a little more comfortable by reducing my cough.

Please, please don`t let my struggle be in vain. If this message helps even one person successfully stop smoking, whatever I go through will have been worth it! Projected new quit date is Monday, April 16th. See you then!

Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Trying to pack my belongings in preparation for the move on this coming Saturday. What a laugh! Can`t breathe well enough to be able to do much at a time. Work 3 minutes and rest for 5, trying to get my breathe back! AND I probably won`t quit before April 23, 2001. Won`t have the money for some necessaries until the 20th and I hate to try to quit midweek (why, I don`t know). Just know, Newbies who might read this, that this move would be a WHOLE LOT EASIER if I could breathe and my breathing will be MUCH easier once I have been quit for a few days.

Oh, almost forgot! I wanted to tell anyone who might look here to see where I am - my computer will be disconnected on Friday, April 13th. My new ISP won`t be effective until 2-3 weeks AFTER I move! So I will be out of commission for a while. But I`LL BE BACK!

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MONDAY, APRIL 23, 2001 @ 5:50 a.m.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I am awake now on the first day of my quit. I`ve been having pain in my back which may be caused by that right lung. Oh, well, as I`ve said before, stopping smoking at this stage will NOT prolong my life but will make it easier on the folks around me. I`ve got all of the ashtrays soaking so I can clean them later and put them away. There are NO cigarettes in the house and I don`t feel like going to get any.

Sunday, April 29, 2001
Today is my seventh day; the last day of Hell Week and I`ve not had even one puff since I began this quit. Oh, it hasn`t been a piece of cake but, with God`s help, we are doing it! I have found that one of my best weapons is DELAY. When I think I want a cig, I tell myself to wait; I don`t want to go get any right now. Maybe later. But, so far, "later" hasn`t arrived.

Saturday, May 19, 2001
This next Wednesday will be my one-month anniversary. It is really hard to believe it has been that long. The urges have been minimal and I can`t really say that I have had any cravings. This has amazed me but, when I stop to really think about it, it is perfectly explainable. My younger brother has been telling me that Jesus would take away those cravings if I would but ask. At bedtime on April 22, the night before I quit, I prayed for God`s help with this quit and told Him that I was laying it all at His feet. Then, I dedicated my quit to Him. So I KNOW it is God working in my life and for that, I praise Him. Without Him and the people here, I couldn`t begin to do this. Furthermore, my youngest daughter, Debbie, has quit this morning. She is really determined to make it stick and, for some reason, I believe she will this time.

In the 28 days since I started this quit, I am breathing a whole lot better and the doctor told me to stop using the oxygen unless I was doing something energetic and get really short of breath! It is a wonderful feeling to be free of that tubing and free of nicotine. The day may come when I will have to return to it (oxygen, that is) but it won`t be because of nicotine!! Don`t know what will happen when that day comes because I am allergic to plastic! It didn`t bother me TOO much for almost a year because, when I smoked, I took off the oxygen. When I quit smoking, I just left the tubing on, almost 24/7. That was when the toxins built up in my body to the place that my head was so full, I could hardly stand it. Feeling pretty good now.

May 23, 2001
It is hard to realize it was a full month ago that God took away my desire for nicotine. My brother told me He would so I asked Him to and dedicated this Quit to Him. It worked so....

Yesterday, I spent the money saved by not smoking this past month (and many more to come). I ordered a new computer, one with more of everything as well as a wireless keyboard and mouse and my first scanner. It should be here by this time next week and I`m just like a kid (at 67? Yeah, right) anticipating Christmas.

Have I had any cravings or urges? I can truthfully say I`ve had no cravings and very few "urges." So it can be done. This is not my first quit but it will be the LAST! I do want to make one thing clear, though. Don`t get the wrong idea. Without the Q, I am doubtful that I would have made it and I will continue to need the support, love, and encouragement that is so freely given here. Many thanks to my wonderful friends in the Qmmunity.

Saturday, June 23, 2001
Gosh, it has been a month since I`ve been in here. Today, I have been smoke-free for two months. My health continues to deteriorate but.... The pain in my back I previously referred to is from a compression fracture; yes, I have Osteoporosis and am taking a drug called Fosamax. It should rebuild my bones within the next year and a half. In the meantime, I must be very careful because a broken hip would be fatal for me. But, again, I have put this in the hands of my Lord and Savior to do as He pleases.

Today is Day 70 for me and this seems to be a crucial time. Never have figured out why but last year, I blew two great quits after reaching day 70 (75 one time and about 72 the second). Tonight is about the worst night I have had in a long, long time. It is 1:50 a.m. and I CAN NOT SLEEP! I have a cough that threatens to strangle me (I believe it is caused by my allergies because I was at Deb`s today and she had aromatic candles in the living room). So everytime I go to bed, the cough starts up. Now the nerves in my left leg are jumping (like frog legs in a hot skillet) and I had to get out of bed again! I don`t care! I will NOT smoke!!! I know the cough will decrease in a couple of days if I continue to take my decongestants and, if I don`t get any sleep tonight, I`ll just sleep tomorrow. I`m retired and can do that if I want to. So I`ll just go with the flow.

Sunday, July 8, 2001
I`ve looked forward to this day for quite some time. THIS IS MY LONGEST QUIT EVER!!! Early last year, I blew a quit at 75 days. Today is Day 76 on this quit. I`m being very cautious because I don`t want to become over-confident. However, I AM confident that I will not smoke again, EVER!

Tuesday, July 24, 2001
Yesterday I reached the three month milestone!! I just wish I could have celebrateed like I wanted to. For some odd reason, all I could do yesterday was sleep!! I am conferencing with my cardiologist by email about another surgery he feels I should have. UGH! Don`t know if yesterday was a result of the problem or not. I have a closed artery in my left shoulder and the cardiologist says it is "stealing blood from my brain." So I`ll probably have the surgery; just don`t know when. I`m due for a follow-up CT Scan because of the lung cancer and I won`t have this surgery until that has been done. I mean, after all, why have surgery if the C is back. No, I don`t feel that it is but....

