Friday, September 14, 2012

Journey to Tragedy

I don't know why, but over the last couple of months I've thought a lot about the series of events that ultimately led to Aimee's death. I don't mean just the decision to go scuba diving that day and the series of things that happened on the boat, I mean over the course of months or even longer. Many of those events have no direct bearing on Aimee's actual death, yet they all led to it. Here's what I mean.

May, 2006: Aimee and I are on our honeymoon, a Caribbean cruise. Among the stops and excursions we enjoy, one of the offerings is your choice of a snorkeling outing or scuba diving. Aimee tells me she'd love to go scuba diving, but the cost is pretty high, and the location doesn't seem to offer much, so we both opt for the snorkeling instead (I would have picked that anyway, as I had no desire to go scuba diving at that point).

November 2010: Donna's father Don dies. She inherits, among many other things, his car. She doesn't need it or want it, and both my and Aimee's cars were getting up there in miles, so she gives it to us.

December 19, 2010: Aimee's father Terry dies after a battle with cancer. Although he'd lived most of his life in Indiana, we had moved him and Donna close to us during the last few months of his life so that Aimee could be a better support to them during this time.

Spring, 2011: Conversations begin between Aimee, Donna, and Justin about how to recognize the anniversary of Terry's death when it comes around in December 2011. If I remember correctly, Florida is offered as an option because the family had vacationed there during Aimee's childhood, and it held good memories for them. It was also a place Terry had enjoyed visiting. And most importantly, it wasn't here, as the family had decided the last place they wanted to be on that sad anniversary was in the town where he passed away.

July 2011: After a long battle of finding documents and filling out paperwork, the car inherited from Aimee's grandfather is finally in our ownership. We decide to keep Aimee's car and sell mine. The timing means that I can use the proceeds from the sale of my car to purchase plane tickets for us to go to Florida in December, which I do soon after the car is sold.

Summer 2011: A vacation house in the Florida Keys is selected as the place where we'll stay during our time there. Divided amongst the three households, the cost is relatively affordable for the eight day stay. Excitement about the trip begins to build.
Aimee on a date night the night
before we left for Florida. When
I took this, I had no idea she'd
be dead eight days later.

December 11, 2011: Late in the evening, Aimee, Rowan, and I arrive at Donna's house to pick her up to go to the airport for our red-eye flight to Miami. Not surprisingly, Donna is not ready. What is surprising is that Aimee and I completely switched our typical roles, with me patiently helping her finish packing while Aimee fumed. It was surreal, until you realized that Aimee was hungry and she didn't do especially well when she hadn't eaten.

December 12, 2011: We arrive in Miami, tired as hell but otherwise none the worse for the wear. After breakfast at IHOP we begin the drive down to the Keys. Everyone falls asleep except me (I was driving). We spend part of the time listening to the CD I had bought Aimee as an early Christmas present, Adele's "21". The songs on this CD are now forever linked to this trip.

Throughout this week, Justin and Caroline go scuba diving several times, including on Saturday, December 17. Aimee discusses her desire to go, and they encourage her to consider giving it a try. She and I also discuss it, with me also encouraging her. Additionally, we talk about me also going, since I'd somewhat warmed up to the idea after five and half years. However, I hadn't gotten to the point of really wanting to go, and then there was the matter of cost, so we remained undecided, ultimately, until the morning of December 18.

December 18, 2011: If you want a full account of this day, as seen from my point of view, you can read this post. Let me just say here that I decided to stay with Rowan while Aimee went diving, and that probably was the one saving grace in that horrible day.

She died at roughly 3:15 in the afternoon.

So many events and details, seemingly unrelated, but which all in one way or another were part of the road to the tragedy we experienced on December 18. Like I said at the beginning: I don't know why this has been on my mind, but it has.

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