Mickey Sumner, Sting’s daughter, connected with the daughter of a fan to help grant the man’s last wish — that Sting be given a portrait he painted of him
Happy stories in the news are sadly rare these days as the coronavirus pandemic continues, so when a joyful tidbit surfaces, we are only too happy to bask in it. Humans of NY has spent years bringing us meaningful and touching stories of people coming from all walks of life. A story from earlier this week is now going viral because it involves an incredibly sweet story and a very famous pop artist.
“I was five when he became a person in my world. I didn’t know exactly who he was. I just knew that there was someone around that was making my mother smile,” began the story of an unnamed woman who recently lost her father. “He worked at an auto shop, airbrushing designs onto the side of vans. I think he dreamed of being an artist. But he needed something more stable. So after he decided to marry my mom, he became a cop,” she explains.
But he “never lost touch with his creative side.” Along with building things himself, he encouraged his daughter’s creativity too, paying her 50 cents for any “good” stories she wrote. “One day he built a little art studio at the back of our house,” she shares. “And he painted a single painting—a portrait of Sting that he copied from an album cover. But he got busy with work and never used the studio again.”
“He was always saying: ‘when I retire.’ ‘I’ll go back to art, when I retire.’ ‘I’ll show in a gallery, when I retire.’ But that time never came,” she says. After being diagnosed with MS in 1998, her dad slowly deteriorated. He went into home hospice where his daughter says he had “no regrets” about the life he lived. Well, maybe one.
“During his final days, we were going through his possessions, one by one. He was telling me who to give them to,” she recounts. “I pulled the Sting painting out of an old box, and asked: ‘What should I do with this?’ His response was immediate. ‘Give it to Sting,’ he said. All of us started laughing. But Dad grew very serious. His eyes narrowed. He looked right at me, and said: ‘Give it to Sting.’ So I guess that’s my final assignment.”
Luckily, Sting’s daughter Mickey Sumner happened to see the feature on Humans of NY.
Sumner left a comment asking HONY to send her a message so she could get in touch with the man’s daughter and HONY must have delivered, because Sumner later posted in the comments, “We connected! And working out logistics. Love love love.”
Love indeed. Losing a parent isn’t easy and as we move through adulthood and gain a more clear understanding of things our parents might have sacrificed or set aside (like art talent in favor of a more stable career to support a family) to make our lives better, we grow to love them even more. Sumner helping this woman realize her dad’s dying wish, having his brilliant work seen by someone he respected, is pure magic.