Friday, August 24, 2001
That last sentence wasn`t completely true. For several days prior to the CT Scan on 8/22, I had the most dreadful feeling that the news wouldn`t be good. I guess my body recognized what my mind didn`t want to accept. I told my daughters that, if I didn`t get a call from my doctor by late the next afternoon, I would be hopefully optimistic about the results. Well, no phone call came so I almost relaxed. On Thursday morning of this week, I called my doctor`s office to get a copy of the results to take with me to the cardiologist and was told my doctor wanted to see me. You know? It was almost a relief to be told the cancer is back; it is always the not knowing and the waiting that is the worst and I knew that, for a woman with Squamous Cell Carcinoma, a year is the long term prognosis. I`ve had 15 months so far. I will be consulting with an Oncologist on Monday and will learn more then. I do know that the mass is high up in the right lung and that radiation will not cure but only slow things. But I don`t think I will have the radiation because of the damage it will do to my espophagus and possibly heart. I am more interested in the quality of life than the quantity. I just hope that anyone reading this will realize that it CAN happen to them and that this will help them to quit or to maintain their quit before it is too late.

Friday, September 7, 2001
On Monday, August 27, I consulted with the oncologist who gave me all the facts and figures; what radiation would and would not do for me and to me. I asked how long I could live if I had the radiation and he told me that 15% of the patients who have radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks may live up to 2 years. The test results had stated that there was either swelling of the esophagus wall or Lymphadenopathy so I asked him what he thought. He said he would bet on the Lymphadenopathy and that it is causing pressure against the esophagus which was causing minor difficulty in swallowing. Then I asked how long I would have to live if I did not have radiation. He said "6 months or less." Knowing what radiation can do to a person [I saw my sister go through it] and knowing that it would further damage the esophagus and probably the right side of my heart which is already damaged, I said NO RADIATION!

So I am now in the care of Hospice and have made preliminary arrangements with the funeral director. My daughters are having a rough time with this but they said it was my decision and they agreed with me. I just can`t see prolonging the agony for them or for me. My Lord and Savior will see me thru this and I will again see my beloved sister.

Please don`t feel sorry for me. I refused to stop smoking many years ago when I was told I had Emphysema. I just want my story to help other people quit or to maintain their quit. We all tend to think "Oh, it won`t happen to me" but it CAN and very well MAY! So, please, if you have quit, stay quit. If you are only thinking of quitting, do it now; not tomorrow! You don`t know if the next sick stick you light will be the ONE!

Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001
Five months ago today, I stopped smoking, never dreaming then that the big C was coming back. Oh, how quickly things can fall apart! Not complaining, mind you; just thinking about how fast life can change. As for my condition, people find it hard to believe that I`m having no pain; at least, not yet. I am gradually getting weaker and find it difficult to walk any great distance. I am also becoming more short of breath and am again on oxygen 24/7. A party of us are planning a trip to St. Louis on October 5th and I`m going to need to figure how much oxygen it will take because it will be a long day! We`re going to see John Edward in case any of you have seen his TV show, Crossing Over, or may have heard of him. Should be interesting. Withoutmerit and jkay had a snailmail campaign for me recently and the number of cards I`ve received has been great! I so much appreciate each and every one of them!! I`ve tried to qmail each person who has sent a card to thank them but, if I have overlooked anyone, I apologize. These cards and the thoughts expressed are very heartwarming to me. Each and every card is displayed in my living room for all to see but most importantly for me to see and remember that the Qmmunity is made up of very warm and caring people.

Thursday, October 11, 2001
In the aftermath of the attacks on America which occurred one month ago today, I haven`t been in here to update about my trip to St. Louis. Boy, what a fiasco!! He (John Edward) is just another fraud!!!

I am beginning to have days when I can`t seem to do anything but sleep. Yesterday was one of those; the Hospice nurse says it is part of my illness and I got the impression that these kind of days will gradually increase. Think I`ll just "sleep my life away?" I really doubt it but, if that is what my Lord has planned for me, that`s ok, too. I am still pain-free and find that hard to believe but am told that some people with lung cancer don`t have any pain.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001
Well, today the Hospice Nurse told me that, in her considered opinion, I will probably require 24-hour a day supervision within the next month to month and a half. Since I only have two daughters and they both have families and jobs, that means the nursing home. Que sera, sera! Whatever will be, will be, The future`s not ours to see, Que sera, sera! What will be, will be!

I`m just gradually weakening and getting shorter of breath but as long as I can pretty well take care of myself, I will remain at home! After all, I can`t lose touch with my Qmmunity until I absolutely have to. I love the people here so much and they are so good to me. Maybe I can get Jane, my daughter who does not smoke, to come in here periodically and let someone know how I`m doing. I`ll have to talk with her about it when the time is nearer. Right now, she has enough on her plate.

Friday, Nov. 2, 2001
Boy, am I confused or what? First, Hospice says they will be coming to see me 3 times a week and that I`ll probably be in the nursing home within a month/month and a half. They wanted the CNA to come in 5 days a week and, taking me off Wellbutrin, started me on Celexa! Today, all of that changed!!! Now they are putting me back on twice a week with the RN and the usual 3 days a week with the CNA. When I took the one and only Celexa at noon yesterday (as instructed), it really did a number on me. So I told them today, I will not take it and will go back to the Wellbutrin. They agreed. Sometimes I wonder if the right hand just doesn`t know what the left hand is doing?

Anyway, I feel really good today and am looking forward to the weekend with my kids and grandkids. As for the nursing home, I really don`t think I am that close to needing one. But I just take one day at a time and try to do God`s will. Whatever He wants for me!

Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2001
Well, last Friday, I was started on Morphine - no, not for pain! I have none! They started me on the very lowest dosage possible because it will assist me in breathing. I was really having a lot of trouble trying to breathe. But to make a long story short, we have the dosage adjusted now to where I believe it will work; at least for now. I take 30 mg every 8 hours and my breathing is pretty good (plus I`m not wanting to sleep all the time). Jane is in and out constantly and is beginning to take care of my meals for me. The lymphadenopathy is putting a little more pressure on the esophagus now and is causing a little more difficulty in swallowing; especially meat. Oh, boy, now I can have all the "junk food" I want; ice cream, milk shakes, puddings, etc. PAY ATTENTION, NEWBIES!! This might very well be your fate so STOP SMOKING - NOW!!

