Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The hardest wedding vow to say: "Til death do us part"

The basic, traditional wedding vows go along
these lines:

"I [name] take [name]
To be my husband/wife
To have and to hold
For better or worse
For richer or poorer
In sickness and in health
To love and to cherish
From this day forward
'Til death do us part"

'Til death do us part

Wow, do I ever know the full impact of those words.

With my and Sarah's wedding days away, I have thought about those words, and the last time I said them, and how they came back to haunt me after Aimee's death.

'Til death do us part.

We always think that'll be in some far-off future, after kids are raised, and retirement, and a long life full of all the other stuff we say in those vows, such as richer and sickness and so on. We think death comes to us at some point when we'll be more ready for it, or when we sort of expect it (if there is ever such a time for either). In other words, we think we'll have a lifetime together.

Not five and a half short years.

'Til death do us part.

One of the characteristics I approached my first marriage with will be a mainstay of my second one as well: no regrets. I will live life as fully as I can while meeting my responsibilities. I will tell my family I love them, and get over myself enough to share how I'm feeling. I will laugh, I will love, I will live. I will kiss Sarah good-bye and I will kiss her goodnight. I will do the same with Rowan.

And I will do these things...
'Til death do us part.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Letting go of being mommy

I was daddy. Opposite me was mommy. We did this together.

Then mommy died. I was utterly lost. I knew how to be daddy, but I didn't know how to be mommy too.

And I had a three year old girl who wanted a mommy. Her mommy.

I couldn't give her her mommy.

So I tried to learn to be both mommy and daddy.

I did hair (badly). I bought clothes (better). I listened. I empathized. I held her.

I learned.

And I also still played tackle with her, tickled her, and threw her up in the air and caught her.

And the Mother's Days came and went and the Father's Days came and they went and I celebrated them both with my daughter.

Because I WAS both.

I'm reminded of a time, a bedtime, when Rowan was particularly sad. I tried to comfort her, but wasn't getting very far. Then I remembered how Aimee used to comfort Rowan, and so I asked Rowan, "would you like me to rock you in the rocking chair?" Her face lit up as she crawled into my lap. She rested her head on my chest, and relaxed into me as I gently stroked her hair, kissing her gently on the top of her head. When I placed her back into her bed a few minutes later, she was already asleep.

I pulled the covers up, and kissed her one last time on her head. Although asleep, she smiled a big smile of a child who's loved and secure.

I knew I was mom to her in that moment.

And then...

A new woman came into our lives. Shyly at first. Slowly to be sure.

But now there is love for her and love from her, and soon she will be a formal part of our family.

She will become... mommy. Rowan has already begun to start seeing her as such.

But...

A part of me is sad to let go of being mommy. I took such intense pride in doing both and doing them well. On picture days when my daughter looked amazing, I felt like a good 'mom'. When advising her on managing relationships with her friends, I felt like a good 'mom'. And when bringing baked goods for her class events or fundraisers, I felt like a good 'mom' (and a bad cook).

Consoling her late at night while she cried big tears, missing her mommy, I felt inadequate. But we can't ever win them all.

I have been daddy and mommy. But if my daughter is to have a MOMMY mommy again, I have to let this new part of our family BE mommy.

I have to let go of being mommy.

It's not easy. I want to hold on to keep close to all I have taken on. I proved I could do it, and now I don't want to stop.

But I must. For my daughter. For her new mommy. I have to let go. Well, maybe mostly let go.

I have to let go of being mommy.

I will be daddy. Opposite me will be a mommy again. We'll do this together.


PS. To be clear, the stuff I described as 'mom' stuff can and often is just as much within a dad's role. Dads can cuddle and soothe and bake, and they should do those things. It just happened in my and Aimee's life that we each took on fairly stereotypical gender roles, so the stuff I mentioned as 'mom' stuff had been the types of things Aimee had done for and with Rowan prior to her death. We have definitely made efforts to raise Rowan with the notion that most activities don't 'belong' to a specific gender.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My daughter's landmines

Today I got a call from Rowan's school. That is, to put it mildly, NOT normal.

Apparently, they were preparing to begin work on their annual Mothers Day project, an occasion that has, in the past, caused no difficulty for Rowan. The last two Mothers Days, she's simply made the present and given it to me instead. But this morning was different.

