Each morning, Kimberly Wiegand has less than a minute of peace before remembering that her 18-month-old daughter, Chloe, died after falling through an open window on a cruise ship earlier this month.
“The first 30 seconds of the day, I don't remember what happened. And then, after that 30 seconds of peace, it comes back, and I relive what happened,” Wiegand said in an exclusive interview that aired Monday on "Today."
“The thing that I latch onto is really her memory.”
Chloe was with her grandfather on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico when she fell from the ship's 11th story onto concrete.
Just before she died, she was in a children's play area enclosed with clear glass paneling. Her grandfather placed her on a railing that he believed was behind glass, so she could look outside, but the panel was actually open, according to the family's lawyer, Michael Winkleman. It was something the two often did together at hockey games, with Chloe banging on the glass.
“He will cry over and over and over. At no point ever, ever has Sam ever put our kids in danger,” Wiegand of Chloe’s grandfather.
When Wiegand was first told her daughter had died, she didn’t yet know how exactly it had happened.
“I just saw Sam standing next to the wall of windows by the kids' splash pad, screaming and banging on it,” she described.
“I ran over there, and I looked over. And it wasn't water down there, it was concrete. It was honestly, to lose our baby this way, is just unfathomable,” she added.
The family said they blame Royal Caribbean for their daughter’s death. They would like to see the company held responsible in court so other families can be spared the grief they are experiencing.
“There are a million things that could've been done to make that safer. I don't know why a window opens completely. I know my mom was asking people, ‘Why on earth is there a window open on the 11th floor without a screen or anything?’ And their response to that was, ‘We need ventilation,’” Wiegand said.
“Well, to that I would say, get a fan. Come up with some other mechanism to make your guests comfortable, rather than creating a tremendous safety hazard that cost our child her life."
When asked about the incident, Royal Caribbean said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We have assisted the authorities in San Juan with their inquiries and they are the appropriate people to address further questions."
The Puerto Rico Department of Justice told NBC News the investigation is in its advanced stages, so it cannot make any additional comments.