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on Cigarette Hill

Just a couple of days after Scott learned the bad news about his brain disease, he expressed an interest to bring his family to a favorite place. For a long time, he had been going there to think and smoke butts. He had told his family about the beautiful view and the peacefulness he felt there.

He felt that this might be the only opportunity he would have to show them.


Everyone piled into the car. They got to his spot. Scott lit up a cigarette. It made him feel lousy.

Still, everyone connected at this special place. Scott liked to smoke if only because everyone told him he should quit. He really appreciated the irony in that suggestion!

Scott's father was uncharacteristically quiet that day, his mother spoke in certain and sad terms about help she'd need when being strong stopped being easy for her. And Susan, Scott's sister, entertained him running up and down the hill, rolling in the grass, keeping him smiling. At last, Scott's grandfather opened up. His grandmother, always steady, held her head high.


His voice was already faltering. That was the day that he slowly said in very carefully formed words, "I don't mind so much not being able to talk, but I'm afraid to lose my thoughts."

It may have been the day when they all accepted that Scott's life had turned away from its own future.

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