Stories of Kindness from Around the World

One Last Visit To The Beach, On Her Doorstep


--by tgerdy, posted Mar 26, 2010

I need to share a powerful and strangely wonderful event in my life that involves death and cancer.  I am certain you are struggling with the fact that  I am using the words wonderful, cancer and death in the same sentence.  I think that after you hear this story you will agree that in this case it is an appropriate combination of words.

A dear friend of mine was dying of cancer.  Shortly before she died she shared with me that she was very sad that she would never get to go to the beach again.  She grew up near the ocean and it was a special place for her.  The cancer had made her too weak to travel the 4-5 hours from her home to the ocean.  I shared this with several of her friends and we decided we had to do something about it.

On a Saturday afternoon in June, while her family kept her distracted and away from the windows, the plan unfolded.  We dumped three tons of white beach sand in her driveway.  After the sand was spread about, out came the two cabanas, beach balls, pails, shovels, boogie boards, beach chairs, a variety of decorations and a fire pit for the bonfire on the beach at night.  We even rented a sno-cone machine since it had gotten to the point where flavored ice was about all she was able to eat.  There were two CDs playing.  One was the sounds of waves breaking on the beach and the other alternated between The Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffett.

When all was in place, her daughter brought her out to her private beach where she was greeted by a few dozen friends dressed in flowered shirts.  She came out of the house with some new flip-flops and a beach bag (where else would a beach going cancer patient keep her morphine drip).  We shed a tear or two that day, but it was mostly filled with laughs, grins and most of all love.  The guest of honor was given a squirt gun and allowed to squirt anyone at will.  The day ended with a fire on her beach and s'mores for everyone. 

She died two weeks later but made it out to her beach four or five more times before she left us.  I guess the message of this story is that when someone is in need, we need to think out of the proverbial box for ways to help.  And the next time someone tries to sell you some oceanfront land in Kansas, you might just want to check it out.

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Readers Comments

Tracy wrote: Wow. That's just so beautiful! What wonderful friends and the depth of their love for her is just astounding. I hope that god forbid i ever get in that situation, i'll have people like that around me. Or, that if someone i love is going through something like this, i'll have the courage to be there for them. Lovely!
tgerdy wrote: Thank you jsmc10.
jsmc10 wrote: This a beautiful, touching story, bless you
Thaata wrote: Friends are the most caring of all. What a wonderful innovative way to make your friend fulfil her wishes. All of us should strive to bring some joy in the lives of those who are suffering (not necessarily from cancer).
Ollie wrote: Simply , beautiful.
Marianna Cacciatore wrote: This is one of the best stories i have ever read! Good friends like this are the best!
madhur wrote: Beautiful!

I can feel the emotions in the air on beach day!

Came to this website after sometime and happy to have done that, again :)
Mizzzim wrote: Amazing and heart-warming. Thank you for your wonderful actions. How creative and special.
Karen Cannon wrote: What a wonderful inspiring story! She was so fortunate to have such wonderful, caring friends. Thank you for sharing this story. My mother died of breast cancer when i was a freshman in high school. I wish we could have done something that would have made her as happy as you did for your friend. Wonderful!
AnonYMous1st wrote: Those of us who are "living with cancer" can relate to the wishes that come to mind. What a lovely thing to have done for your friend. I will remember this story a long time. Thank you.

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