When her teacher called me, she recounted that as she was talking to the class about this year's project, Rowan began to get upset, and was crying by the end. When Mrs. Adams pulled her aside to ask her what was wrong, Rowan stated that she really wanted to give her present to her mommy (Aimee).

Her teacher handled it beautifully, as always. She let Rowan express her feelings, gave Rowan some options to consider, and helped her feel better. Then she called me to let me know.

Rowan will decide if she wants to give the present to me like the last couple of years, or to give it to Sarah since we'll be getting married soon. Or she might give it to her grandma Donna (Aimee's mother). Or she might keep it herself as another reminder of her mommy, and her love for her.

Personally, I don't any preference at all for which one she chooses. I trust she'll do what feels most comforting to her in this moment. And I'm grateful for the people that Rowan has around her to help her through these moments.

These landmines.

You see, I KNOW there will be more of these. As she grows and matures and develops, things that never bothered her before will begin to. Thoughts about her mother's death that never occurred to her before will. Some of them will make her sad. Some will make her angry.

And many of them will be unexpected.

Landmines.

This is the life Rowan faces, thanks to those who were responsible for her mother's death. A life of landmine events and holidays and conversations. The sudden longings for her mother at major life events.

No matter what I wish, there's no way to fix that. It's just part of her life and what she'll go through.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dear Aimee, Happy Anniversary. I'm getting married again.

Dear Aimee,
Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart. Today would have been our eighth, and I have no doubt that the last two and a half years would have been as wonderful as the first five and half were.

If only we could have had the chance to find out.

Rowan is amazing, by the way. I mean, wow. The kid just turned SIX. Can you believe that? But what blows me away is how smart, funny, compassionate, and sweet she is. You know, just like you were. If I was going to have to be a single dad of a child, you could not possibly have left me with a better one. :)

But I guess I'm stalling here. Let me get to the real reason I wrote this letter to you.

I'm getting remarried.

I suppose if you really can see us down here from the glorious heaven above (and I hope for all of our sake that you can't), you already knew that. Sarah and I have been engaged for more than six months now, and the wedding planning began almost as long ago. But with the wedding being now less than two months away, and with today being your and my anniversary, I thought it fitting to tell you now.

I know this is what you wanted. I remember you and I talking about this once, and you making it clear you would want me to get remarried. Maybe you knew Rowan would really want a mom (she does). Maybe you you were aware of how much more work it is to run a household and raise a child on your own. Or maybe you were realistic about how long I'd really be able to last on my own as a single parent. :)  Either way, I recall you being very firm in your belief that if anything ever happened to you, that you wanted me to remarry.

Well, now that time is upon us. And Aimee, I really hope you would have approved of her, especially as she is going to have a huge influence on your daughter.

I think I've done well, choosing Sarah to join our family. First and foremost, she really loves both Rowan and me. And she has in common with you a strong faith in God, a deep desire to care for those she loves, and a healthy dose of patience (which anyone around me needs). Also like you, she is a strong woman, not easily bowled over by life's trials or my Type A episodes.

I'd like to think that the two of you would have truly liked each other, had you had the chance to know each other in this life. And so it is my sincere hope that if you are watching, if you can see us, that you know that Rowan and I both simultaneously miss you every day, but are also happy. And I hope that we would have your blessing on the upcoming marriage and life together. Because since the day you died, I have lived a great deal of my life by the standard of wanting you to be proud of what I've done and the decisions I've made, especially the ones that affect Rowan.

May this decision fall among the ones you would have approved of.

With deepest love and affection on our anniversary,
-Patrick

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The year of huge changes

It's been a huge year.

Around this time last year, I went to Florida for a deposition in the civil case around Aimee's death. By now, that case is closed.

Sarah and I were dating, but had been together for less than six months. As of today, we closed on a house we're buying together, and our wedding is a little more than nine weeks away.

Speaking of houses, my house looks very different. New driveway and walkways and a new exterior paint job have completely changed the appearance of the house, and a new fence and deck are being planned. By this summer, I hope to have the house run by a property management company who'll rent it out for me.

It's the house that Aimee and I bought together, and Rowan and I won't be living there anymore.
Keys - to a house, to a marriage,
to a life

Speaking of Rowan, she's coming up on the end of her Kindergarten year. She's lost a bunch of teeth, all of them within the last year. And she's gone through and processed a lot of life's upcoming changes in her own amazing way (possibly a topic for another blog post).