Friday, Nov. 16, 2001
Guess I spoke too soon about the morphine dosage. We have had to increase the bedtime dosage and I am sleeping more and more. Sometimes it is all I can do to just sit here long enough to start the bonfire. But as long as I can do that, I WILL! I refuse to give up yet!

Thursday, December 13, 2001
My name is Jane. I`m Tillie`s oldest daughter. I`ve cared for Mom pretty much for the last 3+ months since her terminal diagnosis. Today had to be the hardest day yet. I went to her apartment early because my sister had to stay with Mom last night. Mom was too weak to even put herself to bed. When I got there, the first thing that was said was "It`s time to go to the nursing home". It was really hard to think, much less try to put everything together and call everyone to find out what we needed to do, etc. We left mom that evening thinking we would have more time. The last thing she told Debbie was "I`m never going to get out of this bed again". We left with a heavy feeling in our hearts.

Friday, December 14, 2001
I go to Mom`s apartment to get her beloved puter so that she can continue to be a part of the beloved Qmunity. Before I complete the task I receive a call from my sister who is at the nursing home. "Don`t bother with her computer" she says. "You need to get here now". All the way I was wondering if I would make it in time. When I walked in I didn`t know what had happened. It was like she was totally not there. I know that doesn`t make sense, but she wasn`t there anymore. At least not mentally. I really believed this would be it.

Thursday, December 27, 2001
Today, our mother, Mary J. Merrey (aka TillieToiler) passed away. It is exactly 4 months to the day that we received the terminal diagnois of 6 months or less. It is exactly 2 weeks to the day since she entered the nursing home.

To all you NEWBIES!!!! Please read this profile carefully and do not put your families through the despair that we have encountered over the last couple of weeks. Let me tell you about my mother`s death. I was alone with her in her room at the nursing home. I set there quitely for 2 hours before I finally realized maybe something was right. It looked like Mom was still breathing but she was on her side and her breathing was getting more labored. I stepped out to the nurses station to ask when Mom was due for my pain medicine. I was told it could be anytime. When I asked about her last vitals, the RN said she would have to ask the girls (meaning the CNAs, bless their hearts). "The girls" came in and took Mom`s temperature. It was 105. I knew right then. I called my sister - told her to come but be careful. I called my cousin who is also like a sister. She said she`d be right out. No one made it in time. I went back to the room and they rolled Mom over. BELIEVE ME it is a picture I will never EVER forget. Apparently my Mom had died several minutes before I even thought anything was wrong. The quilt I feel for not holding her hand, for not calling someone, for not doing SOMETHING is something that I have to live with daily.

PLEASE if there is someone you love, give up this nicodemon. It will kill you. I don`t know if this is appropriate or not, but I thought I would take the liberty of updating Mom`s profile for her. I know she would want everyone to know how much she really suffered, how much we suffered and the lingering suffering and loss we will feel for a very long time. We all love our mom and our grandmother and she will be missed forever.


Jane (sons Aaron and Samuel
Debbie (sons Joe, Justin - daughters Danielle, Chelsey)
Dan (son Joshua)
The family of Mary J. Merrey
10-17-33 to 12-27-01

The pain continues. I thought it would get easier, but it doesn`t. My 6 year old today came home with a journal they were keeping in kindergarten. On one page was a picture of his family. I asked him who they were. He looked at me like I was stupid. One was dad, one me, one bubba (big brother), one him (Sammy) and one grandma (aka TillieToiler). She had wings. I lost it. Then we had to draw angels all night. His teacher says he`s really had a hard time since returning from Christmas vacation (Mom passed away 2 days after Christmas). My sister`s youngest daughter is also having trouble copeing. Why do people keep smoking when they know the heartache it will eventually cause? Sorry, don`t mean to preach. But this saddness will never go away. It is so hard to deal with. I miss my mom so much - I never thought it would hurt so much. There are days where it is hard to keep going. Then I log on to the Q and I read how much she has helped everyone and I realize maybe her death was not in vain. Maybe it would help some one else not to have to suffer this kind of anquish. Thanks to everyone who keeps Qmailing mom even though she`s not here. I check her messages as often as I can. (((((LOVE))))))) to all.

It`s been 2 months since our mom passed away. It`s still very hard almost every day. Debbie, the youngest of us kids, wrote this poem last week. I wanted to share it with everyone.


Mary J. Merrey
10/17/33 - 12/27/01

I feel so lost, so lonely
without you here with me.
I never knew what I`d be like
when it`s you I cannot see.

I wish that I could go back
in time when you were here,
`cause then I wouldn`t be living
with this constant fear.

I fear of being alone now
with no one left to see
the person I am becoming
or the child left in me.

The child that`s within me
screams out so hard & long,
"I miss you my Sweet Mother
I still can`t believe you`re gone".

Debra Merrey-Meyer

April 1,2002

I'm the youngest daughter, Debbie,aka(angeleyes), I like Jane thought the pain would get easier as time goes on but it isn't. I can't eat much, and don't sleep much at all. I miss her so much. She is now in Heaven and is all of our Q angel. She will watch over us and comfort us and give us encouragement, if we let her. It's been a little over three months since we lost her and it's time for me to do something in memory of her. I am going to quit smoking for this lady right here. I do not want my children to go through what I went through. I will do it, and if I don't succeed I will try, try again. So, Mom, if you can see this, your life was not in vain, you have helped many people and now you will help me also. I love and miss you.
God Bless each and everyone of you here on the Q, it was thanks to all of you that Mom was able to do what she did. I love you all.

April 23, 2002 Dear Mom: I wanted to let you know how proud of you I am on your 1 year quit. I know how hard this was on you, but you beat that nicodemon!! You never let it get the best of you even through the toughests of time and boy did we have some tough times!!!

