One of the best paintings my dad ever did is back in the fold. It’s my favorite painting. When my dad passed in 2010 his wife was a mess. She was depressed and distraught and not herself. She was pretty much out of her mind. My sister and I did not think it was a good time to broach the subject of what was to become of “the paintings”. Our dad’s paintings. We let her be with her grief and confusion and we bided our time. We knew our dad had wanted us to have his paintings. He had said so as he lay there declining. But Teresa was not her normal self. She had made a scene when he suggested to my sister that we should have his paintings. So my dad let it go and did not change his will. We took his lead and when he finally passed we let all his paintings go to her. We hoped that she would sell a few to help her gain her footing. My dad had taken so much of the lead in their marriage. We weren’t sure she could cope financially. But she never did sell any.
So time came and went and we bided our time waiting for just the right moment. Then the shock came. Teresa had passed away quickly. The diabetes that she had suffered from childhood put her in a coma and she never came out. She had gotten the flu, didn’t hydrate well and her blood sugar went through the roof. I had just spoken to her the day before she got sick. We were unprepared. The next thing you know we’re being named as executors of her will and we’re in the thick of it. We’re wondering what is to become of our dad’s paintings?
Then the second shock hits us. The remaining 80 originals by our dad are to go to to Teresa’s brothers. In a fluke of legalese “all my paintings” become our dad’s paintings as well. Her brothers don’t care a fig about our dad’s paintings. They’re righteously angry that instead of giving them her farm, the homestead part of the family farm, she’s asking us as executors to sell it and give the proceeds to the University of Iowa diabetes research facility. The milk of human kindness does not enter into the equation. They’re all about the money, honey.
But it has a “happy” ending. Not “HAPPY” just “happy”. I scrounge and find enough money to buy two of the best. I can only afford two out of the entire 80. But they're the two that I’ve seen so often for years and years. The ones I’m most attached to and seem in my estimation to be quintessential Dad. Now one hangs on my wall and it’s like an old friend that I know and love. The other I give to my sister who can’t afford any. It just looks right over there on my wall. I was supposed to have it and it’s back in the family like it was supposed to be all along.
It rankles me that I had to buy it but I think that before long I’m going to be in this frame of mind: “Quality is Remembered Long After Price is Forgotten.”
This is Teresa. Heroic and Humanitarian. She had a grand idea and she made it happen.