But not everything has changed. Aimee's mother Donna has been an absolute rock star. She's gone above and beyond to help me with Rowan. She has embraced my relationship with Sarah, despite how difficult it is for her to see me with someone other than her daughter. And she has continued to help Rowan learn a little more about her mommy each time they see each other, which is pretty frequent.

Yes, a lot has changed in the last year, and more changes are coming soon.

But some things have not changed. Some things will never change.

I miss Aimee. I feel it more strongly at some times than at others, but it's always there. Time hasn't changed it. Falling in love with Sarah hasn't changed it. I doubt anything will change it.

And the process of planning a wedding and more importantly, a marriage, have me reflecting a great deal on doing this exact same thing a mere eight years ago.

It seems like so much longer ago, a lifetime in fact. It was a life in which I'd never been married before. A life in which I didn't have any children to worry about. A life which didn't know what it was like to have someone walk through the front door and tell you your wife just suddenly, tragically died, while your three year old daughter gripped the back of your leg.

A completely different life from the one I have now. I'm living a much different life than the one I was leading eight years ago. And I am a much different person in many ways than I was eight years ago.

I am happy, for the most part. Rowan is doing so well, it's just amazing. Sarah and I are working very hard at creating a foundation for a wonderful marriage. But always in the background (and sometimes right in front), is Aimee and her death, and the undeniable impact that has on our lives.

Yes, it's been a huge year with a great many changes. But it feels like I've been through huge changes before, yes?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Does everything happen for a reason?

Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NKJV)

I remember as a preteen having a conversation with my mom about religion, and she brought up this verse. I don't recall the context, but I remember being struck by the hope it seemed to offer.

All things work together for good.

This became my "life verse", a phrase known to many within the Christian faith - a particular verse by which people live their lives, or find their hope, or which somehow plays a significant role. For me, a child with an abusive, alcoholic father, this verse offered me the promise that things would work out for good.

And they did work out for good, for the most part. I managed to grow up to be a mostly emotionally healthy human being, free of most of my father's nasty baggage. I found success where he swore I never would, graduated from college, and made a great life for myself. I did not do this on my own, by any stretch of the imagination, for I had many people on my side and supporting me. But I'm sure they were all part of God's plan to make sure things worked out for good.

Then Aimee died.

This image came off the Facebook
page for The Breast Cancer Site,
literally during the same time I
was writing this post
In the aftermath, I grabbed onto the same hope I always had, that somehow, some way, possibly in a place and time I would never see in this life, this would work out for good.

Now I know not everyone believes as I do. But even many of those who do not subscribe to a particular faith still seem to have a need for this hope. For those who do not consider themselves religious, they might reference this hope by another phrase:

"Everything happens for a reason."

In either case, these words offer us a hope that when something horrible happens to us or a loved one, that there will be a redemption of some sort. That even if wrongs are not made right in this life, or if justice is not truly served here on earth, that somehow whatever happened will work towards some type of positive outcome.

But is that really true? Does everything actually happen for a reason? Does everything work together for good?

I met someone fantastic almost a year after Aimee died, and we're getting married in a few months. But just because things are going well isn't the same as 'all things working out for good'. The fact that I'm marrying a great woman is wonderful, but it doesn't take away my or Rowan's pain from Aimee's death. We will deal with this loss for the rest of our lives. So while you can say we're making the best of our lives - and I'm sure as hell trying to do just that - I'm not sure at this point I can say that it's all worked out for good. Or at least not for more good than what we had before, that's for certain.

Of course, we don't know what might have been if Aimee hadn't died. We don't know what the other road would have looked like. It may be that in fact, her dying on that boat was 'for the good'. It may be that the alternative, maybe cancer, maybe something somehow worse, would have been much harder on all of us, including Aimee.

I guess that's where faith comes in. Whether that faith is in God or karma or whatever, I think we all need that hope that when bad things happen, especially senseless bad things, that somehow the end result is going to be a good one.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hearing Aimee's voice the other night

So, Justin (Aimee's brother) saved a series of voice mails from Aimee from the last month or so before she died, and finally recorded them all into one recording and sent them to Donna, who forwarded them on to me. After sitting on that email for a few days, I listened to them a few nights ago. Rowan heard I had a recording of mommy's voice, and asked to listen to them and so we sat and did so together.

