I'm in bed reading. I want to turn the light off and go to sleep, but my son Callum hasn’t arrived home from work yet. I glance at the clock every now and then and wonder where he is. Then just when I am about to text him to make sure he’s okay, I hear his car pull up on the driveway. I hear the key in the lock, a bag falling to the floor, a few footsteps on the tiles outside my bedroom, and then a knock at my door.
Callum comes in and sinks onto the edge of the bed.
“I was worried about you,” I say.
“Sorry, Mum. I should have texted you. So many problems…”
“It was the worse day I’ve ever had.”
“Worse than yesterday?”
Callum nods and then his head sinks into his hands. “A man died in the car park today.”
A man died in his car while waiting for his wife to finish her shopping.
I crawl out of bed and wrap my arms around my son. He puts his head on my shoulder and puts his arms around me too. We hold each other tightly.
“I had to deal with the ambulance and the police and the wife. She was so distraught.”
I can no longer protect my son from the pain of the world. He’s grown up. He’s out there on his own. And my heart aches for him.
We sit together quietly for a while. Then Callum says, “I’ll be okay.” I release him from our embrace, and he gets up from the bed. “I suppose I’d better go and get something to eat.”
Callum stops at the door and turns around. “Thanks, Mum.” He manages a small smile. "Thanks for the hug."
I can’t put things right however much I want to. But I can hug. Sometimes a mother’s hug makes all the difference.
“Can I have a hug please, Mum?”
I open my arms. "Of course."