It's unreal how much we miss you. If someone had told me a year ago that I would miss you this much I would have told them they were nuts. Oh we had our disagreements and at times we didn't get along. I'm sorry that I didn't take the time to get to know you better when I had the chance. It seems like people always wait until it's too late and then they try to make amends. I know that's what I did, and I wish I could do it over. I would look at things differently. I wouldn't wait until the doctor said "You have less than 6 months to live" before I started taking care of you. I should have been doing that for several years since you retired. I know you were independent and wouldn't let me, but I could have tried. I could have taken the time to listen to your stories, to listen to you sing the songs you wanted to sing. Now I long to hear your voice; hear you tell a joke; sing a song.

You've been gone almost 4 months, but your proudest accomplishment is that you went smoke free. We are all so very proud of you. I just wish you were hear so I could tell you. I LOVE YOU MOM!!!!



May 12, 2002

Dear Mom,

It's Mother's Day and has been the worst 2 days since your death. I miss you so much. Going with Mike to get his Mom flowers and stuff was awful becuase I don't have you anymore. I wish that you were here with me singing "The Sweetest Gift" together like we use to or just sitting and listening to you talk about the "old times". I love you Mom, and I miss you. We all do. I write here in your journal because this was your greatest accomplishment and is so helpful to me to be here and to read your profile over and over.
I love you, Mom.

June 12, 2002 It's been almost 6 months since mom has passed. I'm really surprised at how quickly it has gone by. A lot has happened in the family and I really miss her more than ever. (I'm not the oldest child, but I'm the oldest daughter and so I guess a lot falls on me.) We used to call each other just to talk about things that we wouldn't talk to others about and I really miss that. I try to keep things going, but it's hard. It seems like everything/everyone is falling apart since Christmas. I'll be glad, in a way, when this year is over. Like Deb and I have said each year, maybe this year will get better but it doesn't. Well, hopefully next year!!!!!! Miss you Mom!!!! And I really do love you.


June 27, 2002 - WOW, it's been 6 months since you left us. It seems like it's ONLY been 6 months and then it seems like it's been 6-6-6-6-6- months (time just drags). There are still good days and bad. I've gone through an angry time of my mourning. How could you have left me with all of this to take care of???? I remember you saying "Oh Jane can take care of it after I'm gone" and I thought yeah I'll take care of it. Now I'm thinking why didn't I take a stand then and say no - take care of this now. Not thinking how much grief I would be in, I thought I could deal with anything. Well, guess what Mom, I'm not superwoman and I can't take care of everything and everyone. I've tried but I can't. Today, Sammy was supposed to have dental work done and he was to be put under. I couldn't have it done today because it's the day you passed and I'm superstitious that way. I had to reschedule. I miss you terribly. I had trouble with my bankbook the other day and I wanted to call you because you always helped me straighten it out. I had to do it myself!!!!! It took me awhile, but I got it done. You were much faster at doing it than I. Well, gotta go Mom. I love you!!!



8/18/02 Today's my birthday!! 45 years old. I used to hate the fact that you still treated me like a little girl and would make me a cake every year. But this year I woke up to the fact that I wasn't going to get that call from you wishing me happy birthday in your cheery voice and bringing over my birthday cake and singing happy birthday. I'd give anything to hear your voice again - it wasn't a very happy birthday.

Mom, I quit Sun. night at 9:30 p.m., I was doing so well until Danielle started her crap and i lost the 31/2 day quit. I am so mad at her and myself. You always said you couldn`t wait to live to see the day my daughter turned 16, well it started now. She is worse than I ever was, now I know how you felt raising me and I am sooooo sorry. I love you mom and I miss you so much, I need you here to give me advice or just to listen to me but you aren`t here so I have to wing it alone. Well, I haven`t given up on quitting. I will quit for me and for you. I love you.


Mom, It`s been 9 months since you left us, sometimes it seems like yesterday, sometimes it seems like it was 2 years ago. I miss you so much. Things have been so different since you have gone. I am so different. I am really dreading the Holidays this year, it just won`t be the same without you here. However, you will be in my heart and mind and I know that you will be with us all in spirit. I love you.

October 17, 2002

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!!!! I miss you and I love you. I know you were looking over my shoulder yesterday, I could smell you (and I don`t mean that in a bad way). Don`t worry, I didn`t forget your birthday!!!!! (I always got the date of Mom`s birthday wrong - was either a day or two early or late. She always teased me about it.) I wish I could pick up the phone to wish you a wonderful day, but I can`t. So have a wonderful day and someday we`ll be together again. Love, Jane


Happy Birthday Mom!!! I know that you are in Heaven and looking more beautiful than ever but I wish you were here so that I could give you a b`day hug, but I can`t so here is a cyber hug(((((((((((((((MOM))))))))))). I love you and miss you so much but I pray that you and grandma, and Aunt Louise are celebrating your day in a very special way. Love, Deb aka(tilliesgirl)

October 23, 2002. Happy 18th month quit, Mom. We`re really proud of you!!!! I know you`ve been watching over me, MOm, and I know you know what I`ve been going through. I hope you keep watching over me the next couple of weeks as I go through these tests. I hope your presence doesn`t mean you`re expecting me to join you soon just that you`re here to protect me. Please protect me. I`m scared. I picked up the phone to call you tonight because they announced that they had released the 1880 census online!!! We had fun doing genealogy together and that is a big step. I hope in a couple of months I`ll be able to do some research on it. But for now I`ll just say I love you and I miss you and I hope I won`t see you TOO soon, but if so it`ll be a wonderful party. Jane

