My mom has decided now that she’s 71, it’s time to say screw you to what people think and embrace the freedom that comes with being 71 and not caring. This recently included a trip to the local pot shop down the street (we’re in a state where it’s legal folks), to try out some of the edibles she’s been hearing about. I drove her there and helped her with her oxygen tank into the store. Her COPD requires 24×7 oxygen and her rheumatoid arthritis makes getting around difficult. She picked out her lemon drop candies and happily paid, leaving the store with a huge grin on her face.

Two days later, I received this voicemail:

“It’s mom. (giggle, snort) Guess what I’m doing? Ahahahaha. No guess. You won’t guess (giggle). Call me back. But guess what I’m doing!”

I guessed.

I called her back and we had a lovely conversation about the lemon drops (they’re tasty!) and how her legs and feet were gone. No, not gone just light. She laughed a lot and said she was hungry and hung up. I noticed over the next several weeks, things were different.

Here’s a usual conversation with my mom when she is trying to get to her email on her iPad.

Mom: Heather my email is gone again.

Me: No, it’s there, you just moved it to the other screen. Swipe left.

Mom: Goddam fucking computer. I hate this piece of shit.

Me: Mom, it’s your iPad and you love it, you’re just frustrated.

Mom: No I’m not! I hate it. (to my dad) John, where did my email go? John, goddamit! I did swipe left! Wait, with my right or left hand? Oh nevermind. I did this…oh, wait that was right, lemme, ok, there I swiped. Oh, there it is.

Me: See, it’s still here.

Mom: Oh don’t be so smug.

Sigh.

Here’s a conversation with my mom when she’s stoned:

Mom: Hi, it’s mom. My iPad ate my email. (giggle). I’d like to eat, I’m hungry. John can I have some chips?

Me: Mom, swipe left on your iPad. You moved your email icon again.

Mom: I did swipe left. Wait, you mean swipe to the left or with my left hand?

Me: You can swipe with either hand but move your hand to the left.

Mom: Oh, ok. HEY! There’s my email! My chips are here, I have to go. Oh wait, guess what I just did?? You won’t guess, but try to guess.

I guessed.

When my mom is not stoned, I often receive texts from her like this:

Plz cAlLme. I 4got 2 asku a? CALL ME NOW! Asp

On this one I called and she said, “Goddammit you never answer your phone! I called your cell, your home and texted. Obviously you don’t care if I’m dead, so I don’t need to talk to you.”

Me: Mom, if you were dead you wouldn’t have been able to call and text me. What did you need?

Mom: What? Oh Jesus, it’s been so long since I called, I don’t remember what I needed. Goodbye.

When my mom is stoned I get texts like this:

CALL ME PLZ I NEED YOU TO CALL ME NOW WHEN YOU CAN TO TALK TO ME BUT PLEZ CALL

For some reason being stoned turns the caps lock on on her phone. So I call.

Me: Hey mom, you called?

Mom: What? I did? What did I want?

Me: I don’t know mom, that’s why I’m calling back. To see what you needed.

Mom: Oh (giggle) I don’t remember. I feel good. Oh hey, guess what I did. Go on and guess.

I guessed.

When mom’s not stoned, here’s dinner conversation.

Mom: Your dad’s an ass.

Me: What happened?

Mom: I sent him to the store for Depends and he bought the generic version. He’s so fucking cheap. And, they don’t fit right and leak.

When mom’s stoned:

Mom: Your dad’s an ass.

Me: Why?

Mom: What?

Me: Dad is an ass. Why?

Mom: You watch your mouth young lady! Your dad just went out and bought me Taco Bell which is a pretty not assy thing to do. (giggle). I like cheese. Oh, guess what I did.

Now in reading this it might seem like my non-stoned mom is just angry and she’s nice and funny when high. And who wouldn’t like nice and funny better than angry? But that’s not the real story here. The story is, when she has her lemon drops, she’s not in pain anymore. She lives with the pain of never being able to get a full breath in and her joints on fire. Every day. She lives with knowing she has to cart around her oxygen tank everywhere, which makes even a trip to the store seem cumbersome. There are some days she can’t open her hands or lift her arm. A trip from the living room to the bathroom means 20 minutes of recovery trying to get her breath back. The prescriptions help some but not fully. And if she’s going to pump her body full of chemicals, how about something that actually works??

This is why, if having a lemon drop every now and then takes away the pain, both mentally and physically, I’m all for it. There is nothing I want more than for her to be happy. To find peace and not be in pain. And if this means I’ll be “guessing what she did” for the next umpteen years, I’ll happily guess away!