A collection of doodles with a bit of commentary by RICK GREEN - your cartooning friend

Monday, January 4, 2010

Knock, Knock, Knockin' on Heaven's Door

It was a year ago, January 5th, that our family said goodbye to Jim.  Jim was my sister, Becky's, husband and a dear friend to me.  Becky asked me about creating an illustration of him as he entered heaven.  She had one idea for the doodle—I had another.  She let me go with my idea.

The death of a dear friend and loved one is not an easy subject to tackle as a cartoon—it is such a serious subject. Cartoons, obviously, tend to be more appropriate for humorous situations.  But how could I refuse my sister?

Once I got started the doodle went easier than I first thought it would.  This is not the first time that I've drawn Jim.  I created a birthday tribute to him back in September of '08.

Jim is a great guy, and after a 6.5 year battle with cancer he has received his reward.

I asked Becky to write a response so that I could add it to this post.  She was kind enough to send me this response.

Dear Rick,

My mind and my heart are overwhelmed tonight with missing Jim. I can hear him struggling for breath in my thoughts. I can see him trying to live even though his time here had come to an end. I pictured the Lord standing before him in those last seconds literally saying to him, "JIM! Come forth!"

When I asked you to draw me a picture to give to Jim's mom for Christmas, I envisioned you drawing a picture of him in a track suit, having made it to the finish line at the feet of Jesus. He would have looked exhausted but done with the race on earth. I saw him kneeling at Jesus' feet and the Lord pronouncing, "Well done good and faithful servant." But you had another idea and ultimately, I thought whatever was inspiring you would be what was best. I had no idea it would move me so profoundly.

When I first saw the picture, I was a well of tears. (I still am) You chose to picture Jim with all his hair back, with a anticipatory grin on his face and with an excitement in his demeanor. Even the angel was excited about what would take place. I really can't describe what that meant to me. I needed a picture of him that was whole again! He was so exhausted from his cancer battle when he died. It has been hard to get that picture out of my mind. The picture you drew has helped me with that.

I loved the picture so much I had you make several copies. I gave one each to the girls, one to Jim's brother and the original to Jim's folks. Everyone cried when they opened their picture. Dena told me that night that a couple weeks ago while she was at the mall, she had written a note to "Santa" and put it in a drop box. She told "Santa" she wanted to see her daddy for Christmas. She said her wish was granted with that picture.

Jim's mom called me Saturday and told me she was overwhelmed at seeing the picture. She said it is just what she needs to help her when she thinks of Jim in heaven.

Rick - you know I have always loved your artwork. It graces my walls throughout my house. But this is a masterpiece. Everyone who sees it is moved by the scene. It is my favorite Christmas gift. It was the hit and the tear-jerker of Christmas for us all.

I love you,


PS - And I know Jim is pleased to know the Egg-man made it to heaven with him.

I am so glad that everyone seemed to like the illustration.  I am honored to be asked to do it, and it is a point of pride that one of my creations brought so many tears of joy.  And, by the way, this isn't the first time that Eggy has made it to heaven.

Love ya!!


hello gorgeous said...

Hey gorgeous, I LOVE the feeling this picture has created for everyone, it's very special... ;o) x

Yankee Girl said...

Wow. This was so moving. You have me crying at work. Beautiful artwork.

need_a_latte_mom said...

Pretty Awesome and what an wonderful gift. God works in amazing ways

P.s. the rubber will stay ON the road with my head swiveling on a stick!

MaBunny said...

Oh Rick, what a sweet tribute to your brother in law. The letter showed just how much you can touch peoples lives with that fantastic talent of yours...Happy New year:)

T said...

What a lovely tribute.

I just found your site and I can't wait to add it and come back often!!

Hood River Jim said...

Thanks Rick.....

I love you.


Laura ~Peach~ said...

ok that brought me to tears... good tears but tears none the less... so bad they are Will have to come back later and seek eggy out... awesome doodle Rick I agree with your sister... top of the crop and so beautifully done.
love n hugs

Anonymous said...

Not sure what to say...touching and a blessing for your family to be treasured! You're quite a guy Rick!

grammie of 3 said...

That picture was so beautiful. Becky's remarks were so touching. I'm happy she has a new picture to focus on. Now, I need to get a tissue.

vjc said...

Rick and Becky, thank you for sharing this picture. I, too, was moved to tears. A dear friend passed away on Sunday and what a precious thing to be reminded of hope even in our grief. Becky, I will be praying for you and your family - that all the sweet and special memories will be fresh to balance the bittersweet ones.

Kat said...

What you do is always a gift, but this time you REALLY gave a gift!


Alice said...

bless you, rick. your talent is definitely God-given and you are able to touch the hearts of so many people. thanks for including your sister's letter - now i am sitting here in tears, too - i loved hearing her take on your drawing and what it means to her heart. just beautiful.

MapDoc said...

Absolutely beautiful - thank you and blessings bro!
George of the South

andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

oh, that's SO touching, Rick.

A WRITER said...

What a wonderful tribute to Jesus and to your loved one. AMEN - Might I use it in a way that would encourage those who are losing a loved one? Barbara

Rick said...

Hello Writer: Thank you for asking. While it's not marked as a "Copy & Share doodle, I don't think that my sister would mind you using it to encourage people. Just please keep me posted as to when and where you end up using it. God bless.