A text from Miranda

Many of the observations and realizations that came to me during the period covered by A Kiss Before You Go didn’t appear while I was sitting with my sketchbook open on my lap.  I had thoughts in the middle of the night, while walking to my office, while brushing my teeth, and I would jot them down on scraps of paper or tap them into my phone.  Some of these thoughts were unique and didn’t recur, some were dreams, some were conversations. Many fell into particular categories and my subconscious would polish and deepen them over time. Occasionally, I would put a thought into my sketchbook and later have a better and truer version of that same idea. In the final, published book, I sometimes replaced the first mental sketch with this more developed thought. But at least 75% of the words in the book are the ones that came to me as they are in the page.

Here’s an example, a snippet of a text message from my sister that I saved and look back at when I need it.

“Remember — there were shitty times days and moods when Pat was alive. This is just what life is now and will change again. I promise you that.” — Miranda

She should know.  In addition to Patti’s accident and death, Miranda had to deal with the sudden death of her own husband. Less than a year after they were married, Brian died in his sleep, suddenly, unexpectedly. SInce that tragedy, she has remarried and has a daughter. My sister has had an unfair share of tough times but she has come through them with resilience and refused to let them toughen her soul. She remains empathetic, loving, loyal and smart.

My sister was also Patti’s best friend. She knew her so well and she was so right to say to me in so many words, “Don’t glamorize the past. Accept the present. Don’t despair of the future.” When someone dies, it’s tempting to put them on a pedestal and to think that happiness is vanishing down the sluice hole of the past. Guilt can be overwhelming. And sadness can seem like a never-dissipating fog.

When Patti died, Miranda was the first person by my side and she has guided me through the days since. She is a wise and beautiful person. I’m lucky to have her and to be able to learn from the vast experience of my kid sister.

It’s at the crossroads of life that you learn who is truly there for you.

14 thoughts on “A text from Miranda

  1. thanks for this little tribute to your sis. I’m so glad she’s there for you. Makes me remember how my big brother was there for me, when Don was first hurt. And yes, “It’s at the crossroads of life that you learn who is truly there for you.” soooooooooooooo true.
    By the way, how’s you mum?

  2. Danny, your sister sounds like a beautiful person… i love your last line, about being at the crossroads. I got your book from Amazon this week and read it in one sitting. i love Patti too now. :-) I bought a few books for some friends for Christmas. Can’t wait for them to read it. xox

  3. Those of us who have family to love and support us, through the good times and the bad, are truly blessed. Don’t know what I’d do without my sisters, brother, nieces and nephews…they continually nurture and restore me. How lucky you are to have Miranda in your life!

  4. Very thoughtful reflection that made me think about my own brothers, and how they are there when I need them.Eagerly awaiting the arrival in our mail of “A Kiss Before You Go”, as well as the pre-order of Illustrated Journeys. There is only one book you have written that I DON’T have….”Bad Dogs”! I think I’ll order that next…

  5. I cannot read this book in one sitting. I have been reading it over time…a page or two at a time. I react very emotionally to it. I have to read a bit and then let it rest. Sometimes for several days. Yesterday my husband and I were driving down 80 to pick up our grandchildren for the weekend.
    I started reading it. I read a page and started crying. I asked if I could share it with him. He could handle about a page and then asked me not to read it to him while he was driving. What it does is make me that much more aware of how precious life is, how precious relationship is. We take so much forgranted each and every day. Reading your pages reminds me to reach for his hand. It reminds me to think about him in a positive light, even when he is doing something annoying. Because thinking of life without him is excruciatingly painful. I will continue reading your book very slowly. I appreciate your sharing. I appreciate your text. I appreciate your drawings/paintings. And I appreciate being reminded that life has both good and bad stuff in it. And therefore I need to really focus on the good stuff while it’s here to enjoy. Now I am going back to be with my husband and my grandkids who are still here, but I wanted to write this before it got away from me in the everydayness of life.

