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The Beach Ball

When I was a very young boy, maybe four or five years old, my parents and I went to the beach. I had a beach ball I loved to play with and it was blown into the ocean and began to drift away, offshore. My father, my young father, jumped into the water and started to swim into the ocean to bring it back to me.

I can remember feeling absolute panic, because I was afraid he wouldn’t return. He kept swimming and swimming into deeper water to get my beach ball and he got smaller and smaller the farther out he swam. I was admittedly not very tall, but it looked like he was going to disappear over the horizon. I couldn’t see him anymore.

He came back with my beach ball but all I cared about was him. He had come back to me.

My mother called me yesterday morning and said that she thought my Dad had died in his sleep. The paramedics were in the house. I grabbed the first plane and flew to be with my mother and family.

My father is alive, but barely.  He is in a medically induced coma and we can only wait. I don’t know if he is coming back this time.


  1. I have been in your shoes…sorry that you have to experience this too. Pray and pray some more.

  2. I was touched by beach ball story. Sending positive thoughts your way.

  3. A truly touching story. I can relate to the first part and am dreading the day I have to deal with the passing of one of my parents. I will have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. I can only imagine the stress you are going through now. My wishes to you and your family. We will still be here when you come back.

  5. you have my best wishes and heartfelt sympathy.

  6. Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts. I may be offline for a while. -Philip

  7. best of luck and take your time, we can wait

  8. Thinking of you and your family…sending positive thoughts your way.

  9. Treasure those memories, because life is short and fleeting. I hope he passes quickly and painlessly if that is his wish.

  10. My thoughts are with you.Your story was very powerful for me and brought back some strong memories. I’m going to call my folks tonight and tell them how much I love them.

  11. Best wishes and heartfelt sympathy Philip. Thinking of you.

  12. My Mom was on a respirator and chem induced coma for 10 weeks and recovered enough to have another year with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  13. my God bless you and shine his love upon you and your family, peace and comfort will follow.

  14. Philip, sending well wishes your way, and hoping for the best.

  15. we’re with you…

  16. Hold your memories to heart and support you mother. Hopeing for the best for you…

  17. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Philip

  18. Or prayers are with you and be sure to thank him for a son that has inspired many of us to build great memories with our sons enjoying all God has created for our enjoyment.

  19. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family

  20. Family comes first and we will be here when you come back.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  21. Been there…best wishes and support. dg

  22. I’ll be sending good thoughts your father’s way. Take care.

  23. Philip, thank you for sharing your beautiful memory. I am sorry. Prayers for time, strength, and comfort follow you on this journey.

  24. Oh, wow. Take care of yourself, and I hope that your dad’s OK.


  25. I’m sorry to hear this Philip. Best wishes to you and your family. Take all the time you need, we can wait.

  26. Thanks for sharing. Hope you all have more good times together.


  27. You and your family are in my prayers.

  28. My best wishes and prayers for you and your family.

  29. My best wishes and stay strong. As some one said above I dread that time in my life.

  30. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your dear father, and your dear mother, Philip.

    My family and I were about to board an international flight from JKF Int’l back to my Middle East duty station in the late 90s when we called my mother so that our young children could say goodbye. We had just spent precious family time with them in my home town during my leave period. With medics in the background, my mother informed us that my father had just died while resting in his recliner. Somehow, I got in touch with my chain of command to authorize emergency leave. We made speedy reconnections and turned around to be with my mother and to receive the rest of my family together.

    God speed, Philip.

  31. Godspeed to you and your mom Philip.

  32. You and your family are in my prayers!

  33. A sad time. Look after your mum. A brave face doesn’t always mean she’s coping.

  34. Jolly Green Giant


  35. I’m wishing you and your family the best. I was in a similar situation with my mom.

  36. I was touched by the beach ball story. It is a hard time you are going through; take care of each other. I wish you and your family strength to go through this difficult time.

  37. Good luck with your father Philip, I hope he makes it.

  38. That is a wonderful memory to keep with you. It will help you during the rest of your own journey, and when the time comes, I hope will make his passing a bit easier.

    Blessed be…

  39. Prayers for you and your family…your dad is on his own journey…he’ll travel where he’s intended to go…may he travel with love and goodness.

  40. What a lovely way to break this news. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  41. Safe travels and a prayer for you and your family. He will always come back to you in the memories that you have of him.

  42. I went through the same thing with both my mom and dad. They lived in Arizona and I lived in Virginia and then Louisiana when I got the calls. As you experience peace on the hiking trail, may God’s peace now strengthen and comfort you and your mom as you watch your dad continue his own journey along life’s trail. He and your mom have been blessed to have you for a son, Philip.

  43. Wow I am sorry to hear that Philip. Our prayers go out to you and your family.

  44. I lost my father to a heart attack (his last of many) when I was only 16, so I know what you must be going through. My prayers are with you and your family.

  45. Sending best wishes and prayers for your family.

  46. Odd that I find this on my lunch break today. It’s 22 years since my dad passed away. One of the big hurdles of the grief process is the loss of hope: for the unfulfilled aspirations in a relationship. Oddly, I’m closer to him now than I was pre-22 years ago.

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