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Jan Darrow Geist, oil on canvas

Jan Darrow Geistby David R. Darrow
11" x 14" (27.9cm x 35.6cm)
Oil on Canvas Panel
This painting is not framed
Not For Sale
Collection of Doris Darrow
Sunnyvale, CA – USA

About This Painting

I started this painting on the one-year mark of the passing of my oldest sister Jan. She passed away on September 29, 2007 after a several-year battle with breast cancer.

During those years, she truly lived as a survivor, full of life, eager to help others and help carry the load of women at the hospital with whom she shared the room while getting regular chemo treatments.

have been
her 57th
if she’d
the tradition

In the end, her passing was a blessing as she was finally free from her tired and broken-down body. We miss her, but have so many fond memories, and so, in that sense she lives on with us.

Today would have been her 57th birthday if she’d continued the tradition, but she resides now in a place of Greater Celebration centered around honoring an Awesome Creator rather than the years she spent on Earth.

This painting now hangs on the wall of my mother’s home in Sunnyvale, CA. It is on a wall facing the entrance to the hallway, where my mom sees it every morning when she wakes up and walks down the hall to the kitchen to get her morning coffee.

On my Dave the Painting Guy show while I was creating this painting, I mentioned that I would probably give it to her husband, my brother-in-law Dan Geist. I hadn’t really thought much about where the painting would end up, and it was fairly last-minute that I even decided to paint it on the anniversary of her passing.

* * *

There are certain things that in the interest of decorum we just don’t talk about with some people in some circumstances. I had wanted to tell Dan at some point that I respected him highly for his marriage to my sister for some 32 years, but that I wanted him to know that I actually wanted him to find new love in his life… that I respected him so much as a man, a father and a husband that I would consider it a shame if some fine woman out there missed out on spending the rest of her life with this fine man. I wanted to tell him that I would never consider it the slightest dishonor if he decided to date or remarry.

A week or so after I painted this, Dan called to have a heart-to-heart and to tell me that he had been seeing a woman for the past few months, and he was feeling very strong feelings for her, that they got along wonderfully, and — always the gentleman — he wanted to know how he might “break it to my mom.”

I told him that he probably ought to tell her exactly as he told me, and that he should expect that she will be delighted at the news. Our family understands that “till death do us part” is, in fact a promise, with a distinctive limit. “Jan’s gone,” I said. “You can love her memory, but she’s not here anymore. You need to move on with your life — I believe Jan would have wanted that.” I knew my mother and siblings would agree.

Not that it mattered.

As we brought the phone conversation to a close, I said to Dan, “Oh, by the way, out of respect for you and your new love, I think I will send the original painting to my mom, instead.”

He laughed and told me “That would be great.” ◙

1 Comment

  1. Dave,

    What a pleasure (and emotional experience) it was to watch you paint this wonderful portrait. I am so glad to hear that your brother-in-law is finding happiness, and your sister’s painting is home with your mom.


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