Carmen and Lara Messerlian have spent the past two weeks on an unusual camping trip.
The sisters have pitched a tent in the backyard of their childhood home in Rothesay, N.B., self-isolating after crossing the Canada-U.S. border on June 13.
They’ve come home to be with their father, who has stage four kidney cancer and is dying.
Unable to find somewhere suitable until they were clear to stay with their parents, they set up camp.
“To me, that seems like just a small effort for the experience and the gains that we’ve had through conversations and sentiments expressed between our dad and ourselves,” Carmen says.
Their 86-year-old father John Messerlian’s health has been deteriorating for the past five years.
He often comes outside to sit on the deck and spend time with his daughters, even cooking them a meal one night after a trip to the hospital.
“He’s someone who’s lived an incredible life,” says Carmen. “A very full life.
“He’ll continue to nurture and care for us until the last of his days.”
Equipped with a tent, sleeping bags and all the necessities, the Messerlian sisters would seem like quite the experienced camper. That, however, is not so, they said.
“We’ve never really been camping,” says Lara.
“There’s no regret or no doubt because our sentiment to be here with our dad was so strong,” she adds.
“It was almost instinctual in a way, we knew we needed to be here with our dad.”
The sisters finish their self-isolation period on June 27, when they’ll finally get to embrace the man they came to see.
“Giving my father a big ol’ bear hug after all this time is going to feel wonderful,” Lara says.