My mother calls from out-of-town with a request. Her friend is dying, and she’s asked for her favorite lemon cake. I agree to make it and deliver it to her house.
I try not to think of it the whole time I bake — how the cancer started in her bladder and wormed its way into her guts. I try not to think about hearing the news that she has “three months, at most” left to live. I try not to think about death or dying or funeral services or any of the rest of it.