My mother has been in the hospital since last Wednesday when a trip from the subacute rehab facility to her cardiologist turned into a race to the ER for a blood transfusion. Have either of you been to Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia? we were asked by security guards. I said, I wish...and then I remembered Ebola. How insensitive of me.

My mother went from looking great, partying at Halloween, to passing out during physical therapy. What my daughter and I went through to obtain a Raggedy Ann costume, in time. All of my phone calls to her friends and family close enough to visit, emails on updates.

Last week I stopped working out, dropped my husband off each day, then headed up to the hospital with flowers, a book, hair products from the 1980's and lotion for her skin. I sat while she had tests. I talked with nurses and doctors. I encouraged my mother yesterday when I was told her kidneys were sluggish, then today I was told her kidneys seemed to be shutting down.

All of the possibilities listed by the nephrologist over the phone were like minor explosions blasting down the carefully constructed walls of our plans for a return to Pine Acres, then back home with help.

My mother knows something is wrong but she can't seem to be at peace or be her usual positive self. She complains about the sunlight coming in the window, the foggy morning, the food, the timing, the not being at home. She wants to live and die in her home.

What she really wants is to see my younger brother one last time, and he, for unfathomable reasons, will not come. In my nightmares, he is caught in some dark forest. In my daydreams, I have stopped expecting to ever see him again. My baby brother, my father's favored son, could give her peace, she who will no longer ask.

This is what is for sale: my mother's broken dreams. There is no price, no living or dying wage, no best offer. All I can give are my days and prayers, although tonight that doesn't feel like it's enough.

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