My Dad had been athletic all his life. He loved sports of all kinds and was good at them. Of course, as he grew older and arthritis set in, he had to give up most of them, except for one, swimming
My brother Bob, was a certified and an experienced scuba diver. Dad would ask to use the scuba gear to dive in the waters off Key Largo. Bob was always able to fend him off, telling him never to dive alone, to always dive with a buddy.
In S. Florida we have many golf courses and my brother Bob had the concessions at several of these courses, to retrieve the golf balls, to sell some back to the courses, to driving ranges, etc.A very lucrative business.
Diving for the balls involved using scuba gear in murky water. Most balls were found by touch because the visibility was so low. Dad would ask to go along to help. Bob dreaded these times it was to hard for him to say no. My brother worried the whole time they were diving, for fear something would happen. He might run out of air, meet an unfriendly alligator or possibly have a heart attack. Poor Bob was between a rock and a hard place.
This day, December 10th, 1977, began like all the others when Dad went along to "help." Bob, spent most of his time worrying and coming to the surface to look for the bubbles so he would know where Dad was and that he was alright. This time when he came up to check, he didn't see Dad, nor did he see any bubbles. He saw the flippers on the bank of the canal. Bob worst fears had come true.
Bob was filled with guilt and I fear that he still is, to this day. At first Bob thought Dad drowned, but the coroner said, that Dad died from Coronary Thrombosis. A blood clot had entered his heart.
Bob pieced together the story about what must have happened. Dad must have felt strange, came up out of the water on to the bank, took off his flippers, had the attack and fell back into the water.
I know my brother will probably always feel guilty about what happened that day, but how do you say no to your father. I take comfort in the fact, that Dad was doing what he loved to do. He was active all his life and to my knowledge had never had more than a cold. A robust man full of life. What better way to leave this world than to leave it scuba diving.