Patti’s passion

Dear Friends:

As you have heard, my wife Patti passed away last week.

She was a lovely, creative person who gave me strength, inspiration, ideas and love. She was always extraordinarily positive — despite what the pathetic initial media reports may have told tell you.

A couple of days ago, our friends put together a lovely tribute to her memory. Hundreds of people jammed the place, singing songs, sharing stories, crying, laughing, and celebrating her life and approach to it. There was a huge crowd out on the street  waiting their turn to get in to share the festivities. She touched so many, and the spheres of her influences all came together on Wednesday nigh:  school friends, librarians, fashionistas, moms, dads, kids, chefs, florists, all celebrating the bright perspectives and willingness to take risk with which she infected them all. There were many people who were professionally creative— artists, musicians, photographers, authors, directors, ad folk — but also lawyers, doctors, accountants and stay-at-home moms whose creative juices were stirred by Patti’s inspiration  I was never prouder of her.

Everyday Matters was the fruit of our family’s mission to celebrate our daily gifts in the face of the random crap life throws at us. That mission grew from Patti’s heart. The fact that she has gone does not diminish the importance of this mission to me and to all of us. Life is wonderful. Its riches don’t lie in bank accounts or career success, power or fame. We just need to look around us, at the beauty of a wrinkled orange skin, the ray of sunshine across a wooden table, the curve of a napping pet, an abandoned shoe, a building against the sky. To reap those riches, I use a pen and a small book. I meditate on what I see, and transcribe that reflection in my book.  The lines I make, sometimes sure and sharp, sometimes wobbly and vague, are the deposit I make in my account, the way I capture life’s true rewards and value.

In the days following Patti’s death, I lost my appetite, my ability to sleep, my concentration, my will. I hesitated to pick up a pen. Nothing seemed to matter, let alone the everyday. But then, after some time spent staring into space, I began again to draw. And I must and will continue. Drawing brings me meaning. To abandon it would betray Patti’s memory and myself.  I hope that if you are hesitating to draw, beating yourself up because you’re not good enough, telling yourself you have no time to spare, feeling distracted and down,  remember that, though life can be plucked from us at any moment, it is  full of wonder and beauty. Keeping an illustrated journal is the perfect way to capture and treasure the gems that lie all around us.  A few minutes a day make it all worth while.

Patti  made things all the time, knitting, sewing, singing, making collages, gifts, drawings, paintings, flower arrangements, photos, and more. Creativity was her passion and she loved people who loved to create. I hope you will help to keep her love and spirit alive.

Your pal,

Danny

58 Comments

  1. Nicolette Anderson

    So well spoken, Danny. Thank you for your wise words, even at a time of such intense pain.
    I will take them to heart.

  2. Linda

    Beautiful post. I'm so very sorry for your loss.

  3. Chris

    Lovely thoughts. Glad you are able to pull something so positive from something terrible.

  4. Carol

    Danny, I am just stunned and saddened by this news. You and Jack are in my thoughts and my prayers.
    I'm drawing now because of you and Patti – I can't thank you enough.

    I'm very sorry for your loss, and for our loss, too.

  5. Gil SY

    I'm very sorry about this story.
    Take care.

  6. Hashi

    I, too, draw because of you. Thank you Danny and Patti.

  7. Martha

    Danny:

    What a wonderful tribute and an inspiring message. Your wisdom and insight continue to amaze me. When I heard about Patti I was quite distraught and the only thing I could think of to do was to draw. I wasn’t sure I could do it but once I started it felt right: I was honoring her. I am very glad to hear that drawing is bringing you some measure of solace. I think of you daily and you are in my heart.

  8. Shandara

    I'm so sorry for your lost… I've been reading you for years, and bought many of your books. Drawing can ben a powerfull healing medium, I'm glad to hear that you got back at it. With love.

  9. Sherri

    My deepest condolences. The inspiration sparked by both you and Patti lives on.

  10. Casey

    Heartfelt condolences, Danny. Your family has inspired so many people, and will continue to do so. Bon courage.

  11. Melody

    What better evidence of a real love story, than your dedication to her expressed here and in your continued artistry. I am so sorry for your loss. Your creativity and your strength are an inspiration to us all. Sending all my hopes for you and your family to find peace and happiness always.

