An Edmonton man is mourning the tragic death of his wife after she drowned while the two celebrated their 30-year wedding anniversary in Hawaii in late August.

After enjoying themselves so much in Maui during their 25th wedding anniversary, Pat L’Hirondelle and his wife Debbie decided to return to celebrate another milestone.

The two arrived in Maui on August 21 for a 10-day stay, before things went awry on August 24 — five days before their wedding anniversary.

The long-time couple headed to the beach for some snorkelling.

“I told her, ‘I’m getting tired; I’m going to head back,’ and she said, ‘OK, I’m right behind you.’”

That’s the last time L’Hirondelle heard his wife speak.

Minutes later, the man turned around and expected to see his wife right behind him, but she was not there. When he finally saw her from far away, he realized something was wrong.

“I looked and I thought, ‘Oh my God, she’s upside down. She’s floating,’” L’Hirondelle said.

The husband then swam to Debbie as quickly as possible.

“I grabbed her, I flipped her over and I thought, ‘Oh my god, she’s drowning.’”

Panicked, L’Hirondelle started yelling for help. A group of people swam towards them, got Debbie on a paddleboard and brought her back to the beach.

There happened to be some doctors on vacation that performed CPR before paramedics arrived shortly after. About 40 minutes later — which L’Hirondelle said felt more like 10 minutes — paramedics told him his wife was not improving.

L’Hirondelle then had to make the most difficult decision of his wife, and told paramedics to stop performing CPR.

He was in shock, unsure of what to do, and a nurse suggested he should go say goodbye to his wife and “tell her sweet things.”

“So I went in there, and I held her hand and I cried. I looked at her hands and said, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I told her, ‘Don’t leave me,’ and I sat with her,” he told CTV News while crying.

The coroner told L’Hirondelle his wife had water in her nasal passage and chest cavity.

L’Hirondelle and his wife were introduced by friends in Edmonton 31 years ago.

At first, Debbie wasn’t so into her future husband, but L’Hirondelle persisted, and a few months later, they meet again and fell in love.

They married six months later and had two boys: Jarrod, 25, and Cole, 16.

The two lived in the same Mill Woods home for 28 years.

“Absolutely wonderful life we’ve had,” L’Hirondelle said. “I could not have asked for anyone better in my life to have met.

“I know her love and mine has always been forever,” L’Hirondelle said.“She’ll always be in my heart. And I’ve had a couple friends tell me there’s another angel up there now, and I keep saying to myself she’s a beautiful angel.”

With files from Taylor Oseen