For some time , perhaps 6 months I have been thinking and pondering whether I would come back to this place on the anniversary of her death, and the reasons why I should.
I still have such cognitive dissonance with regard to Lindsey’s death. I mean imagine for a moment that the Largest concern you might have had this morning was what type of tea or coffee you were going to make for your morning breakfast. It was just that type of morning for us last year on December 8.
Sometime soon I will tell about that morning in detail, its a sweet story of yet again how we dealt with each other during a situation that came up when in past times and relationships it could have caused a bit of friction, we both just rolled with it and charged ahead.
Pardon that digression, but it gives me a foot note to come back to soon!
A couple weeks ago I got the report from a specialized doctor that my lawyer and I hired to look into all the medical records and the autopsy. Lindsey had an Accidental Death policy that deemed that her death was not going to be a covered loss. Of course an insurance company will only pay if it truly was covered by the definition of the policy etc. It is a very long story but the short version is that the doctor we hired who was specialized in this type of cause of death and liver / internal organ systems deemed too that her death was from an intrinsic issue and not an external stressor or trauma.
I got his final report and was left with a haunting question, that I wrote to him in follow up to this report:
“Would Lindsey be alive if she had not been diving? Does the dive
constitute a set of conditions that CAUSED or could cause someone with her
underlying and latent issues with her liver to suddenly hemorrhage?
This is the final reply as an addendum to his final report and I quote it in full:
“As I have previously explained, the most likely cause of death was sudden
intrahepatic hemorrhage from either an aneurysm of a branch of the hepatic
artery or an intrinsic lesion of the liver such as a hepatic adenoma. Either type of
lesion would be prone to spontaneous hemorrhage. In other words, hemorrhage
could occur at any time without the presence of any sort of external stimulation.
One could, I suppose, theorize that if an aneurysm or lesion such as an adenoma
were somehow compressed due to the external pressure of water on the body
associated with a dive, that relatively minor pressure change might just indeed be
the tipping point that caused the lesion to bleed at that moment in time. If that
were the case, however, I would suggest that a lesion that fragile would have
bled sooner from some equally minor event such as bumping into a table or
sneezing, coughing, etc. Realize, however, this is merely conjecture. It is
entirely possible that the lesion in question would have bled at the time that it did
whether Ms. Baumel was in the act of diving or had been sitting at a chair at rest.
In other words, the conditions created by the act of diving more than likely did not
affect the status of this lesion, and the hemorrhage of the lesion cannot be
definitively attributed to the act of diving.
Again, these lesions are prone to spontaneous hemorrhage, and generally
speaking, there is no external event associated with the onset of hemorrhage.
As such, I would say that it is most likely that Ms. Baumel would not be alive
whether she chose to dive that day or not.”
When I landed in Cozumel, Jorge was here to greet me and take me to where I am
staying this week. It was as if the needle which I lifted from the record 361 days ago
was put down right where we left off. The first words from his lips were, “I just don’t get it”.
Last year 3 days after she died I was joined by Jorge and his family and others on a
dive at the same reef where she passed away. This was also video taped and I have not
had the time to edit it yet. At that time we had very little concrete understanding of just what had happened to Lindsey. Talking to each other again after a year, seeing the trauma still on Jorge’s face and his mind still reeling from the nagging questions, hurt me.
Although efforts were made with gusto and continued till we got to the Emergency Room and for over an hour in the clinic we both knew in mere moments that she was gone even before we got her into the boat.
Dr. McKee’s report has put to rest at least the nagging question that has haunted me and Jorge ever since that fateful morning: Is there Anything we could have done? Could we have helped her better?
It has not though really eased our pain.
I brought the print outs of the report with me. I had a feeling, and I have learned to trust them, that Jorge needed to see it with his own eyes. He read the full report and the addendum and sat in silence in his living room with me and his son and his dear wife close by. Tears on our faces as the thoughts of Lindsey and her death and our grief and our futile efforts to revive and save her swirled all around us. I know that this conversation about her has been a topic in their home on many occasions. Jorge gathered himself and read the entire reports to his wife in Spanish. Taking time to clarify and expand certain parts of the text.
My concern for Jorge in the days after her death was well founded and weighed on me deeply. His love of the ocean and his passion for teaching people to dive safely is second only to his love of family. I felt so guilty for unwittingly being part of causing him such pain even while I was just shattered over losing Lindsey.
One of the reasons I wanted to have a memorial dive and leave flowers and a cross at the bottom of the ocean last year 3 days after her death was to try and close a little bit of this chapter and this pain. We knew before that memorial dive that she had died from an internal bleed which lead to Hypovolemic Shock. We were just not at all certain as to How this could happen and certainly not any notion of Why it did happen.
We know more now because the doctors have weighed in with their very informed opinion and all have told basically the same story. There was nothing anyone could have done either to prevent this or to save her from it.
It was the right thing to come back here. I am more sure of that now than ever. But it will never be a right or a good thing that Lindsey Rae died.
I take some comfort in the fact that she never ever knew what happened to her. For her it was basically the sensation of being overcome by sleep, for all of us it is the waking nightmare that has overcome us.
Tomorrow we have our second memorial dive. I have some of her ashes I will be scattering on the surface and items to be left again at the bottom of the ocean. I have also a small container of ashes for Jorge to scatter as well.
I will write Part 2 of Grief Rebutted and post it tomorrow if all goes well. That entry will shed light on just how I have been able to stand even on wobbly legs through this whole ordeal.
The time stamp on this image is incorrect we had the clock set wrong, it was taken at 9:33am.