  12. Frances

    Danny, we are so sorry for your loss of your love and companion. We send our compassion and support from Seattle and continue to be grateful for all that you and your family have offered up to the world. The creative healing flame burns brightly.
    In sympathy,
    Frances and Jeff in Seattle

  13. Margaret Ann

    Dear Danny and Jack…

    One's beautiful spirit can never leave us upon death…It just reenergizes
    itself into the hearts of those who care and love…It reignites one's thoughts
    and one's actions. May tiny bits of Patti's energy and zest for life become part
    of each of our artistic Muses too…and may those bits decorate our palletes
    with the celebration of life. I rededicate my art and sketching to
    living…really living…and seeing that everyday really DOES matter. Thank you
    for your inspiration and insight. It was you who started me on this journey…It
    is Patti who now redirects my footsteps.

    May you find peace and light and and smiles in your souls!
    Margaret in Arizona :)

  14. ron

    Danny, I am so sorry to hear this news. Please know that my thoughts are with you and Jack.

  15. Sharon

    Dear Danny, I teach a drawing class at a community college. I have shared your books with my students ever since you started publishing. I have shown them your videos and played your podcasts. I'd like to print out this post and give it to the students I teach this semester. Your inspiration, Patti's inspiration, goes out far into this universe.
    I have been thinking about you, Jack and Patti all week. Words fail me. Just know how much we all care.

  16. Bill Sharp

    I'm so sorry to hear this terrible news, Danny. My condolences to you and Jack.

  17. Lindy Kline-Geertz

    Oh my….I stumbled onto your blog from the same stumbling that led me to 'studio beerhorst'…another blog that I recently visited after seeing a link posted on face book.Your blog was referenced on "Studio Beerhorst" and I gave it a click!
    I am deeply sorry to read of your wife's passing. I don't know you at all but can feel your pain, if only to a small degree. I will continue to visit your blog in hopes of observing your progression through grief and life as it continues for you.
    I'm a woman who intimately knows God, the Father and will pray that you might look to Him for strength and Hope. Reaching across the internet with encouragement….

  18. Jane LaFazio

    love you Danny. Art heals, you're so right. hang in there. hugs to Jack.
    xo

  19. kass

    I too, am a teacher who has shown your work to students in my efforts to have them grow to love drawing as I have. I have read your shared story with Patti and admired your courage, and I continue to do so now as you grieve your beautiful partner and your eloquent words of love for her. She may be gone in body but she will remain alive in spirit through you and your son. My deepest condolences on what must be a debilitating loss, you will remain in my thoughts.

  20. Trevor

    One other hobby that Patti had was collecting friends. I am so glad that she collected me as a friend because the mere thought of her evokes a warm, beautiful, rich, glowing, sunrise in my heart!

  21. Christie

    Danny I am deeply sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you and Jack at this time. Please know that your family mission has touched many lives out here. Not only within my family, but those of the learning disabled children I work with at school. Being able to see the beauty in small things is a teachable gift that stays with people so they can use it when they need it most. Thank you for teaching me how to see.

  22. Carlos

    I'm a stranger who owned one of your books and visits your site every now and then. I am so sorry for your loss. You are a special person. Please keep up your good work.

  23. Jo Reimer

    Dear Danny and Jack,
    Please accept my heartfelt condolances on the loss of your dear wife and mother. I know she was the star of your universe and she'll be greatly missed. May God's peace be with you.

  24. Marie

    When a person crosses the veil leaving their loved ones mourning words seem so inadequate.I offer my prayers that your art will continue to bring you some small solace during this saddest of times.

  25. Sheila

    Danny,
    So very sorry to find this news on your blog. How sad and tragic to lose her. My sincere condolences and best wishes for you and Jack as you learn to move forward with out her.
    Sheila

  26. claudine hellmuth

    I am so terribly sorry to hear of your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts!

  27. Chiqui

    Dear Sir,

    My sympathies, Mr. Gregory and to the beloved family who inspired and brought me and many others back to drawing and true creativity.
    You are so loved…and Patti's big spirit lives on.

    With gratitude and love, always LOVE,
    Chiqui Pineda-Azimi
    Toronto

  28. jchinique

    So sorry to hear the news. I have been following your stories through your books and want you to know that you have both changed lives. Please keep moving forward in whatever way you can, and thank you for sharing your lives.

