Change the Channel – Grief Rebutted: Part 1

IMGP0048Grief Rebutted                            Part 1

Romans 13: 8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another…………….

The Sunday night before the morning that Lindsey died was the sweetest night of our love story. Not simply because it’s the last night of our marriage but because of the things I said to her and her response to them.

I can remember that whole day. I have re-lived as many moments from it as our fragile human memory will allow……..

So let me digress a bit and tell you about the weekend and the friday before it first……

We had been going like gang busters since landing on the island 8 days before. One of our goals since we got married the first time on June 23 in the front yard of my family homestead was to spend a whole weekend in bed. That Saturday and Sunday we did that for the most part and just hung around the resort we were staying. A more blissful time between us was never more realized than on those two days.

The friday afternoon when Lindsey earned her open water certification we were so excited. The first dive of the day began a little bit inauspiciously. Lindsey came up and I could tell she was apprehensive. We had been doing drills and diving from the beach with Jorge the days before while she was training. I joined them too as a re-fresher and to experience what diving was about again thru her eyes. She was so in love with the ocean.

Lindsey was a naturally gifted diver, by the time she finished that first tank from the beach you could tell she was relaxed and smooth in the water. Much better than my first dives. Even though I was never scared I am just not a natural like she was.
But the first open water dive is an Eye _ Opener. The ocean is the same but the scale can seem so different. So vast. So alien.

Cozumel dives have a rhythm. You get to the small dive boats while the island is still sleeping. The morning air and the soft colors refresh you. The smells of the bakeries are everywhere. The streets are still free of noisy traffic and the birds can easily be heard greeting the morning. The day is full of possibilities, unexpected wonders and anticipation. I know that even now the Centa Gas propane delivery trucks are making their way thru the city and the loudspeaker on them announcing: Centa,Centa,Centa Gas. Centa,Centa,Centa Gas. That jingle everytime it played Lindsey would sing along with like a little girl and we would laugh.

The first dive of any dive day is usually deeper and more challenging. The dive plan is Always discussed and agreed to. On the boat with us that day was another dive master as well, Jorge was Always the dive master in charge of a new student (Lindsey) getting her open water certification dives completed. The second dive master was in charge of the other divers on the boat with us that day.

When the first dive is over, divers in Cozumel do one of 2 things. During the interval of time needed to clear excess nitrogen from their bodies, in order to enter the water for the second and usually final dive of that dive day, they either head in the boat to another reef during this interval (usually at least an hour) and have a lite lunch on the trip; or they do what we did and head for one of the many beaches and get out and stretch their legs and have a lite lunch there and just talk, talk, talk about all the things they just encountered on that first dive of the morning.

Lindsey was pretty quiet when she came up from her first dive. It was a little cool too that morning so I held her close to me on the boat as it headed to the beach. She got out without saying much to me which I found odd to say the least. She was one of the first out of the boat and made her way on to the beach. I grabbed us some fresh fruit and made my way to her a couple minutes later. When I got to her she was shut down and I pressed her to tell me what was going on.

“I was so anxious on the dive and I did not feel comfortable at all. I wonder if I want to do this anymore?” I looked into her eyes and she into mine. I listened and could tell she was shaken and said, “Lindsey what you just experienced is pretty typical of a first open water experience. I tell you what, give me an Honest second dive and if you don’t Love it we Never have to do it again, I promise.”

She also said to me, “and I don’t like them boys taking off my tank while I’m in the water. I want to climb the ladder with my gear on just like you guys.”

I said, ‘Lindsey, I Believe you can climb into the boat like us boys but sometimes even I let them take my gear while I’m still in the water if the current is strong during the dive and I am a bit tired out. If that happens to you, just know that every guy on this boat Wants to help out a beautiful girl. It makes them feel good!’

Then I said to her what we Always said to each other when one of us got overwrought emotionally or angry at a situation or depressed etc, I said: ‘Change The Channel.’

Life comes at us from all directions sometimes. Usually One of us was more sane than the other whenever a challenge arose; and either of us at need would say: “Change The Channel.” It’s something I came up with actually to help her deal with waves of emotion that had caused her so much trauma in the past. But you know I think in the end she said it to me more than I ever had to say it to her, because I can get bent out of shape too about life’s unexpected challenges.

I chuckled at her a bit. She was just so damn cute when she was a bit riled up. She had gone from being a scared and anxious girl to a fierce woman in a matter of a few seconds. She had “changed the channel” and was ready to press into the next dive and overcome her anxiety.

We finished our lunch and her mood was completely different. She just wanted to be heard. Even though initially she had shut down, she really wanted to know I was never going to press her, that we were Together in this adventure. I loved the open-ness of those few minutes and she knew I meant what I had said. She wanted now to face her apprehension head on and kick it down the road.
We cuddled and began discussing the next dive and shared laughter and grins and we were back to being engaged in the present once again.

When we surfaced after our second dive, Lindsey handed her fins to Jorge and then climbed into that boat like she owned it. She still had her weights, BCD and tank on her back. She was beaming and the first thing she said to me was “when are diving again!?”

Then she unzipped her wet suit. The wind had picked up and when that happens you get Very chilled from evaporation. She toweled off quickly and then laid down face up in the bottom of the boat. Her wetsuit was pulled down around her waist exposing her bikini top underneath and she exclaimed very loudly, “I’m freezing and my nipples are like daggers!”  Every guy on that boat was laughing so hard we were snorting. She had calmed her fears and charmed the boat. I invited her up and next to me and we snuggled under 2 huge beach towels all the way back to the marina.

Part 2 coming soon………..

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2 Replies to “Change the Channel – Grief Rebutted: Part 1”

  1. Pingback: Grief Rebutted: Part 2 – Love Intentionally | Lindsey McFadden

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