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Fourth-quarter 2009 found me once again with too much vacation time left and not enough time to use it. So my husband and I made plans to take 2 weeks off to go to Mexico and attain our scuba certification. We made hotel arrangements and booked a flight. We both worked to prepare for the vacation that was approaching quickly.

We planned to leave the day after Thanksgiving and return on December 12. About two weeks before Thanksgiving, I received an early-morning phone call from our eldest son that my 77-year-old mother had fallen and broken her hip. She has been the primary caregiver for my dad, who is 92.

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