On October 13th, 2020 at 7:48PM my Dad called me from Florida in a panic. “Drive to the runway and turn on your lights so I can see! I can’t see anything! Turn your car lights on the runway so I can land!” He sounded scared and drunk. I was driving home from a photoshoot in Toronto. “Dad, are you calling me from your plane again? I’m in Toronto! I can’t give you light! I’m so scared. I love you so much. I’m going to hang up so you can call Aunt Frances to give you light to land. I love you. You’ve got to land that plane safely. Please don’t die.” And then he disappeared.
After a sleepless night, the heavy fog finally lifted and the search helicopter went out. At noon I got a call from my Aunt Deborah. “He didn’t make it.” My heart broke. The plane was found upside down in thick swampland two miles beyond the runway with Pops still in it.
My Dad was an adrenaline junky. He lived to catch a thrill, whether it be deep sea fishing, racing cars around the horse track on the ranch, airboating at top speed through the everglades and more recently, flying his plane. I think he felt most alive when he was cheating death, and he did cheat death many, many times. He seemed magically indestructible in my eyes; able to get himself out of any tough situation. At his 65th birthday last year he kept expressing his awe that he managed to live to see it. “65 and still alive,” he kept repeating while shaking his head in disbelief. I wish with all my heart he was here for his 66th.
Here’s a letter I wrote to my Dad last year:
I am writing to express how grateful I am to have you in my life. You have taught me to always follow my instincts, to be confident in being different and how to use my creativity to carve out my own special and unique path through this life. You have taught me how to have fun and how to live life to the fullest, how to be an entrepreneur, how to live large and how to accomplish all my dreams!
I love you so much,
He wanted to die in an epic way, and he did, just as epic as his life. I feel his spirit watching over me. RIP Pops. You will live in my heart forever. I hope I can make you proud.
Dave (my husband) and I flew down to Florida a few days after the crash and organized a Celebration of Life on the ranch. Here are some photos from the event in 35mm. xo
Lady Dicks is a buddy-cop CBC comedy starring Meredith MacNeill (Baroness von Sketch Show) and Adrienne C. Moore (Orange Is the New Black) as two detectives in their 40s with opposing personalities and similarly incongruous approaches to police work. The result is a hilarious show with refreshingly strong and unique female leads. It was a pleasure to get back to work with this team after a long shut down due to Covid-19. Grateful to be back to work, we all donned our masks and visors and doused ourselves in hand sanitizer and volunteered for regular testing to make sure we could keep on working. A small price to pay for pandemic-era employment! Safety first! Look out for Lady Dicks on CBC next year. xo
“Weddings and funerals,” they say and I am now certain that is how life unravels. Just ten days following my father’s tragic death by plane crash my little brother River got married to his English girlfriend Bronte. In the wake of so much pain and tragedy, the wedding provided joyful respite and distraction. Life goes on! And I was able to be there to celebrate with them on the ranch in Florida as I was already there to mourn with our family. We had the ceremony and reception right on the ranch. From the day Dad passed for the next two and a half weeks it rained. Like, torrential tropical storm kind of rain. I imagined it was Dad’s spirit. The storm only subsided for three brief moments. The first was during our Celebration of Life for Pops. The second was the night before the wedding when we went out to Dad’s favourite camp in the Everglades. And the third was for the short wedding ceremony. Magic! Thanks, Dad! I’ve been riding the fine line between this world and the next these days. We really got an angel in Bronte. It is a pleasure to have a new member of the family, a big love for River because he deserves it all, and a wonderful role model for my little sister Sarah. xo
This August, while out west for our wedding, my brothers and Dave and I and a few friends went for a glorious kayak though Brentwood Bay. Jake and Justin decided to race and Jake went too fast for his own good and managed to flip his kayak! This shot was taken just after he had righted himself. Nothing like a good thrill on the water to make you feel alive! xo
It was a glorious return to the cottage after 100 days of quarantine in the hot, noisy city. A dragonfly blessed Tasha’s boobs (obviously) and Kaiyah convinced Ocean to jump off the dock for her first time! Of course, it was impossible to stop her after she got over her fear. This lake heals the soul. xo