Nov. 17, 2002 Well it`s that time of year - the time of year we`ve all been dreading. The holidays. The first holidays since Mom passed away from lung cancer. We`re trying to decide what to do for Thanksgiving and no one really seems too interested. I imagine some of us will gather at my house. Then we have to face Christmas. Really not looking forward to that one. Mom passed away 2 days after Christmas last year so this year is really going to be a bitch. Our first year without her (even though she was in a coma last year). Debbie`s kids will really have a hard time. They used to have her (and before her, Grandma) stay all night on Christmas eve so that she would be there on Christmas morning to watch them open their gifts. Man, how things have changed in the past year. Everytime I see someone smoking I wish I could play the video that replays in my head of the weeks before Mom died. I wish they could see what she went through and what we went through and still go through daily. I wish - ----- I wish my mom was here. Jane

November 23, 2002 -- Mom, wow another anniversary!! You would have been 19 months smoke free. I wonder what we would be doing right now. Saturday night with something really special to celebrate. I like to think how healthy you would have been and the things you always wanted to do but couldn`t because of smoking. Let`s see, we could have maybe gone to a concert (which we could never do because you couldn`t walk that far without getting out of breath because of the cigs) OR we could have gone shopping or travelled somewhere. It was hard for you to do anything until you gave up the cigs and then the cancer slowed you down. Now I can see you running all over the place in Heaven and doing all the things you wanted to do and wished you could do. Have a great time Mom!!!! I love you!

Nov. 27, 2002. The pain we still feel everyday, especially days like today (11 months today), is tremendous. Tonight, while I bake pies and get ready for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, I`ll listen to a tape she was recording as she sat and waited to die, a tape of music, and I`ll cry. They`ll be happy tears and sad tears. I wish I could have her here but I`m glad she`s no longer struggling to breath, walk or just talk. She`s singing glorious songs now and looks beautiful. And she`s happy!!!! For that, I`m grateful.


It`s the evening of Thanksgiving and I really miss you! I am so lonely without you. Christmas is coming up and I don`t have you or Grandma to stay all night with me to watch the kids open their presents. I hate it!!! I hate feeling so alone!!! You were my best friend and my mom and I hate that you are not here to celebrate Christmas with me!!!!!!! I love you, Mom. I hope that you are celebrating in a very special way up in Heaven. I know that you are, so please tell Grandma and everybody, ` I Love Them and I Miss You All so Much!!!!!!!!!!!!
12/7/02 I`m going to be a grandma!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, I`m not ready for that. That means you`ll be a greatgrandma for the first time. Oh man, you would have been so proud of that! I know you know all of this, but I wish you were here to share this with me.



It`s only days til Christmas and I am not ready for it. Of course the kids are excited but they miss you, especially Joey. He is really going to have a hard time Christmas morning when you won`t be there to watch them open their gifts. I will make sure that they understand that you are in Heaven celebrating alot better than we are because you are right there with Jesus on his Birthday, there couldn`t be a more special place to be on the day of His birth. I know that Jane and I will cry but that is more for us than you. I will try to help Jane through this Holiday and try to help her understand that you are in the most wonderful place you can be on Christmas Day! I love you and miss you also, but I will try to be strong for you and my kids because I know that you would not want me crying in front of them on Christmas for fear of ruinning the holiday for them but I will be honest enough to say that when I am alone I will probably cry my eyes out. Have a wonderful Christmas Mom as I know you will.

Dec. 22, 2002

Everyone is telling me to concentrate on the birth of Jesus and my kids to get through this Christmas but I miss you so much. I am so use to having you here on Christmas Eve that I don`t want to face this holiday at all. I don`t know what to do without you! I was listening to the song, `Have a Merry Little Christmas` at Taco Bell, Friday and started crying right there in the restraunt! I know that i am suppose to be strong for the kids and Mike, etc. but I can`t do it. I just simply can`t hold these feelings in anymore. I am sorry but I just can`t be the strong one anymore, I feel as if I am going to explode with emotion and I don`t like it. I don`t feel like I can let go of my grief in front of anyone because they will think I am overreacting, like my `x` did when Grandma died. I try to talk to you and to pray to God that He will help me with my pain but right now nothing is doing any good. Well, I guess God is helping or I wouldn`t be able to sit here and write to you. Right? I bought Mike`s Mom some chocolate covered cherries today since you aren`t here to buy some for you, like I did every Christmas. Do you remember the Christmas I bought cherries for you and you choked on one, and I thought I was going to have to call the paramedics? I was so scared that night!!! I thought I was going to lose you right then and there because of your love for chocolate covered cherries! You always were a glutten when it came to them. Well, Mom, I had better go. I love you and I miss you so much.
12-27-02 One year ago this evening, Mom died from lung cancer. I can`t believe how fast this year has gone, but the pain of that evening is still very fresh. I know I need to move past it, but I still feel guilty and angry for being the only one there. I`m angry at the nursing home and at Hospice. I really believe things could/should have been handled differently. I believe she could have died with a little more dignity and with more loving family around. They could have/should have known that she was in the last stages of dying but yet they didn`t call us. In fact they sent us home earlier that afternoon to `go shopping or rest`. Five hours later, she was gone. But then I also know that she is so much better off now and I shouldn`t be sad. I cry for myself, not for her. I love you Mom.

1-23-03 Happy anniversary mom. 21 months smober!!!!! What an accomplishment that is!!!! We love you and miss you terribly.

2-9-03 MOOOOOMMMMM!!!! Make them go away. Tell them I don`t want to play anymore. (Sorry, Mom would understand this.) I am left with so much burden after Mom passed that it still drives me totally crazy even after a year. How can one family be so totally screwed up? How did Mom keep us together and still keep her sense of humor? I don`t know but I wish she were here to give me some advice and make it go away. My health is finally settling down - I wish the stress would. Final analysis of my heart is that it is fine, chest pains and resulting abnormal stress tests were from the severe anemia I was suffering from (hemoglobin of 8). Well, Mom, please keep an eye on Barb (Cynder) and if our Lord sees fit to bring her home you meet her. Okay? I love you. Jane

2-24-03 Sorry I missed this anniversary. It is one anniversary I actually look forward to. Not too many of them that I do. The past week has been really good. Three GOOD things have happened to my family, of which I`m not used to. Nothing good ever seems to happen to us. Debbie has an offer of a really good paying job, my oldest son (who will make me a grandma in July) starts work tonight and he also had some serious legal problems that were solved with a lessor charge. THANK GOD!!!! Maybe for once things will go our way for a while.
Mom, I know you`re still watching over us, I still carry your pocket angel you left with me every where I go, but I still miss you SOOOOOOOOO much.
Aaron`s girlfriend`s dad has CANCER in his colon and in both lungs that they know of so far. They won`t do surgery but he`s scheduled to have chemo and radiation. I just wish God would take this horrible, horrible, disease away. Even the mention of it scares me to death anymore. I see little hope in it (although I do know of survivors). I know, if it`s God`s will, it will be done, but it still makes me made. I`m only human and I`ve seen so much in the past couple of years. Everyone please take care of themselves.

