“Just get me to December 2019,” Mom told her oncologist on what would end up being her last appointment. She’d just finished a procedure to drain fluid from her chest that had caused her lung to partially collapse, and her doctor had asked if there was anything she could do for Mom.
At the answer, the doctor tilted her head, confused and unsure if Mom, whose sense of humor had not lessened over the course of eighteen months of mostly experimental treatments, was making a joke.
But I understood. Perched on the stool in the corner, with the cancer notebook on my lap for taking notes about medications or new drugs or treatment schedules, I stopped breathing. I lifted my eyes to see Mom’s bitter attempt at a cheerful smile. She didn’t have that long, and everybody in the room knew it.
“That’s when the next Star Wars movie comes out,” I explained, trying to sound lighthearted. The doctor laughed belatedly.
“I have to know what happens,” Mom said, laughing, too.
She died about two weeks later, on October 10th, 2018. And I didn’t think about Star Wars again for a while.