The Beach Trip

The Beach Trip

From Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul

The Beach Trip

It wasn’t a typical trip to Carolina Beach. Oh, I had the cooler, beach chair and towel, but it still wasn’t the same. I wasn’t going to the beach to relax—I was going to remember my son, Cameron, who died of leukemia in March 1998. You see, on this day Cameron would have turned twenty-one.

I decided to go to a favorite part of Carolina Beach—the one within walking distance of a McDonald’s (in case you get bored of the beach and want some fries).

Now, it’s typical that little kids are drawn to me. Maybe it’s the fact that I smile at them, maybe it’s the fries, but it does happen. So I was not surprised to have one small child covering my feet with sand and another playing with his toys right by my beach chair. Their parents were seated behind me, and the two boys spent about an hour running back and forth from my chair to their parents’.

“What’s your name?” I asked the oldest.

“Alex. I’m five.”

“Oh, I have a son named Alex. He’s twelve.”

He continued covering my feet with sand until his parents walked by on their way to the water’s edge.

“I’m going in with my parents.”


“My little brother HATES the water—he doesn’t go in ever.”

“That’s okay. I’ll watch him while you go into the ocean with your mom and dad.”

The smallest boy, about one-and-a-half, watched his brother run off, turned to me and reached up. Of course I picked him up, sat him on my lap and offered him some fries. We waved to the family down in the water, ate chips and just chilled out.

Suddenly, he slipped off my lap, took my hand and pulled me toward the water. I walked him to the edge, and he giggled when the water lapped over his feet. When a bigger wave came and hit his legs even harder, he started laughing. I scooped him up, swung him around, put him on my hip and walked over to his mom and dad.

“What a cutie he is,” I said.

“Oh, he’s very afraid of the water. I can’t believe he’s in the water at all.”

I told them that he had taken my hand and pulled me in. “I told your son Alex that I have a son named Alex at home. Your little one is so cute. What’s his name?”


And my heart stopped. I looked into that little boy’s eyes, and he looked right back and touched my face.

Thank you, Cameron.

Dawn Holt

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