3/23/03 - 23 months ago today, Mom quit smoking. After years and years and years of smoking (and several attempts at quitting), she quit. She held her quit through many trying times - the worst of which were her terminal diagnosis of cancer and 9/11. I think she was more upset when 9/11 happened than she was when the doctor told her she had less than 6 months to live. She was very upset when she called me that morning, but she told me she wasn`t upset for herself (because she knew she was dying and was going to a better place), but she was upset because of those whom she was leaving behind. Upset because she believed the terroists attacks of that day would lead to the what we are all facing today. War!!! My oldest son`s dad left Friday morning for Fort McCoy, WI. From there, he will be deployed to Kuwait. He`s in maintenance in the National Guard, but especially in light of today`s occurrances, we are very much worried about him and all of our other soldiers who are serving their country and us. Mom loved my ex a lot - she always thought of him as a son. I know that she would be very upset about these events. I offer a prayer for those who are serving and for those families who have already lost loved ones in this war. May God Bless America.
(((((I LOVE YOU MOM))))))


4-25-03 OMG!!!! How could I have forgotten the most important anniversary of all. Everyone else remembered, but I totally forgot. I`m so sorry Mom and a big Congratulations from all of us. It wasn`t that we are forgetting about you - we never could. You covered me up the other night, didn`t you? I felt the covers slightly brush my arm and when I opened my eyes, no one was there. I knew you were tucking me in :)) I do think about you every day. I just get so wrapped up in everything!! You know me. Worry about this, worry about that. But I am proud of your quit and I still miss you terribly. You`ve been gone almost a year and a half and it still seems like last night at times. Tuck me in again tonight??? I love you.

Sunday, May 11, 2002 HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, MOM. We miss you so much. My husband and youngest son is taking me out to lunch and then we`re going bowling. I wish you were here to go with us. I know you`ll be with us in spirit (and in my pocket because I`ll carry the angel you left for each of us when you died), but it`s not the same. I miss you laughter and your jokes. You could always make us laugh. I need to laugh. I love you. Jane and family

May 23, 2003 Happy Anniversary Mom!! We`re so proud of you and the legacy you carry on to this day.

On this Memorial Day Weekend, I would like to take this opportunity to remember those who have gone before us, especially those who have died from Cancer. Cancer is such a terrible disease and if anyone ever watched a loved one suffer and then die from cancer they should know what I mean. I would like to remember my beloved grandfather who died from complications of emphasyma as a result of smoking. Also, my cousin who, at the age of 39, died from throat cancer as a result of smoking. My aunt who died, just before my mom, as a result of smoking. And of course, my beloved mom. May she now rest in peace in the beautiful beyond where she continues to be smoke free.

I would also like to remember those in my family that are still suffering from cancer but have not passed as of yet - my cousin has malinoma throughout her body and also brain cancer (all as a result of smoking); my nephew`s dad has leuikemia (sp?) at the age of 38 (hendered by smoking); and my soon to be daughter-in-law`s dad has cancer with less than a year to live (as a result of smoking). PLEASE EVERYONE PLEASE STOP SMOKING. IT WILL KILL YOU!!!!!!!


6/23/03 25 months ago today you stopped smoking. Unbelievable!!! Where has the time gone? I miss you still so much to this day it hurts. They are honoring you at the bonfire tonight. Your memory is everlasting here in this wonderful world. But I would still rather have you here with us than where you are. Although, I know, you are a lot better off in Heaven. But I`m selfish and I need you. I need you to hold me, to tell me everything will be okay. I need your strength. I need your courage. I need your humor. I NEED YOU!!!! Be at peace, Mom. I wish I was. Love you always. Jane

7/18/03 Some good news, Mom. You`re a great grandma for the first time!!!!! My first grandson, Liam Rockwell, was born tonight at 6:56 p.m. It was scarey because Jennifer had to have an emergency c-section, but it`s all right now. Everyone is fine. I just wish you were here and we both were able to fly out to Ohio and see the baby. You would have been so proud!!!! Aaron says the baby looks like Sammy when Sam was born except he has blue eyes. Remember how dark Sam`s eyes were?? Another good thing is that since Liam was born, Aaron has quit smoking. Thank God!!!!! He swore he would as soon as the baby was born and so far he seems to be okay with it. I hope he sticks with it. I hate for him to die the way you did.

I love you mom. Bye for now. Jane

8/24/03 Hi Mom!!! This year has really been a rough one. I`ll be glad when it`s over. I miss you so much. I wish you were here to talk to. There`s no one left. I`m divorced now and have bought a house but can`t move in until October. It`s rough living in the same house with an ex!!!!! A lot of stress. I`ve decided to go to Ohio to see my grandson next weekend (Labor Day). I`m real excited about that. Scared of traveling alone, but better get used to it. I have to get use to doing things alone. I think of how you used to take walls out and hang dry wall and I`m thinking why can`t I do that. I probably could, but it`s easier and quicker to hirer someone. I wish I had your strength and your wisdon AND your sense of humor. I don`t laugh much any more. I love you mom. Talk to you later. Love you, Jane.

