Their mother was a sweet caring and beautiful woman who they were very close to. One day their mother got sick and died of an illness. The boys (Edward now 5 and Alphonse 4) tried to commit the crime of human transmutation to bring their mother back to life. As a result Alphonse lost his body and Edward lost an arm and a leg. Alphonse was soul bonded to a suit of armor and Edward received auto mail made by a childhood friend (Winrey's) grandmother. The state alchemists and the military heard about the boys' attempt and went to their grandmother's house to recruit them. At first the grandmother refused and said these boys have been through way too much already. But Colonel Mustang told her that it is strictly the boys' Choice and that she can't do or say anything to change their mind or decide for them. Edward and Alphonse decided to join the military and have been searching for a way to get their bodies back ever since.