I seem to have lost track of time after hearing that my mother was not feeling well again and both sisters were at her house. I actually had to look back in my own write-ups to see how long I've been here. I remember the day was warm so I packed little, was wearing shorts and a sleeveless blouse. Racing to leave, apologizing to my husband that I'd have to miss his birthday. He didn't care; he knows all too well the importance of helping aging mothers. The price of love.

Hospital, too fresh to recount in detail without tiring. Dueling doctors, the scary drive, her ragged breathing, and red zone emergency room hours and hours, the simple but almost fatal mistake of a single nurse, then the safety of competence. Suffice it to say, it's calmer now. Home. Just Mom and me, and blue hyacinths to soothe the soul. After their scent and blossoms fade, I'll plant them here so she can see them next spring. The price of hope.