An Artist Wishes His Wife Farewell in Watercolor

Reading between the lines.
March 1 2013 7:40 AM

Farewell to Patti

A touching and beautiful goodbye, in watercolor, from a husband to his wife.

A spread from Danny Gregory's "A Kiss Before You Go"
A spread from Danny Gregory's A Kiss Before You Go

Courtesy of Chronicle Books

On March 18, 2010, Patti Gregory—in a wheelchair for years following a subway accident—fell from the eighth-floor balcony of her Greenwich Village apartment. In the year that followed, her husband, artist Danny Gregory, kept a vivid daily journal illustrating his life and that of his son, from Patti’s farewell party to the frustrating way her memory recedes for both of them. “When I think about Mom,” his son notes months later in the resulting book, A Kiss Before You Go, “sometimes it’s like a character on a show we don’t watch anymore.”

Gregory’s thoughtful writing is accompanied by his stunning watercolor paintings, which are so rich and wild they viscerally convey the wide swings of emotion he and his family endured. But the book is not depressing—or at least no more depressing than life is. It’s both a celebration of the woman Gregory loved and a clear-eyed look at the work it took to clean up the messes she left behind. And it’s tremendously moving, perhaps no more so than on this page, on which Gregory points out that he from time to time opens Google Street View to see his wife, captured by the all-seeing eye, walking their dog down LaGuardia Place.

We’re very proud to have Danny Gregory illustrating the March issue of the Slate Book Review.


Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.



More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
The Vault
Sept. 16 2014 12:15 PM “Human Life Is Frightfully Cheap”: A 1900 Petition to Make Lynching a Federal Offense
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.