THE BEST OF FRIENDS
I have not been able to paint.
A very close friend of mine passed away on January 11.
He went in for major heart surgery and just never woke up.
I met Tom in 2007.
I had just started offering my paintings for auction and sale on ebay.
He bought a few, we connected on an emotional level and became fast friends.
Tom was born in New Mexico, but moved to California
about twenty years ago to pursue his architectural career.
His ex-wife and children also live in New Mexico.
Tom called me one day and said he was coming into town and
would I consider going out to dinner and meeting him and his family.
I get requests like this from time to time and have met lots of interesting people this way.
I said sure and my husband and I met Tom and his family at El Pinto restaurant.
What I didn't know was how much I would grow to love Tom and
how much he would impact my life.
After meeting Tom, I got to know him.
He would come into town about every three months and we starting taking
day long trips all over New Mexico.
My cousin Goldie and my mother-in-law Dolly often joined us.
We explored Jemez, Tesuque, Abiquiu, Ghost Ranch, the Monastery,
Taos, Santa Fe, Chama, Placitas, Bosque del Apache, you name it.
We looked for interesting sites, great Mexican food,
and had fun no matter what we were doing.
Tom got to know all of my family and would bring them all
Ghiradelli chocolates every time he came to town.
He lived just a couple of blocks from the factory in San Francisco and
I think he was on a first name basis with all of the employees.
We've rented houses together in Taos and he has come to almost every big family event
and art event that I've had in the last six years.
I will never forget the first time he came early to a show I was doing at Weems Artfest.
He helped us unpack 110 paintings and he and his
grandson Andrew stayed to help hang every one.
He was like a little kid in a candy store!
In fact, that is how Tom lived life.
Like a little kid in a candy store.
He was the most positive person I have ever met.
He loved green chile and any kind of Mexican food.
He loved art. He loved Chimayo.
He loved experiencing new things and seeing new places.
He lived life BIG.
Now, some people might see that as a problem.
Living life big and doing things over the top.
But how many of us go through life living it with gusto?
Most of us just go through the motions.
Tom was also in a lot of pain.
He has back surgery several years ago and almost died.
He walked with a cane and a back full of steel rods.
But he always said he was never going to let pain stop him from doing what he wanted to do.
And what he wanted to do was experience life.
He loved my family and they loved him.
Tom, you were one of a kind and I will miss you forever.
You were getting ready to retire here and wanted me
to teach you how to paint.
You wanted Esta to teach you to make pottery.
You wanted to find a house will enough walls to display all of your artwork.
You wanted to experiment and do something creative.
You wanted to sit on your new back patio and drink tea and enjoy the sunsets.
I am sorry that you will not experience any of those things.
And I will think of some way to honor you every year
and keep your memory alive.
Tom, may your spirit soar...I love you
and may you continue to inspire me.
I have a new challenge coming up soon and I will dedicate it to you.
So sorry for your loss. It's hard to lose really good friends (the kind that become like family) they are few and far between.ReplyDelete
Dee, I love you for sharing your story about Tom. I am sorry I never knew him.ReplyDelete
Thank you for writing this eloqent and beautiful memorial of your friend Tom. You touched my heart,ReplyDelete
and brought this delightful person to life.
Please accept my condolences.
Thank you for this Dee. He had so much more that he wanted to do in life and this definitely came way too soon. I miss him so much, I would give anything for one more hug and, one more I love you, one more conversation while eating a delicious dinner here in NM, one more trip to Madrid.ReplyDelete
Once things settle down and I am done with school, I am going to be looking for stuff to keep myself busy - perhaps I can take up painting to not only help express my feelings but to also honor my dad and his love of art.
Thank you for always being such a wonderful friend and always welcoming me and dad and treating us like part of your family - you and your family brightened our lives in so many ways. I am sure that someday soon, your inspiration and desire to paint will return. Dad would want that.
For those of you who didn't know Tom, there will never be anyone else like him, truly one of a kind. Thanks for the nice comments.ReplyDelete
And Katie, I think it's a wonderful idea to take up painting, or anything creative. Your dad wanted to try everything when he retired.
So heartfelt Dee. And having had the pleasure of meeting you I know your sincerity as you write about Tom and I'm sorry for your loss. I often think about a time when I will be able to return to NM and imagine the two of us taking a few day trips ourselves.ReplyDelete