I walk into our kitchen. My mother is standing at the kitchen sink, whistling to the red cardinals in the plumeria tree. As I hurry to slip past her, she turns and looks at me as though her gaze could wrap its arms around me. “I love you so much,” she says softly. I roll my eyes and tsk, responding as an independent 13-year-old striking out to sever the umbilical cord. My mother is cut down to silence.
Without warning, a week later my 8-year-old brother wakes me in the morning saying, “Mommy’s sick, and she’s throwing up.” I respond as I think she would and bring her a tray with cinnamon-sugar toast and orange juice. I tell her I will take my brothers down to the playground so she can sleep. When we return three hours later, her bed is empty. There is a note from a neighbor that she has taken my mother to the hospital. A neighbor comes over to stay with us while our father is with our mother in the hospital long into the night. It is a long, lonely day and night without answers. I write a letter to God trying to describe my confusion and asking God to let her come home.