Last Goodbye

I believe we are all here for a Divine purpose. Some people feel the need to search for that purpose to make their lives more meaningful. Others never give it a moment of thought. Often times, I think everyone’s purpose here on earth is very much the same...

We are all here to learn and to create.

Coming from an artist, you may think this is a biased opinion. I assure you it is not. Creation is not limited to the arts. To be creative, you do not need to be a painter, musician, poet, writer, or dancer. My creativity was recognized when I was very young. Neither my mom or dad knew anything about art, but they taught me so much. They sometimes seemed puzzled by my creativity, not knowing where it came from, but I could say they taught me everything I know.

My father made his living as an accountant - a cost analyst. This is not a creative career – at least not for a man with his honesty and integrity. But, my father had the mind of a designer and an engineer. He was very proud to have told us that he designed and built our house where my brother and sisters and I grew up. Together with my mom they created a loving, nurturing environment for us and extended their home to friends, family, and even strangers with the warmth and hospitality that all of you have experienced. And with our home was a beautiful garden. My father’s greatest creative endeavor that he will be most remembered by.

Many people have told me how much my father has touched their lives. We all can learn so much from Jack Tobin through his life’s work.

Some of my best childhood memories are being in the garden with my Dad. Because of this, I have to admit – I love the smell of dirt. On a warm spring day, I would come home from school welcomed by a quite large, freshly tilled plot of land. Summer vacation was near.

I wasn’t the only one to share his joy of gardening. John and I, along with a few or more neighborhood friends would rush out to help. We were more than just a little enthusiastic as we bickered and fought over responsibility – who would get to pull the string to designate the row; who would get to dig the hole; who could put a handful of fertilizer in the bottom of the hole; who would push the dirt around the tender roots; and of course, who would get their hands on the most coveted - watering can.

I had no idea what it meant to be patient as a child. It was not until I had children of my own did I realize that my father was one of the most patient people on earth. I’m sure getting the plants into the ground took at least twice as long with all of our help, but he was not in a hurry. Gardening was his greatest joy, and he wanted to share with anyone who was interested.

We were kids and so we quickly grew bored of hard work and scattered off to play. My father continued the work on his own and enjoyed it every bit as much without assistants.

As we grew up and grew older, and moved on to our adult lives my father’s garden grew larger. For he was retired and could spend all the time he wanted out there. If you have ever grown your own vegetables, you know, it is a joy to share with others. People who did not know my father would offer me home-grown tomatoes. I would tell them, “No thank you. My parents have 100 tomato plants.” Their jaw would drop and they would say, “Why so many?” My answer, “They like to share.” Dad wanted everyone he knew to be able to come to our house and leave with as much as they would like. He cultivated abundance and his garden was a symbol of his generous spirit.

There is so much we can learn from my father’s life’s work not limited to these few things.

Be patient with others, especially children.

Do something that brings you so much joy, it never feels like work.

And, be generous with your harvest.

We have all been touched by the life of John Tobin. His spirit lives on in all of us. I will continue to carry his love in my heart. I ask that you do the same.


APRiL said...

that was beautiful patti.

Patrick said...

I love your blog! Art and teaching come naturally to you. Your blog like your father’s garden is a labor of love. The blog entries that I’ve enjoyed reading here have promoted (among other things) sensuality, friendship, self-expression, children, community and love. The world needs artists, especially ones with a mom’s point-of-view, a point-of-view with a big faith in life, a point-of-view that doesn’t often hesitate to do what needs to be done. In the summer when my daughter was 8-years-old we rode the train together into Chicago and we read Mark Twain’s “The Diaries of Adam and Eve”. The way Twain tells it Eve had a big faith in life. If it wasn’t for her civilization never would have happened.

When you say, “We are all here to learn and to create”, I don’t think it’s biased. I believe it’s true. I also think it’s one of many ways to say it. “All you need is love” is another. You put yourself out here in cyberspace; you give a piece of your heart to your friends, and all us strangers who happen by. Your art is a search for meaning. Sometimes it says “this is lovely”, sometimes it says “this is the kind of things little girls like” and sometimes it’s about delicate and intricate patterns. There are often pictures of birds, fieldtrips, cookies, flowers and wounded fingers. Painting isn’t your only medium. I love your photographs almost as much as I love your paintings.

Sharing your father’s life and death with us was a labor of love. It feels important, it feels lovely. I think it says that this is a big part of what life is about.

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