It was so weird to hear her voice so normal and, well, HER. Rowan commented that hearing them made her feel like Aimee wasn't dead, but actually was just somewhere else, like at the store or something. I knew what she meant, because that's kind of how I felt too, like Aimee was just away from the house running a few errands.


The voice mails were bittersweet in another way as well. It's sometimes easy for me to forget in the shock and horror of Aimee's death that her family was still very much grieving her father's death the year before. Aimee was especially struggling with grief as the one year anniversary of his death approached (for those who weren't aware, that's actually why we were in Florida in the first place). In the very last voice mail she left Justin, just two days before we left for Florida, she talks about how she'd been slow to call him back because she'd been in am "emotional hole", and hadn't wanted to drag him down.

I'm so glad that the last six days we all had together were filled with so much fun and laughter. Since Aimee had been so sad, it's somewhat of a relief to think that during her last week alive, she was filled with the happiness of being surrounded by those she loved and who loved her. And when I want to hear that, I can watch the video footage we took that week and see and hear how she looked and sounded then.

Talk about bittersweet.

PS: There was bonus material in the recording Justin sent out: In one of the calls Aimee gets Rowan to talk to Justin, and it was really cool and sweet to hear Rowan's 3 year-old voice again. It was right before Halloween, and they were getting ready to carve pumpkins, and Rowan was very excited. So precious and cute. She still is precious and cute, but it's amazing how much kids change so quickly in these early years.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Part 3: What I'd like to see for the future

So, now we know how Aimee died, and who was responsible. Now, what would I wish for in regards to the future, as a result of all of this?

Assuming I couldn't undo what's been done and bring Aimee back to life, there are three big things I wish I could make happen in the aftermath of Aimee's death:

I took this photo on my and Aimee's
honeymoon, ironically, off the
coast of Florida. Aimee's own sun set
there five and a half years later
  1. All scuba dive shops in the U.S. would be required to carry insurance. Seriously, at least in Florida, they aren't. Key Largo Scuba Shack had no insurance, so after Aimee died and the owners decided to stay in another country, there was no way we could go after them to compensate us for the tremendous loss we'd suffered (Aimee's income, a myriad of increased expenses, not to mention the huge emotional toll). I think it's criminal - literally - that businesses can operate in an industry that contains a great deal of personal risk (especially when not done correctly), and not be required to carry insurance.
  2. Any vessel that took passengers out onto the ocean commercially would be required to pass annual Coast Guard inspections, even if they only took out a few people. That may be unrealistic, but it's horrible that a business can sidestep the rules to put innocent people at risk on a boat as bad as the Get Wet. Even if a boat is going to be used as a "6 pack" (six or fewer passengers), it should be required to at least once pass a Coast Guard inspection before it can be used commercially. Or maybe once every five years. 
  3. Jones and Gracey would be brought back to the U.S. to face whatever legal consequences there might be as a result of their horrific management of Key Largo Scuba Shack. They knowingly and willfully cut corners in ways that made their operation unsafe for their passengers AND crew. They put people's well-being at risk, and as a result killed one person and nearly killed another. They ought to face the consequences of their actions.*

Of these three, they're all either long shots or practically impossible. But that doesn't mean some how, in some way, I won't try. Aimee's story, and her legacy, are from over, I'll tell you that.

Part 1: Here's what really happened on December 18, 2011
Part 2: Who was involved in Aimee's death, and how

________________________________________________

*A note on why #3 isn't going to happen: Apparently, countries almost never extradite their own citizens to other countries to face charges. Among those is the U.K., where Jones and Gracey are from. From what I was told by someone in the Florida Attorney General's office, countries that are part of the British Commonwealth of nations will typically never arrest and extradite British citizens to countries that are not part of that Commonwealth, and from the last I heard these two are living in the British Virgin Islands or some such similar place. In other words, they're probably never going to face the music for what they did.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2 year anniversary, and words that brought me to tears

Today marks the two year anniversary of Aimee's death. While I had planned on posting Part 3 of the series I wrote on Aimee's death, I'm going to postpone that until tomorrow.

Instead, I am going to share with you these words, written last night by a friend of mine (and Aimee's), and one of the first things I saw this morning. If you read only part of this, read the third paragraph (in italics). It's so beautiful, and so dead-on, it brought me to tears.


