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red dress

L-R Arno, Dad, me, Mom

“Your Uncle Arno is coming to Canada at the beginning of September, so I want you to come at the same time,” said Dad on the phone late in the summer of 2015.

“Well, actually Dad I was thinking of coming in October or maybe Christmas.”

“No. Arno and I discussed it. And we agree. You should come at the beginning of September.”

That’s odd, I thought to myself. Dad has never been one to assume I would be able to fly back east and visit. He’s more of a hey-it’s-been-a-while-when-do-you-think-you’ll-be-able-to-visit-again kinda guy. So I was somewhat taken aback at his directness.

Still, Dad never asked for much, and it seemed important to him, so I agreed to fly back east to visit them for a week and booked a flight for September 1.

It was still like summer in Calgary on that first day of September so I wore sandals and the red dress I’d bought in the Dominican when Mom and I had vacationed there a few years back and waited for the cab to take me to the airport.

Uncle Arno picked me up at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport in Montreal and after visiting with my brother and his family on the west island, we headed out to my parents place in East Hawkesbury.

Dad was lying on the couch when I got there. He’d been suffering with severe back pain for some time and the only relief he had was when he laid down.

I went into the living room to say hi. I talked about this and that and all the while he had this goofy smile on his face. “What?” I finally said.

“You’re wearing a dress. You hardly ever wear a dress. You look beautiful.”


Dad was taken by ambulance to the hospital on October 28th.  I flew out and visited with him on November 6th. Before we left his room, we made plans to go see him again the next day, but he passed away that same night. Dad thank you for insisting that I attend the September family reunion!

related post: It was like a Schwenkonsortium!