Kerry McBride at her home in Arlington, Va., on January 5. During frigid weather, she worries even more about her son, who has paranoid schizophrenia and is homeless. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)
  Published in the Washington Post
Another morning of questions began with the most basic of them all. Where was her son? Was he okay? Or was he frozen on some street corner?Kerry McBride, 46, looked outside. The windows of her Arlington townhouse were fogged over, but she could still see the ground was covered with snow. It was 25 degrees and the temperature was expected to sink into the teens by the next day, and here she was, fretting, while her boy was out there, somewhere.

The questions were always with her, but they haunted her on days like today, when McBride, a career State Department employee, was home from work with nothing to do while she recovered from a recent surgery but dwell on what had happened to Michael, a 23-year-old paranoid schizophrenic, undergoing his first winter of homelessness. She thought about how quickly the illness had seized him. And how, in just three years, he had gone from a sweet and loving college student to delusional, homeless and alone.

“I’ve got to see him,” she was saying again and again. “I’ve got to see him.”