Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Happened?

What you are about to read is the story told to us of the last few minutes before Len died and what happened shortly after Len died.

Len and his fellow scuba diving friends were on the boat having breakfast. It was a beautiful day and they were on a boat, out on the Belizean waters, the group sitting around the table were making plans for their first dive. Some of the guests complained they felt the breakfast sausage was a little too spicy, but Len said he liked it. He then mentioned to the person beside him that he had a little heartburn and others said it was from the spicy sausage and everyone laughed. Someone passed a few antacids down to Len and he put them in his mouth. Len picked up his glass of milk to help wash the pills down. At that moment while the glass was in his hand he collapsed forward. All of the guests were shocked at first but then quickly realized the gravity of the situation and started CPR. Fortunately a nurse was one of the guests and she helped to arrange the call out to other boats in the area and called to get medical help for when they arrived back to land. A fishing boat heard the call and came to help as it could travel back to shore quicker then any other boat around. Len was brought to shore where medical personal were waiting as well as personal from the Canadian Consult.

Len died instantly while on the boat and was already dead by the time he was brought to shore. His body was then transferred to Guatemala as that was the closest coroners office. The friends, Len had on board tried to gather up all of his personal belongings and luggage, they had hoped to bring the luggage home with them and return it to my father as they knew him from other scuba diving trips. But the Canadian Consult said “no” and took charge of Lens luggage and passport. It would be months later and then it was only after paying over $400.00 and arguing with Canadian Customs that my brother Chris and I were aloud to take his luggage home. As you can imagine the group of scuba diving friends were devastated and discussed canceling their trip. I am glad they didn’t cut their trip short and tried to salvage what they could of their vacation.
My mother, siblings and myself stood around this stranger as he told us the last moments of Len’s life. Because we never saw the body I think it helped to put some closure on the situation. Now that I look back I can’t tell you what the man’s name was or even what he looked like, but I thank him for coming to Len’s funeral and was willing to share Len’s last moments of life with us. I sometimes think if only things where different maybe Len wouldn’t of died. If he were home would medical help have been able to arrive more quickly? But I am a realist and I know I can’t change anything and there is no point living in a world of ‘what ifs’ so I am grateful that he was doing something he loved, he was with people he liked and was enjoying himself. And as selfish as this might sound I am thankful it was instant for him, there was no pain, no fear, it might be harder for us who are still living because we couldn’t say goodbye to the physical Len. But I am able to remember his life and because of that, it is somewhat bearable to say goodbye to his spirit.


  1. Can't comment yet still crying.

  2. Don't worry about it mommie, you don't need to comment. I had alot of tears while trying to write it and am tearing up now as I type.

  3. Ok it is now three days after I read this blog. I have not read it since then. I will comment and then I will read it again.
    I think it was so hard to read because it was the first time I have heard of Lens death this way.
    In my memorie it went like this.
    A women from the dive team was telling the story and there was a man with her. After Lens breakfast he had heartburn and asked for rolaids. He was sitting at the table and calapsed face first onto the table. They started CPR and radioed for help. There was other dive boats in the area and one had a doctor on board. They got to Lens boat in about 15 minuets and the doctor took over CPR. The British royal navy helicopter arrived and took him to the british naval hospital in Belize. Where they pronouced him dead. This lady said "We all new he died instantly but we so whated him to be revived, that we never stopped the CPR. They transfered Lens body to the coroners in Guatemala.
    Why is our memories so different. I guess we hear only bits of talk and we fill them in withtime.

  4. Wow, it’s the same but different. The helicopter thing is new to me I thought it was a fishing boat. I don’t remember a doctor just a nurse. I think we need Chris and Kerry to comment on this, as it was the 4 of us standing around this Man/Women (LOL) who told us the story. I do remember being told that they never for a second stopped the administering CPR. Which I can imagine must have been exhausting, as I have watched the teenager train for her lifeguard certificate. I don’t think I could do it for more then a few minutes.