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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. Sending best wishes and prayers for your family.

  7. 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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