  29. Tim Fuller

    Danny – I am not a man easily brought to tears….but here I sit with tears rolling down my face. I join with the others in offering my thoughts, prayers and condolences in the loss of Patti. I don't know how I got to your site, you see this was the first time just a few minutes ago and there was a certain personal attraction the futher I read. Then, I clicked into the next page that read 'Patti's Passion.' I felt horrible – it was like my best friend's wife had passed away. It would seem like everybody that posted here feels the same way Danny. I wish you peace – a new friend, Tim Traverse City, Mi

  30. Kip

    My apologies for being unaware of you or your wife here in the US, but your moving tribute to her and her wonderful way of loving and living life in every moment possible was extraordinary. You must have had quite a relationship with her in order to be so strong and positive after the loss of her. Quite a beautiful way of remembering her (anyone, really)…what you have written is indeed the truth. Aloha ‘Oe (…until we meet again…)

  31. Aude-Noelle Nevius

    Danny, how saddening: I am very sorry to learn about Patti passing away. Somehow, through your work, she had become as familiar as Jack, and I was simply shocked to read your post. I hope that you eventually find peace in your heart; maybe you already have as what you wrote was the most amazing comment in the face of this event. You are very courageous, and I am happy that your art is there to help you out.
    Also, what you wrote about Patti… it’s the most amazing, loving eulogy.

  32. bobbie

    HI Danny, You have beautifully captured Patties spirit in your words. Luca has been so sad lately and the only remedy that I could think of for him was to pick up a pad and pencil. He’s not much of an artist and seems to have little interest in it. But… I asked him to draw something for me the other night to get his sadness out of his system. It’s a start. A creative mind can’t be stagnant. I hope that he will continue to reach for his pad and pencil. Luca also wants to know if Jack can come and hang out with us sometime. I”m not allowed to call it baby sitting but I guess that’s what wit would be. We love you all. Bobbie

  33. Dan

    Dear Danny & Jack, my sincerest sympathies on your loss. Patti seemed like an incredible, wonderful person.

    I discovered your books during a trying time in my own life and heeded your advice to draw, draw, draw. Your inspiring words, blogs, videos and podcasts have helped me, and countless others, through difficult days — nudging us towards happier, healthier, more creative lives.

    Keep drawing, Danny. Keep loving, living and celebrating the wonder of the world!

  34. Annette

    Danny, I just joined EDM and heard about your lovely wife. My condolences to you and your son. It must be comforting to know how many hundreds of people Patti touched during her time here. That is a true gift, and one we must all aspire to. Know that you don’t know me, but I feel I know you and Patti and Jack Tea through your drawings and your poetic language. Thanks for sharing your life with us. You and your family have touched thousands and enriched our lives. My very best to you.

  35. Brian McDermott

    Danny, we are so sorry to hear of your tragic loss. To discover this site and it’s amazing spirit and all the people you’ve touched at same time of learning of your family’s loss, there are no words that seem appropriate right now. But I’ll be buying my daughter and myself our first journals today. You and your family will be in our prayers.

  36. ndupree

    Danny -

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know what you are going through. My own beloved husband died unexpectedly November 30. I haven’t been able to draw since. Your words are inspirational. Your books and drawings are divinely inspired. Thank You

    Nancy

  37. susan

    You made me cry………you inspire me!

  38. Kia

    My sincere condolences to your family. I knew Patti only through your books but that’s have been enought to understand how bright and strong woman she was.

  39. Roxana

    I can’t tell you how sorry I am to hear the news. It seems like the good ones are taken before their time. Perhaps it’s because they’re light years ahead of us when it comes to really getting what the universe has to teach us. As far as our Creator is concerned, their work here is done, and it’s time to move on to more magnificent dimensions. As for the rest of us, their example and memory challenges us to be half the person they were. What an inspiration she is to all of us. Prayers of peace & strength to you, Jack, and everyone who knew and loved her.

  40. Anne

    I am so sorry for your loss.I’ve been reading your blogs since a long time and you’ve helped me a lot in my creativity,and given me energy. So although I live in Europe I seem to know you and your family and wish I had met Patti.

  41. christine Brenner

    patti made everyone feel special and it was such a wonderful thing that i got to be her friend, I will miss her very much. danny and jack my thoughts are with you .

  42. Lou Niestadt

    Dear Danny, I had no idea! I just went over to your website because I wanted to post your link in an e-mail I was writing to show who inspired me (that would be you) when i saw this. I am blown away. I can’t imagine how you and jack must feel…. I am so, so sorry….!! I realize that it just mad a full circle. The passing of Patty just proved again that every day matters! Love! Lou

  43. Deborah

    I, like Lindy Kline-Geertz, am a woman who intimately knows God the Father through a relationship in His Son Jesus Christ. I grieved for your loss and for Jack’s. I am praying that you will find comfort in knowing that God is in control, even when life seems to throw random tragedies our way. Your art is such an inspiration to so very many people, including me. I have your books and love looking at your journals. So glad to hear you’re back to your drawing. Your current pages completed while you and Jack were in Boston are wonderful – full of hope and life! You are an inspiration!

