Turning Point: Serena O’Brien

My mother misses the bus, and the most important phone call of her life. During the three-mile walk home, she misses five more phone calls and eight text messages. I sit at home, staring at the text from my aunt: “Serena — let me know if you see this. I need to talk to your mom.”

After a year of tension, the door opens—then closes. She takes the call. The next morning my mother has taken flight, straight to her sister’s side. Another soldier against the sickness that would go on to take so much from us: my cousin’s hair, his brother’s parents—holed up in the hospital and absorbed by their sicker son, Halloweens and birthday parties.

I lose my mother for the weekend, but we live in uncertainty for months.