70th birthday train went ahead for Calgary man who didn’t live to see big milestone

Birthday trains have become a popular way of celebrating for Calgarians during this time of social distancing.

There was a particularly unique one Tuesday to mark Rick McWilliam’s 70th birthday. His friend Jen Brown planned the event some time ago.

Even though he died last month, the train went on as planned, in honour of his memory.

“Rick was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and we lost him the day before Easter,” Brown said.

“Today would have been his 70th birthday we are doing this birthday parade for him.”

She wanted to proceed with it, to support his grieving wife of 36 years, Brenda and his only son, Josh.

“He’s my hero. That was very hard to have to learn how to be the strong one,” Josh said.

Watching the parade of cars go by their Bowness home was overwhelming.

“It’s weird because it’s a happy day but its a memorial day it was really touching,” Josh said.

“I know he’s around here, he’s here,” Brenda said.

“I have his ring on my necklace and I feel like we are holding hands right now.”

Josh said he loved watching his Mom experience a little bit of joy throughout this heartbreaking journey of grief.

“It’s the hardest part, she’s special and important to me and I want to do everything I can because that’s what he would have wanted me to do,” Josh said.

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