  44. AnnaDenise

    So terribly sorry. I wish you lots of strength, warmth, peace and love. I hope your art will help you deal with this terrible loss.

    Sincere condolences from another stranger from across the world.

  45. Steph

    I was shocked and very saddened to read about Patti’s passing and it has taken me a good two weeks even to muster the courage to write a few lines which, no doubt, may sound perfunctory and not that felt. But what you cannot know is that your book, The Creative License, changed my life and that subsequently, both you and Patti, if only by proxy, became household names as I was referring to your drawings and thoughts on creativity with everyone who would listen (and with many who just don’t care to). I agree, you should continue drawing as if Patti were still your beta tester, for even though she ain’t next to you any longer, she will live forever in the eye of our inspiration.

  46. DebB

    I was so saddened to read about the loss of your lovely wife. You and an your son are in my heart and prayers. You have inspired so many with your art and now with your strength of spirit and now I look forward to seeing more of your creative endeavors as you continue to honor Patti’s memory in your art. Blessings to you and Jack.
    Debbie in CA

  47. Julia Mitchell

    Dear Danny,

    You don’t me, but I feel I know you – via your books. I also feel that I know both Patti and Jack (and your dog!) via the books. You’ve touched me and inspired me. You’ve *helped* me. I’m grateful. I just logged on to get inspiration toward drawing and I’m just shocked by this news. I wish I could give you something. ~My thanks. My wishes for you and Jack that you can be well. Love to you both. ~Julia

  48. Don

    I draw every day thanks to your books Danny and it makes me happy. I just now read about your loss and find it heartbreaking. Condolences and best wishes to you and your son.

  49. John Hume

    I have a friend who was in a terrible auto crash 11 years ago. He was only 19 at the time. He has always been an artist – in the crash he suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for several months. Since then he has had to relearn everything. He is back to drawing and painting. I shared my copy of Everyday Matters with his parents. They already had a great attitude but it gave them a different perspective. You and your family have been an inspiration to many of us; how to see the beauty in spite of whatever circumstances come our way.

  50. Eliza

    you and your family are in the hearts of so many.
    sending you the warmest possible thoughts and prayers. because words are not enogh.
    Eliza from Poland

  51. trh

    My deepest and most heartfelt condolences.
    Your work and your life are a gift to others, just as Patty was a gift to you.
    peace be with you,
    –trh

  52. Marisol

    Hi Danny, my name is Marisol Covelo, I am a woman who writes from Spain (Europe) I feel the death of your wife, she was so beautiful and seems so happy in the pictures …
    Now you are going through a special time of mourning, when you have to look inside yourself and rebuild your life with your child. I hope you recover soon.
    You do not know me but I’m one of your followers, you are one of my contacts on Facebook as our mutual friend Tommy Kane.
    Here, thousands of kilometers from your country has encouraged me to draw and express myself with drawing. Thank you very much for all the things I learned from you.
    Courage and forth. May God bless you and give you strength.
    A big hug.

  53. Margaret

    Danny – I just discovered you this Feb ( 2010) and have started an illustrated journal – half filled a black 5×8 book with stuff I didn’t even know I could do or imagine. As a 63 yr old retired teacher – I am blown away by this new discovered part to myself. You have been an amazing inspiration. I have given your book to 2 people since Feb so far! I am so very sorry to hear of your loss and admire your spirit and honesty. I will keep following you and Jackonline and hold you in my heart.

  54. Barbara J Daley

    Danny Gregory,
    Here it is, May 22nd up in Fort St John, northern British Columbia, Canada, with 6 inches of fresh snow. You are probably my favourite mentor, along with Julia Cameron. I have in my library “An Illustrated Life” and “Creative License”.

    I only check in on your website every couple of months, and tonight I was shocked and saddened to read of the loss of your wife.I know your family has positively affected many people, and I know you can not respond to individual e-mails, but
    my heart aches for you and your son. Keep on keeping on, Danny ,you are a shining light in this world of ours.

  55. Suzanne

    Dear Danny,

    I don’t know how to explain how much you and your beloved wife have inspired me. As an artist that has difficulty and stumbles over herself when jumping into a project (that is always overcomplicated by my design), it’s time to make a change. I believe that we need more Patti’s in this world. Thank you for sharing some of her here.

    My thought’s and prayers are with you,
    Sue

  56. Kelly Wagner

    I have not logged on to your website since around Christmas. I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of your wife’s passing. Because of what you shared about her in your books, I had come to respect and admire her courage and spunk from afar. She was so full of life and left a real legacy. My heart goes out to you and Jack.

  57. Parka

    Take care, dude.

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