Newlywed Lindsey McFadden and husband John McFadden both had a love of the ocean. The couple from Minnesota were both certified scuba divers and decided to take their honeymoon in the Caribbean to experience some of the beautiful coral reefs in the area. Sadly, just 168 days after the pair said, “I do,” Lindsey would die in her husband’s arms while on a honeymoon scuba diving trip at the Santa Rosa Reef.
Pioneer Press reports that though their love story was short-lived, John says “it was the best short story ever.” John met Lindsey when a mutual friend recommended him for some handyman work. Lindsey and John seemed to hit it off almost immediately. Both John and Lindsey called their mutual friend to learn more about the other; however, the pair decided to just be friends as they couldn’t get over the 20 year age gap between them. John, 51, and Lindsey, 31, would begin their love story with a simple friendship.
Seven months after initially meeting, Lindsey called John a second time to help with a remodel of her bathroom. On John’s blog, he discusses the whirlwind romance which led to the marriage. During the bathroom remodel, Lindsey offered to pay John with “sweat equity” instead of money. She worked side-by-side with him on the project for months and the two spent a lot of time together. Finally, once the project was over, John got up the nerve and asked Lindsey on a date. Just 18 days after that first date, John would ask Lindsey to marry him.
The couple set their wedding date for five months later but couldn’t even wait that long to be named husband and wife. Therefore, just one month after the proposal, the couple married in a spontaneous wedding ceremony at John’s family home. The couple were married on the front lawn with a simple bouquet from Whole Foods and three guests. The McFaddens didn’t tell anyone about the secret ceremony and still went through with the more elaborate nuptials four months later with a whole host of friends and family.
The couple, who both loved to scuba dive, scheduled a Cozumel honeymoon to take place a month after their formal wedding. The couple posted happy photos from the beaches around Cozumel and even photos scuba diving leading up to Lindsey’s tragic death.
John says that Lindsey’s final scuba dive took place at Santa Rosa Reef with one of the best dive instructors in all of Cozumel. In fact, the instructor was the Dive Master that trained both John and Lindsey for their certifications years prior. John says the dive was “totally typical” with nothing out of the ordinary. Both the dive instructor, Jorge, and John were wearing dive computers and noted that the dive was “fairly shallow” and at no point did the divers even get close to their “limitations” of comfort, training, or safety.
“Without a doubt a perfect Cozumel wall coral dive, totally typical of Cozumel and all her magic. Jorge and I were both wearing dive computers to track the dive and inform us of our depth, time at depth, maximum depth, water temperature and so on. The dive was fairly shallow, in perfectly clear blue seas, and at no time did we ever come close to any of the limitations of our comfort, training and safety.”
John notes that there were specific protocols for returning to the surface, and even though the divers were shallow enough not to need a “safety stop”, they took one anyway. John says Lindsey seemed completely normal, and just minutes before she would pass away, she was smiling for photos outside of the entrance to a cave of fantastic wonder.
However, as the divers got approximately eight feet from the surface, Lindsey suddenly began to ascend. There was nothing dangerous about her ascent, but John said it was not typical as they were still 60 seconds from the planned time of ascent. Therefore, John motioned to Jorge that he was going to ascend to see what was wrong with Lindsey. When he got to the surface, Lindsey spit out her regulator and immediately began attempting to inflate her vest. Jorge surfaced and inflated the vest for her while John held on to his new bride. Lindsey looked at John and said, “I feel sick.” Those were the last words that Lindsey would mutter before she passed away seconds later.
“We ask her what’s going on? What’s wrong? Her last words were ‘I feel sick.’ The boat was already there when she said this, and she became unconscious within seconds of saying she felt sick. I believe she had passed away just seconds after she said she felt sick. Someday here in this blog I will further detail all of the heroic attempts to revive her.”
Lindsey’s autopsy revealed that the newlywed had passed away from an internal bleed in her liver. The autopsy found no bruising on her back or abdomen and said that her passing could have happened “the day before, a week later we just don’t know.” The doctors told John it is much like aneurysm in that it could have happened at any time without warning.
Though John and Lindsey were only married a brief 168 days, John says that their love story was “the best short story ever.” John is keeping Lindsey’s memory alive through his blog that details the couple’s short time together.