From Kristi:


"Two years ago tomorrow as I was getting ready to head to St. Joseph's Hospital for my 10th surgery of this humbling medical journey [blood disorder], I learned of the passing of my dear friend, Aimee. 


Filled with grief, when the Chaplain came in to pray for my surgery, we instead spent the time praying for Aimee and her family, especially her husband (also a dear friend) and daughter. Goosebumps resulted when I thought of how Aimee would have also been full of the same comforting words, much like the Chaplain's. Her joyful spirit and sweet smile often gave all of those she knew a wonderful sense of peace. I felt her with me that day and knew the surgery would be complication free.

It's the last operation I had and although the recovery was a long road, and this wacky blood of mine continues to humble me and to teach me my limits, it also has provided me with a renewed commitment to embrace each day as a gift. I now live life for today, with a much more open heart and a tender forgiving spirit, trying to learn, to love, and to journey down the path that God is constantly revealing. I take more risks now. I attempt things I wouldn't have dreamed of two years ago. In the blink of an eye, after all, inexplicable tragedies or a medical issue or unexpected news, can quickly change everything.

So on this day, a day not promised that also marks the two year anniversary of her passing, do what Aimee would have done. Provide comforting words to a friend. Be a joyful spirit to someone who is hurting. Offer a genuine smile to a stranger. Buy someone a cup of coffee. And never stop trying to find peace, both in your own heart and through the friends and family in your circle. In these small ways and more, we can honor an amazing wife, daughter, sister, mother, and friend.
God bless you and keep you, precious Aimee. Thank you for the beautiful lessons you taught us while you were on this Earth. And thank you for the peace you provide as you watch over all of us from heaven."



Thank you, Kristi, for amazing and beautiful about an amazing and beautiful woman.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Part 2 - Who was involved in Aimee's death, and how

When we lose someone tragically or unexpectedly, it's natural to want to know the answer to one simple question:

Whose fault is this?

In  the case of Aimee, her death was the result of a series of actions, inactions, and decisions, where any single one of them being different probably means that Aimee doesn't die on that boat.

Here are the people who I feel are responsible for Aimee's death, and why or how. Except for the last one, which is the party I hold most responsible, these are not necessarily in a particular order:

Who: The boat captain, John (yes, I am intentionally leaving out most people's last names).
Why: John was about 19 years old at the time of the accident, and seems to me probably wasn't terribly experienced. Which may be why he seemed to think that instead of getting people OFF of a sinking ship, he thought to have them move further up into the cabin, under the hard top, to try and bring the front of the boat down to counterbalance the sinking back end. From all accounts, there's no way in hell that boat had a chance to get back to port, and he should have known that and gotten people off the boat. He didn't do that.

Who: Kara, the dive master.
Why: While the boat began taking on water at a dangerous rate, she stood by and waited for the boat captain to do something (I got this directly from her own statements during one of her depositions). She was older (albeit not by a lot) and had more boating experience, and I don't think it would have been unreasonable for her to make decisions to protect the safety of her students. But that's not the only thing I think makes her partially responsible for Aimee's death.

When the boat capsized and people got to the surface, it was clear two people were missing. The ones who'd gotten out were able to grab the raft floating in the water, and another boat was nearby and approaching to rescue them. The boat captain grabbed scuba gear and went after the missing people. Why didn't Kara? The two people missing were both HER beginning students, and she was a licensed and experienced dive master. Why the hell did she not try to help rescue both people? If she'd gone down in the water with John, they might have gotten them BOTH up in time to save them.

Who: PADI (http://www.padi.com/scuba/), which stands for Professional Association of Diving Instructors. Why: They are an organization that trains and licenses scuba instructors, and they allow dive shops to post their logo and propaganda to lend them a sense of legitimacy. In fact, my lawyer showed me some literature that indicated that PADI does some sort of "quality inspection" of a dive shop as part of the certification process. Well, maybe they do, but apparently they're not especially thorough. The boat they inspected wasn't the one Key Largo Scuba Shack actually used, and PADI had no idea. Didn't PADI check to see if this was the only boat KLSS owned and planned to use? They also had no idea that the boat Key Largo Scuba Shack WAS using was a piece of crap, repeatedly breaking down and having to be towed in. Yet they were content to list KLSS on their site as an implied endorsement. Sadly, that's exactly how Aimee ended up on that boat. Her brother and sister-in-law had done some diving, and found Key Largo Scuba Shack on the PADI web site. Assuming that meant it was a reputable dive shop, they went diving with them that week, and suggested it to Aimee as well.

