One of my best friends died with this watch on, in this very bracelet. Each scratch tells of one of his or our shared adventures during his time in my life and before I was even born. For the sake of the story, we'll call him Carl. Carl was one of the most remarkable people I've ever met in my life. Where my father did a great job of raising myself and my brother, Carl filled in the gaps that a family of my means and upbringing just couldn't. From my father came my sense of work ethic, right and wrong, honesty, and from Carl, a sense of the world, what was beyond my hometown and the life that I thought I wanted. He introduced me to travel, to people, to cultures I never knew existed and probably never would have. No kids of his own, he became my mentor after we started diving together at a local dive center that I worked at. Not 100% sure what he saw in me at that time but he took me under his wing and taught me the importance of broadening my horizons, of making the world as he would put it, my oyster. We dove around the world together, met all kinds of amazing people who I still keep in touch with to this day, and gained a view outside of my very monochrome town that I grew up in. That's what Carl did, he could walk into a room and leave it having made an impression on everyone in it, and would stay connected with them over thousands of miles. Wherever he went he was welcomed, and he never failed to show his appreciation for that to anyone, no matter who they were. Fast forward some years while diving in Fiji, Carl had a diving accident after our first dive of the day. paralyzed from the neck down we got him to a chamber and eventually recovered. This led to his diagnosis of COPD and eventual diagnosis of lung cancer. After having to give up diving, he stayed involved in the community by facilitating discover scuba courses, running classrooms, and working at the facility where we met. Slowly the downward trend would stop him from traveling and then eventually working where he was placed on palliative care in his home. With the aid of some of his close friends we all started down the journey of getting his affairs in order. It was around this time where we were sitting together and he told me that he wanted me to have his watch when he passed. I didn't know it at the time but this watch is a 1984 Submariner. All I knew was that it was “his Rolex”. He was incredibly proud of this watch, never took it off, dove with it everywhere. Whenever he would talk about the best quality of something he would say “Its the Rolex of (x)”. A story he once shared with me although I don't have any proof of it goes- One time through his dive shop when he was teaching, he actually gave a VP of Rolex a dive course and during their pool time he pointed to the man's watch and asked him to surface. Upon doing so said “You have water in your Rolex.” and caught the man off guard and had a pretty good laugh about it. I used to see watches of all brands that looked like his Sub and would ask him about them to which his reply would always be “Yeah, but it's not a Rolex.” followed by that shit eating grin he would always make. Back to the story, until this time I had kept my composure through his whole ordeal and for some reason this broke me when he told me he wanted to have it. I expected nothing, I couldn't give him more time, and I was just trying to help in anyway I could to keep his spirits up and get what affairs I could in order for him. His request broke me because I think at that time, everything finally became apparent to me, that eventually his time would be up and it was rapidly approaching. The last time I went to visit him, in November of 2021, he looked grave, just weeks prior you wouldn't know anything was wrong with him and it was as if a switch had flipped. My son, who shares a middle name with Carl, had just been born 3 weeks prior, and my wife was home with him and our daughter when I made the decision to stay with him until another close friend could come up to be with him and relieve me. The visiting nurse made pretty clear what the next 24-48 hours would bring… Sparing the details, we made him as comfortable as possible and the next morning he passed away while I was moving him from chair to bed. He just laid back and that was it… When I removed the watch from his wrist, he had moved so little in the prior weeks it was no longer ticking… My father and uncle came up to be with me as we were waiting for the funeral home to arrive. His brother called his phone and I answered relaying the news… We made the arraignments… and we all drove home in silence, for his suffering had ended. While talking with his executor and making final arraignments and going up to clean out his place, she mentioned in the will that he had left the watch to her. At this time I was just holding onto it at her request because I was the last one with him. I didn't know about a will or anything of that nature until she brought it up, so I asked to talk to her about something rather sensitive when she had time and she agreed. Meeting up I handed her the watch told her what he had said, but I also know the weight that this watch carried, and if it was to be hers that I would not rob her of that. She replied telling me that he had told her months in advance before he even talked to me what the fate of his watch would be and handed it back telling me that he always thought of me as a son which he never had, how incredibly proud of me he was for the life I had made, and that he wanted me to have “his Rolex”. Cue the water works… I had kept the two promises I made to him, 1 being that he would pass in his own home, and 2 would be that I would keep his watch. I waited until it came back from service to share this story with all of you, not even sure if you will read all of this but if you made it this far good for you. I denied them replacing the bracelet as it's one last memory I have of my friend who passed wearing it. The scratches tell a story of one of the most genuine people I have ever met, and I hope it earns more diving with me in the future. In the middle of my story I revealed that Carl and my son share a middle name, which is a tradition my father started as my middle name is shared with a friend that he had lost around the time I was born. Carl's story of his watch was that it was a gift from his father after getting his bachelor's degree, and when my son completes his, the watch will pass to him. So that's my story of the Submariner and how it became to be in my possession. Aside from my family it means more to me than I can put a value on and I will cherish it until it is time to pass it on. Thanks again for reading, and I wish you all well.

TL:DR An amazing friend left this earth recently and left me with a great heirloom to pass on.

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