9/1/03 Well, I`m back from Ohio - everything went smooth (except for getting lost around Indianapolis) and the grandbaby is great!!!! He`s so cute (and I`m not just saying that). It was really hard though because he stayed in my hotel room with me the first night we were there and at his 2:00 am feeding I felt my mom`s presence and told Liam - `Your greatgrandma would be so proud of you. She would have loved to hold you.` I could just see mom holding that baby. The feeling was so strong. Aaron has totally stopped smoking since the baby was born!!! I`m so proud of him and mom would have been proud too. I haven`t heard from Cynder`s daughter since July and am really worried about her. I hope they contact someone soon. I just feel that Cynder is gone and that she and mom are having a good time in heaven. Maybe that`s why mom is so strong around me right now. I don`t know. Please everyone, stop smoking and stay that way. It only causes so much pain.

Love to all on the Q - Jane

9/23/03 29 MONTHS SMOBER

Mom would have been smoke free for 29 months today. I am very proud of the way she quit in the face of death and then continued that quit even while she died. It wasn`t easy. There were times when she would have like to have given in, I`m sure, but she didn`t because she knew it would bring her life even closer to death and she WANTED TO LIVE!!!! She struggled to live and accomplish everything she wanted to do. She accoumplished most of her goals. The lives of her children and grandchildren will never be the same without her even almost 2 years after her death. We are already starting to dread the holidays and the family reunion we attended the other day was not the same without Mom and her sister. If only they had chosen to quit sooner, or to never start smoking in the first place, what a difference our lives would be today!!! She would still be here, probably. Anyways, please don`t smoke if you haven`t started and if you have then for God`s sake - no, for YOUR SAKE and that of your family - stop smoking and keep the quit. It will save your life.

KTQ - Jane

10/17/03 HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!

What a party you and the family must be having in Heaven!!!! I can just imagine the laughing and the singing as you, grandma, Aunt Louise, Larry and the others gather for a joyful celebration. Wish I was there!!! I miss you. I Love You. Jane

12/8/03 It`s hard to believe it`s been almost 2 years since you passed on, but Christmas is right around the corner. I was talking with someone the other day whose mother passed a few days before you and we will talking about how much the pain and grief is still so vivid. You would think that after 2 years it would ease a little, but it hasn`t. To watch you die the way you did......... Anyways, perhaps it`s because you passed during the holidays that makes it so hard to really let go of the saddness. I just know that this Christmas, even more so than last Christmas, will be one of the loneliest times of the year. I`m really looking foward to 2004. Love you mom. Jane

12/21/03 Happy Birthday Grandma. Today would have been my grandmother`s birthday and we would have celebrated with a hugh party. But instead my mom (tillietoiler) and her mom (my grandmother) and various other family members are celebrating in heaven. What a party that must be. So many people I have known and know have and are dying from lung cancer. It is such a waste. A waste of time, a waste of life. If I could have one wish for Christmas it would be that this horrible addiction and the resulting disease would be stricken from this earth for good. On 12/27 we will remember our mom on 2 years her death. Even though we remember her daily, the date of her death is particularly hard to bear. Mary J. Merrey will always be loved by her family here on earth.

Peace be with you in the new year.

12/31/03 HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE ON THE Q!! From the family of Mary J. Merrey. We love and miss you mom.

1/7/04 Oh Mom. It`s a sad day. A really sad day. I was taken in. You warned me and warned me not to be so nieve, but I was taken in all the same. I will take your advice, I will be more cautious, I will still love and care, but I will not get hurt again. The Q world has changed a bit, but the spirit will live on. Your spirit will live on in me. I love you mom and I miss you so terribly much. More now than ever.

1/18/04 *~*At the Mansion of 1000 Steps (BONFIRE dedication)*~*

From Casey70 on 1/18/2004 6:04:35 PM

Hello friend. Glad you could make it this evening. That’s right, come right in. http://members.mailaka.net/rpacak/Grand_Staircase.htm We’ve been waiting for you. … Where are the chairs you ask and why the need for the velvet ropes blocking the foot of the stairs? Well, you see, tonight we’re expecting an unprecedented attendance for this ‘ascending of the staircase,’ so it’s standing room only. The ropes are keeping our guest separate from everyone right now. This way she can stay comfortable and have some time alone to reflect. Plus, they’re helping to keep everyone back so each person has a decent view of the proceedings. Beautiful red ballroom gown she’s wearing, isn’t it? She looks like a southern belle. … I must say, you are right! The dress is the same color as the BBB uniform, though I think this material is more of a velvet than the standard flannel that is used for the pajamas. And, your eyes are good, too. Those are small triple B’s, mops, buckets, flames, and ceiling fans sewn into the hem of the dress as a decorative gold border. Anyway, now that you’re here we can begin. Please find yourself a spot. I need to go cue up the band.

In just moments, the jazz ensemble, a reproduction of the Count Basie Orchestra, strikes the first chord. Our guest gathers a handful of red velvet in each hand and lifts the dress a few inches from the floor, exposing her pretty red satin slippers and puts her right foot on the first step. The audience hushes, watching with wide eyes as she takes each step with obvious pride. Her head is held high, and those on the edges remark they can see her smiling lips move in sync with the words of the song that is being played…

Through the clouds, gray with years, over hill, wet with tears,
To a world young and free, we shall fly, follow me.
April green, everywhere, April songs always there,
Come and hear, come and see, follow me.
To the tree where our hopes hang high,
To the dream that should never die,
Where our long lost tomorrows still are in the sweet bye and bye.
Time goes by, or do we, close your eyes, and you`ll see
As we were, we can be, weep no more, follow me.
Follow me, follow me.
[musical interlude]
To the tree where our hopes hang high,
To the dream that should never die,
Where our long lost tomorrows still are in the sweet bye and bye.
Time goes by, or do we, close your eyes, and you`ll see
As we were, we can be, weep no more, follow me.
Follow me, follow me, follow me, follow me.
Get behind me, follow me.
(Recorded December 12, 1967, Hollywood, by Frank Sinatra)

She’s gracefully gliding up the steps, enjoying the moment and the music. The band plays another tune to aid her in the last bit of the ascension and, as before, she sings along...

