It's been just shy of 42 years since this day. A month before my 16th birthday. After we moved to Hawaii in 1974, Daddy found a love of snorkeling and reef diving. He never had a shortage of companions for these adventures into the deep. This week was different. Dad spent a week scouring his friends to find someone that would go with him (rule 1 - never dive alone). I wasn't going with him as I'd promised to take a new friend from school out on the reef to learn how to snorkel. At nearly the last minute, Dad did find a companion to go with him - think it was Dave - one of many of his open water friends.
I got up with Dad just as the sun was getting ready to crest the horizon, and we sat down to have breakfast. At the time, this didn't feel like an odd thing to do - but it was one of those little 'tells' that you only recognize later. (Rule 2 - never dive after eating) As we gathered our gear to head to our respective beach departure points, Daddy turned to me and said "Take care of your mother. I love you both very much". This turned into tell #2 for me - it spoke of departures. I fully believe that Dad knew that he was not coming back from this dive.
About an hour later, I was out on the reef near the Wailea beaches -- probably a mile from where Dad was diving. I grabbed my friend's shoulder and nearly stood up in probably 60' of water and said "We have to go in NOW!" . When we hit the beach a short time later, I stood and watched as an ambulance went screaming past our location. I didn't know at the time that it was going to try to save the life of my/our father after he'd suffered a massive heart attack. The C02 life vest he wore he'd managed to activate - and it's what brought him to the surface.
Later, I learned that the ambulance crew that went to the 911 call all actually knew Daddy - hardest job in the world I'd imagine. Trying HARD to save the life of a friend.
I never got to express to them just how grateful I was that it was with friends that Daddy's life ended. He was 49 but I think was nearly at peace with himself. It's been 42 years nearly - and I miss him every single day.Kathleen Joyce Dennis Reust