Old Woman Waits by the Sea Daily for 11 Years, Sees a Ship One Day and Whispers, “He’s Back” – Story of the Day

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By Karabo Baloyi
Mar 17, 2022
10:00 P.M.

Patricia came to the shore every day for 11 years, waiting for her son to return to her. She met Karen, who developed a close friendship with her, and discovered the great reason why she came to the shore every day. 


When Karen was a child, she enjoyed coming to the beach with her mother. They would build sandcastles and search for the prettiest seashells they could find. After her father left when she was very young, Karen's mother focused all her energy on raising her. 

Even as she grew up and her mom grew too frail to walk to the beach, Karen still enjoyed coming to sit and read some books while listening to the waves. Karen also noticed that an old lady was at the beach every time she would go. She wondered why the old lady would sit in the same spot and stare ahead.

Patricia waited for her son at the beach every day for 11 years. | Source: Shutterstock


One day, she decided to walk up to her and get to know her a little better. "Hi, how are you? Are you okay?" she asked as she walked towards her. 

"Yes, I'm alright, dear; I see you decided to satisfy your curiosity today," the woman said and grinned. "I know you stare at me for some time when you come to the beach. Don't worry, I would stare at me too if I were you."

Karen blushed at the old lady's straightforward attitude. She introduced herself and told her where in the town she was from. "I'm Patricia," the old lady replied. "I have lived in this town my entire life."

"Honestly, I am interested in why you come here. Every time I visit this place, you're sitting in the same spot and staring out. Do you come here every day?" Karen asked.


Karen was sitting at the beach reading when she noticed Patricia sitting nearby. | Source: Shutterstock

"Yes, I come here every day to wait for my son," Patricia replied. "See, when I was around your age, I met an amazing man, and we got married. He was a sailor and would go exploring for months on end."


"That sounds like a life full of adventure." Karen smiled.

"Well, one day, he was preparing to leave for a sailing expedition, and I didn't want him to go. He promised me he would come back.  But he was shipwrecked, and he never came back."

Karen was saddened to hear her story, but she remained curious. "I'm sorry for your loss Patricia, but you said you're waiting here for your son?"

"I am. John grew up to be just like his father. I tried to steer him away from a life at sea, but he was so stubborn," Patricia said.

Patricia's husband loved sailing and traveled often. Source: Shutterstock


"He also wanted to sail?" Karen asked.

"Unfortunately, John wanted to complete the sailing expedition that his father took. Before he left, he asked me to wait for his ship right here. It would emit three beeps closer to the shore, and I would know it's him... But I received a letter 11 years ago telling me his ship sank and no one survived. I refuse to believe it."

"But what if he never comes back?" Karen asked. 

"Karen, I lost my husband to the sea; I refuse to believe that I've lost my son too," Patricia replied. 

Karen was shocked at Patricia's story. She didn't even realize they had been sitting by the shore for hours. She promised Patricia to be back tomorrow to keep her company. Patricia was happy to hear that and said that she looked forward to seeing her and getting to know her as well. 


Patricia's husband disappeared at sea when his ship sank. | Source: Shutterstock

Karen kept her promise and came to sit with Patricia every day. She worked as a baker at night, so she could join Patricia in the early afternoons after getting some sleep. She brought Patricia some of her cookies, and they shared tea. 


One day, while the ladies were sitting at the shore, they saw a ship approaching. This didn't pique their interest because several ships had sailed through over the months they were there.  But suddenly, they heard three beeps and sat at attention. Then the ship emitted the three beeps again. 

"Is that who I think it is?" Karen asked. 

"He's back! My son is back!" Patricia cried. 

The ladies stood impatiently until they saw John dock the ship and run towards them. Karen watched tearfully as the mother and son embraced. "Is it a lovely coincidence that you're at the beach today?" John asked his mother.


Patricia received the letter that her son's boat had sunk and there were no survivors, but she didn't believe it. | Source: Shutterstock

Patricia was still crying and couldn't speak yet. "She's been here every day for 11 years since she heard that your ship sank," Karen answered. 


"I'm sorry I barely saw you there," John replied and introduced himself. 

When Patricia finally calmed down, she explained to John that Karen had been spending every day of the last few months keeping her company while she waited for him. "That is so kind of you; thank you for caring for my mother," John said. 

"Where were you all these years?" Patricia asked. 

"When our ship sank, I fell and was washed away onto a tiny island unconscious. The local people discovered me as they were fishing, and they took me in. They helped me recover, but I had lost a lot of my memory. It took me years to remember where I was from, who my family was, and the promise I made to you," John said. "I set sail as soon as I gained all my memories back."


Patricia was delighted to have John back after he was shipwrecked 11 years earlier. | Source: Shutterstock

"You could have flown home," Patricia said. 

 "I could have returned by plane, but I promised that I would come to you and you would hear the three beeps of my ship," her son said, smiling at his mother and trapping her in a tight embrace.


All three of them walked back to Patricia's house and spent hours listening to John talk about his life on the island. And over the next few months, Karen and John grew close and fell in love. The wedding took place on the beach, and they soon started a family. 

What can we learn from this story?

  • True love can be found in unexpected places. Karen was kind to Patricia when she spent all those days with her at the beach, but she unexpectedly fell in love with John when he returned home. 
  • Family love can drive us more than we know. John could have given up after he was shipwrecked, but he knew that he promised his mother to be back, which prompted him to return home.

Please share this story with your friends; it might inspire people to share their own stories or help someone else. 

If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a woman who waited for her son to visit her, but he only came 20 years later.

This account is inspired by our reader's story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you want to share your story, please send it to