Who: Mike & Judy S.
Why: There was some dispute about their role in the management or ownership of the Key Largo Scuba Shack. I recall seeing a news report that listed Mike as the manager. I heard they were minority owners. They claimed that they held no ownership, but had simply loaned the primary owners money. Regardless their official role, it seems clear they were involved in a hands-on way, which means they could have had some say in the maintenance and care of the boat and other equipment. At the very least, I feel they had a moral obligation to intervene if the boat was unsafe and they knew it.

Who: The U.S. Coast Guard.
Why: In a way, it is quite unfair to list them here. They conducted a thorough investigation, as best as I can tell. And leading up to the events of December 18, they did what they were bound to do.

So why are they on this list?

Vessels used to carry passengers commercially, or at least dive boats in Florida, are subject to annual Coast Guard inspection. However, there are too many boats, and not nearly enough resources for the Coast Guard to inspect them all, so an exception is made for "6-packs" - boats that carry six or fewer passengers. This leads us to the sad history of the Get Wet (the boat Aimee died in). It was large enough to carry more a larger load of passengers; however, since it had apparently failed a number of Coast Guard inspections, KLSS decided to reclassify it as a 6-pack to avoid any further inspections.

Still, the boat was so bad that it broke down multiple times, and had to be towed in. The owners were supposed to file reports of this to the Coast Guard, but apparently never did. Again, not the Coast Guard's fault, but they also have nothing in place to monitor these types of incidents and follow up, which then puts the lives of innocent people like Aimee at risk.

I maintain that it should be enforceable policy that if a boat fails a Coast Guard inspection, it can't be used (at least not commercially) until it does.

All of this leads us to...

Who: Last but not least, Chris Jones and Alison Gracey. Yes, THEY get their last names used.
The Key Largo Scuba Shack logo,
taken from their Facebook page
Why: These two are the primary owners of what was once Key Largo Scuba Shack. These pieces of garbage were in the Bahamas opening a new Scuba Shack branch when Aimee was killed, and as British citizens, decided they'd be better off staying there and not returning to the U.S. to face what had happened.

And why wouldn't they want to?

Because, my good friends, they are the ones most directly responsible for Aimee being dead. And they know it.

They took shortcuts on the care and maintenance of the boat, which is why it was in such bad shape (hatches not fastened or properly sealed). The life jackets were nowhere to be seen. And the fire extinguisher had expired more than a year earlier. Every time that boat went out, they jeopardized people's lives, and they didn't give a shit.
From the Facebook page of Key Largo Scuba Shack on
December 8, 2011. It was the last post they made on  their page

As I already mentioned, the boat had broken down multiple times, yet they patched it up (as opposed to really fixing the boat's problems) and kept sending it out, and they failed to report these incidents to the Coast Guard. The huge hatch/storage bench wasn't properly sealed to keep water out of the hull, or fastened to the deck to keep it from coming loose. Which is why the boat sank, and when it did, that huge box broke loose and pinned Aimee to the window, trapping her in the boat and causing her to drown.

In summary, there were a number of "critical elements", of which if any single one of them had been different, Aimee likely wouldn't have died:

  • Coast Guard inspected the boat and refused to allow it to be used any ANY commercial use until it passed
  • Chris Jones and Alison Gracey had taken proper care of the boat, particularly making sure all hatches were sealed and secured
  • Mike and Judy had intervened and either taken care of the boat or notified the Coast Guard of the boat's problems or breakdowns
  • PADI had been less concerned with making money off of sales of their materials and classes and more concerned with making sure that the dive shops they implicitly endorsed were in fact reputable
  • John hadn't had his passengers move up to the front under the hard top, but instead moved them near the back and had them put on life preservers
  • Kara had intervened and had passengers do the above when John did not
  • Kara had ensured the other passengers were above water and about to be rescued, then grabbed some scuba gear and joined John in the rescue efforts of the two missing people

Next: Part 3 - What I wish for the outcome of all of this
ICYMI: Part 1: Here's what happened on December 18, 2011