Mom’s the word


Photo by unknown

Story by Carlye Hudspeth, Co-Editor in Chief

“I’ll be back to pick you up, Tam.”

I’d never seen my father look so exhausted. Red lines filled the whites of his eyes like tiny lightning bolts.

He grabbed my mother’s hand and gently squeezed it, assuring her that he’d be back. If it was up to him, he would’ve stayed by her bedside like he’d done for the past 2 days,  but his hectic work schedule prevented him from doing so.

I sat half-awake in a squeaky grey chair, feet flat against the seat cushion and chin resting on both knees. My hair was piled on top of my head in an un-brushed bun, strands poking out in almost every direction. I was wearing what I’d fallen asleep in; Nike shorts and a tie-dyed camp shirt. I hadn’t had to wake up that early since marching season ended in November, and I was by no means trying to impress anyone.

My dad turned to me.

“I’ll be in court pretty much all day, but I’ll call to check up on her when I can. If you need anything, call me or your sister. And Carlye, thanks again for doing this. I really do appreciate it.”

He grabbed my mom’s hand once more.

“I love you.”

I didn’t understand why my dad was so nervous. I’d heard about a lot of people getting back surgery; my relatives, members of my church, family friends. They all turned out okay.

Yes, I knew surgery was a big deal and I wasn’t happy that my mom had to go through with it, but everything would be back to normal in a few weeks… right?

10 AM.

My stomach’s roaring. I’ve been at the hospital over 3 hours and I have yet to move 2 feet.

The grey chair is getting more and more uncomfortable with each passing minute. I shift my legs in attempt to become more comfortable, and the chair responds with a pinching scream.

I immediately turn to my mom, hoping that I didn’t wake her from her deep sleep. She’d fallen asleep about 15 minutes after my dad left, and hadn’t so much as stirred since then.

My mom looked weak. Her skin was paler than usual and dark rings had formed below her eyes.

It was weird seeing my mother this way. She was my rock, my support, everything a strong woman should be and more. She’d spent a large portion of her life taking care of me, sacrificing both her time and money so that I could live a comfortable life. For once, she wasn’t the caregiver, but the one in need of caring.

The hospital room was cold and bland. It smelled of bleach and hospital food… not the best combination.

Time was taunting me, passing slower than it ever had before. I checked my phone every five-or-so minutes, hoping that someone, anyone, had attempted to communicate with me.

My eyes wandered to the window on the far side of the room.

A couple of hours passed, and I continued to look out of the window. My eyes ventured to the awning located almost directly below my mother’s room.

I watched cars pull in and out of the hospital entrance, each car carrying different people, each person carrying their own story.

The awning was a peculiar place, filled with an array of emotion. I was convinced that it was the most bipolar place on the face of the planet, rejoicing when a couple brought home their baby for the first time and mourning when a small child lost their beloved grandfather.


I turned my head to find my mother’s nurse in the doorway. She was short, looked to be about in her 50s, and had a soft voice.

“I’m going to go fill out some paperwork for your mom. When I’m finished, she’s free to go home.”

I nodded my head. Home.


“I heard about your mom. How’s she doing?”
I walked beside Emily Grimes, one of the nicest adults I’d ever met in my life.

“Ummm… good, I think. She’s doing a lot better.”

I hadn’t talked to my mom in over a week. When I last called her, she was doing well, recovering just as she should be.

Emily and I headed toward camp Brownwood’s meeting rooms. The air was hot and humid, not ideal for a week-long church camp.

When I walked in the door, I was greeted by Bill, another adult council member from the northeast area.

“Hey, Carlye. Is your mom alright?”

The room smelled of sweat and cat urine.

“Yeah! Her back surgery went well. She’s just recovering and stuff now. She’s not supposed to lift much and she can’t drive for several weeks, but other than that, she’s almost back to normal.”

Bill stared at me for a moment, a confused look on his face.

“I… I was asking about her blood clot…”

My face turned a color similar to that of the walls in Camp Brownwood’s “red room”.

“Blood clot?”

Texas High’s student parking lot was emptier than I’d ever seen it before. I waited outside of the rented suburban, ready to go home.

Yearbook and Newspaper students stood all around me, eyes tired from a long week at a publication workshop in Dallas.

I’d been away from home for almost three weeks. First, Arlington with my grandparents. Then, Brownwood for church camp. After that, Nacogdoches to spend some time with my boyfriend. And then, Houston for the 4th of July concert. Afterward, back to Arlington with my grandparents. Lastly, a Newspaper workshop in Dallas.
But I was finally back in Texarkana. And in a few minutes, I’d finally be reunited with my family.


My dad was sitting in his car about 10 feet in front of me. I flashed him a smile, and grabbed my luggage filled with 3-weeks worth of dirty clothes.

“You ready to go home?”

I nodded my head. Home.

As my dad and I neared our faded red house, I nervously twiddled my thumbs.


He eyes were fixed ahead.


“Mom…” I paused for a moment. “How is she?”

My dad pressed his lips together, trying to think of the right words to say.

“She’s better than she was. The blood clot had traveled to her lungs. She’s fine now, but it was definitely a scare to us all. She could’ve died.”

I stared at my feet. She could’ve died…

I walked through my front door, hands filled with my luggage.


I hadn’t heard a more beautiful voice in my life.

I dropped my belongings and rushed to the living room, where I saw my mother sitting on our massive grey sofa.


She’d lost weight. A lot of weight.

She flashed a smile, one almost identical to mine.

I sat down beside her and wrapped my arms around her neck.

“I missed you.”