Fly me to the moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby kiss me
Fill my heart with song
Let me sing for ever more
You are all I long for
All I worship and adore
In other words, please be true
In other words, I love you
(Fly me to the moon, Frank Sinatra, Writer(s): Howard)

Our lady in red has reached the top and walks over to the back wall. A golden cord hangs there. She pulls on it. The landing at top of the stairs becomes illuminated, and a cool breeze stirs the air around the crowd down below. We now see who our honored guest is: the one and only Tillietoiler, and we notice she has started a beautiful white and gold ceiling fan that had been added to the chandelier just for the evening. Her shoulders lightly shake as if she’s chuckling from a joke. With a huge smile on her face, a wave to the crowd and a wink to the band, her voice clearly resonates to the assembly:

You`ve gotta accent-tcu-ate the positive, eli-my-nate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative, don`t mess with Mister In-between.
You gotta spread joy up to the maximum, bring gloom down to the minimum.
Have faith or pandemonium`s li`ble to walk upon the scene.
To illustrate my last remark, Jonah in the whale, Noah in the Ark,
What did theyou do just when everything looked so dark,
Man, they said we better
Accent-tchu-ate the positive, elim-my-nate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative, don`t mess with Mister In-between,
Don`t mess with Mister In-between.
(Accentuate The Positive, Prime Artist: Frank Sinatra, Lyrics by: Johnny Mercer, Music by: Harold Arlen (b. Hyman Arluck), From the Film: Here Come The Waves 1944 (M) )

It is in honor of Mary Merrey, and the quit she was so proud she kept, that we light tonight’s Bonfire out on the front lawn of the mansion. The chefs and cabana boys and girls are around and a bar has been set up. A portable hot tub has been brought here for the occasion. For those of you who are experiencing the Bonfire for the first time, you may want to read its history at: http://www.geocities.com/purplkoala/tillietoiler/bonfire_history.html This tradition, started by our own Q Angel, Mary (tillietoiler), has us getting together every evening to toss our un-smoked cigs and troubles onto the fire and visiting with friends. Since Mary`s passing, the fire has been tended by the Bonfire Brigade Babes/Bros, a.k.a BBBs, who have continued to light the fire not only in memory of Mary, who requested that we `KEEP IT CLEAN!,` but in celebration of everything that is good about the Q and having a smoke-free life! If you have yet to read Mary`s profile, follow this link: http://www.geocities.com/purplkoala/tillietoiler/tillietoiler.html
Okay, let`s get this party started...
With the only lighter (a 22K gold one engraved with the words `IN LOVING MEMORY OF TILLIETOILER!`) that is allowed on Q Island, and here at the mansion for the evening, and which can only be used to light the bonfire, it is my pleasure to dump just over 35026 unsmoked cigs from Tillie’s being 1000 days, 17 hours, 55 minutes and 2 seconds smoke free and fire them up. And, in thanks to her for helping so many others and being such an inspiration here are my 8657 rusting coffin nails from my 433 days quit.


2/23/04 34 months ago today you quit, Mom. I`m still so very proud of you for that. And it still amazes me that you continued your quit even after we found out you were going to die. Hell, that made me want to smoke but I knew if I did you would kill me. Aaron (the oldest grandchild and father to mom`s only great-grandson) is still smoke free. I`m so glad the baby was born. That made Aaron quit. Deb is still smoking and probably will until she joins you someday. I hope not. I can`t take watching another loved one die from cancer. Me, I`m doing okay. I still miss you and love you a lot. I know you`ve been with all of us the last couple of days and we think of you every day. Love you, Jane.

3/17/04 Happy St. Patrick`s Day!!!! Today is my oldest son`s 21st birthday. What a day to turn 21!!!! I miss him though and can`t be with him. He lives in Ohio, some 900 miles away. But I`ll be with him in spirit. Also, 31 years ago today my grandfather (mom`s dad) died. I remember when Aaron was born, mom came in and said you don`t remember what today is do you? I looked at her like she was stupid or something. Of course I knew what the day was. My first child was born!!!!! And then she gently reminded me that it was 10 years ago to that day that grandpa had passed. I started crying. Tears of sadness and tears of joy. What a blessed memorial to my dear grandfather, to have a baby on the day that he passed. Now that the baby is grown, he looks so much like my grandpa at that age. It`s amazing. Luck of the Irish, perhaps???????? Keep the quit.

Tillie's last two posts in quitstop:

RE: Come on Q'sters!!!!! It's time for the bonfire!!!!
From tillietoiler on 12/11/2001 7:31:41 PM

That group snuggle sounds so wonderful. Just let me get wumphy in my comforter and I settle down for a snooze while listening to this amazing singing. how about "O, Little Town of Bethlehem"

RE: Come on Q'sters!!!!! It's time for the bonfire!!!!
From tillietoiler on 12/11/2001 7:18:53 PM

Yes, I'm here but just for a very short time; still pretty weak but feeling better. I love the singing and want to hear more before I have to leave again. Just want to say how much we (daughters) and I appreciate the responses to their message last night and to the bonfire. Jane, who isn't usually here on the net, was simply astounded because she doesn't know our Qmmunnity and didn't realize why deb and I love it. Now she knows. Thanks for all of your love and support and especially for the many many prayers. Will try to catch up to each of you as my strength (hopefully) returns a little more.
Love ya


Mary J. Merrey (aka TillieToiler) 1933 -2001
From angeleyes32 on 12/27/2001 11:32:39 PM

The family of Mary J. Merrey would like to thank everyone on the Qmunity for their support and love during our trying times. Mom loved this network and loved everyone in it as if she knew them personally. Mom passed away this evening (12-27-01) and will be buried Saturday 12-29-01. I don't know what else to say. She fought long and hard and I hope she helped some people along the way. Our mother was a strong willed and spirited individual who did things her way - up until the very last. May God bless everyone and bring you a peaceful and smoke free New Year.

Thank you.

Jane, Debbie, Danny (and 7 grandkids)

Other links:

Memories of Tillie

Mary J. Merrey (aka TillieToiler) 1933 -2001

GoodBye Tillie, rest in peace

Tillietoiler's BONFIRE!!!


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