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My Mom and Me
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"The Last Flower"
by James Thurber
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~ Carol Helena Ledtje ~
1929 ~ 1984

My Mom and Me

On December 10, 1983, on my mom's 54th birthday, I showed up to take care of her in her final months of living with cancer. I was 24. I did the shopping, housework, I bathed her, fed her, gave her medication, changed her dressings, massaged her, let her yell at me one minute and laugh the next when the cancer entered her brain, and spent every minute I could with her.
She was in insurmountable pain. With all the pills available, she just couldn't stand it. It was extremely hard to watch this feisty, independent thinking woman that used to stop me in my tracks just by putting her fingernails on my scalp, withering away at 75 lbs. I remember getting in a contest with her to see who could lose 20 lbs the fastest when we both weighed in at 165 lbs. - 7 years earlier !

She won... it was then we discovered the cancer. It was a most deadly strain. My best friend's mom had just died of the same strain that month. I didn't handle things very well the next few years.

She went through the gamut of treatments, and they didn't work. She fought for about 7 years. So there she was on the last leg of this horrific fight, losing it with no hope. Sent home to die because the hospital could do no more. I was smoking cannabis for the stress I was under, and she thought that was fine. She knew it was therapeutic with the dosage I was consuming, and she relied on my competence morning,
noon and night without regret or question.

There came a point, just before Christmas when the pain was too much to bear. She asked me if cannabis would help her. In my experience, I said, " Yes, definitely."
  Many people do serious things for the wrong reason, this was not the case. We smoked... she got some much needed sleep and I cleaned the kitchen and prepared dinner. No crimes committed here. I was grateful she got some rest. When she awoke, a most awesome thing happened. SHE WAS HUNGRY ! I thanked God and Lord Jesus and cried. I made her some food, she ate it and smiled. She said, "Kathy, I had no idea. I wish I knew sooner how this helps." I told her " You know now, so whenever you need it mom, just tell me."  So from then on until I had to leave just before her death, we smoked, we talked, at one point she wanted to know why she had to share with me. I smiled and said, " To share in this stressful time, and to keep it lit." She didn't understand so I rolled one for her, lit it and handed it to her to smoke. Every other 'puff' as she called it, I had to re-light it for her, so she understood. It didn't become an issue after that.

Her hospital bed was situated in the breakfast area off the side of the livingroom. There was a 'pass through' in the wall if anyone wanted food or coffee passed through to the breakfast area but now we were using it to talk to each other while I was in the kitchen. One time I recall vividly, We had just smoked before I prepared dinner so she could rest before she ate. She had just received this beautiful music box that had one of her favorite classical music pieces, and she was playing it while she was resting, waiting for dinner. Her eyes were closed, her fists were under her back, (part of her spine had been fused.) and her legs were rocking side to side. Her look was peaceful. Her husband came into the kitchen to discuss her comfort. We must have been a bit too loud because all of a sudden her forehead got all crinkly and she said in a whisper... "SSShhhhhh.... I'm skating ! " We were disturbing her
visualization of that peaceful place where cannabis helped her go.
Before she died on January 29, 1984, she learned of it's benefits.
Please don't watch your loved ones wither away and die before at least giving cannabis a chance. Obtain it any way you can for their comfort.
It is the most compassionate thing you can do. The law is wrong.
They deserve that much comfort from the pain. I've seen it.
Nobody will EVER convince me different.
Rest in peace, Mom.
God knows you didn't get much of that here on earth.
Kathy (Wain) Colton

My mom,
my sister, left, and me




Taken right after
my brother died,
(furthest right)
hit and run.


A happier time with my Dad... I think I'm in mom's belly :)


Taken around the time
the Cancer was found.