Losing your young child to a tragedy is something parents shouldn't ever have to experience. The family of an 18-month-old girl who died recently on a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship wrote a beautiful but heartbreaking obituary for her.
Chloe Rae Margaret Wiegand "was a true fighter," born at four pounds, six ounces. She spent time at the Beacon Children's Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit, "overcoming every medical obstacle she faced." Her family also called her "Coco and Margs" and "cherished her dearly."
The young girl from South Bend, Indiana was on the cruise with her parents, older brother and two sets of grandparents. She was with her grandfather, Salvatore Anello in the ship's H20 Zone Kids Water Park where she fell to her death. The family's lawyer, Michael Winkleman gave NBC News the details of the incident.
Chloe saw a glass window and asked Anello to pick her up, and he placed her on a railing. He thought the railing was behind glass. She then went to bang on the glass, as she often did at her older brother's hockey games. Suddenly, she was plunging from the 11th floor of the Freedom of the Seas ship. She landed on the concrete of the Pan American dock II in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"Essentially, her grandfather lifts her up and puts her on a railing and where he thinks that there is glass there because it's clear, but it turns out there was no glass there," Winkleman explained. The family is seeking answers as to why the window was open, with Winkleman adding there could be grounds for a lawsuit. Puerto Rico's Department of Public Safety is working diligently to provide those answers.
As for Chloe, her family says "her smile, beauty, and kindness changed every life she encountered. She could make anyone grin with just a glance of her beautiful face and huge brown eyes. Chloe loved to give hugs and blow kisses, even to strangers."
Her favorite movie was Frozen, and her favorite food was spaghetti. "She listened to “Baby Shark” on an endless loop," according to the obituary. She also loved helping her mom in the garden, and pretending to put on makeup while her mom got ready for work in the morning.
She was a big fan of the Notre Dame hockey team, but "her favorite player was her ten year old brother, Wyatt. She watched from the stands at countless games and practices and was everyone’s favorite team mascot. Every teammate was a brother to Chloe." Her best friend was her dog Penny Rosabell.
"Chloe was loved and cherished beyond measure every single moment of her life. This crippling and devastating loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be repaired. We hold her in our hearts and memories and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. The world was a better place because Chloe existed in it, even for a short time."
We hope the family is able to get answers. It won't bring Chloe back, but it may offer some closure.