  6. Hi Danny!
    I’m from Barcelona, in Catalonia (Spain). I discovered your blog two months ago and I have to look at it every day. I have read “An Illustrated life” and “A kiss before you go”. I’ve got no words that could express how deep I was moved reading this last one. And in a way I felt that it was so unfair that such a thing happened to a couple that loved each-other so much. There’s so many couples that are together and don’t actually love themselves… I did not dare to write to you in the beginning because of my name. I wanted to use a fake name not to remind you of your wife. But then… this is my real name. And I thought it wouldn’t be honest with you. And your book is so honest and sincere…
    The last thing I want to say is that I lost my mum (who was a painter, an artist) also when I was fifteen, like your son Jack. This was on the 10th of december of 1984. I have thought of her every single day. I think that there’s always a before and after. It is sad that Jack had to pass a situation like this at an early age. It changes a person so much, that afterwards it is always something that makes you feel a bit different from the people your age. I mean that it’s impossible to find anyone who hasn’t experienced a death during his or her lifetime. Everyone will have to experience a loss sooner or later…But it is always better much later than sooner. I always say that death is the only thing we know for sure that is going to happen to us. You can get married or not, you can travel or not you can do one thing or another… but one day we will have to face death. And yet everyone does not believe it when it happens!
    But a good thing of something so terrible is that afterwards you always enjoy deeply every little moment. You know that they don’t last for ever.
    Thanks Danny for opening your heart in such a way that echoes in lots of other hearts… even if we are far away, in different cultures or countries.
    Excuse my english and mistakes, please!
    Oh, by the way, tomorrow I’ll go to get “The creative license” because I ordered some days ago and it has arrived!!! I can’t wait!!! Good night!
    Patti

    • Dear Patti (nice to write that):
      Your words are meaningful and lovely. I am so glad that mine have touched you too.
      I think you are probably right, that learning about the inevitability of death is a good lesson to learn early and get it over with.
      But on the other hand, if you experience profound loss when you are young do you start to take it for granted, to have a harder time establishing intimacy and trust because you “know” it is all temporary? What’s your experience with that?
      Danny

      • Dear Danny:
        Thank you so much to have answered my comment… I think that your book is like a travel guide, but not to a city or country. It’s a travel guide to a part of one’s soul. Nowadays it’s quite hard to find someone that can talk about this intimate states. I think the world is a better place thanks to you. You are a really sensitive soul.
        And now, to answer your question… I think that more than being afraid to establish intimacy and trust, is maybe that you are longing for “it” so much that maybe other people think of you of too intense. Know what I mean? And specially when you are a teenager! I guess that the problem is that maybe that makes you a more serious person. But of course that depends on the person’s personality and character. But Jack has you! And I think that if you can make him express himself through art, through words… And If you make him feel “secure” that he’s going to have you there for whatever happens… It’s going to be okay. And as I see you are not afraid of talking of this things! So he is not going to have to push his feelings deep in to his inner life just because there’s no one willing to listen to them. It is obvious that you are such a kind parent! I know probably sometimes you doubt about that when you feel overwhelmed… but I think that it’s obvious your deep love for him! Trust in his future! He’ll find someone that will fit and correspond him! He’ll smile again! (and yes! sometimes you feel guilty of being happy again! You think of yourself as a traitor or something! And sometimes you start panicking thinking: “Oh my god! How was her face? I think I am forgetting! or her voice or her smell!) But then, you have to think that this does not mean you did not love her! And she would not want at all that you would torture yourself! In fact she would be very sad to see you are bitter or unhappy! And then you feel guilty of feeling sad… and so on… But the best antidote is having a sense of humor! And you and Jack have that as well (I saw it with the detail of the hangers that look like a dinosaur).
        Well Danny, sorry for this long answer, I just hope that my english is good enough to understand what I meant. Lots of love and imagination!
        Patti
        Ps: I already have “The creative license” and I want to read it as soon as possible to see if I don’t block my creativity anymore.
        Ps2: If you are curious of my mums paints you can see some of them in http://www.margitkocsis.net

        • Patti and Danny, I feel almost as if I am eavesdropping here LOL, I just wish there was a like button here! So much of what you have written Danny resonates with my own personal situation, and your response too Patti resonates with me as well. Funny how seeing it written down, about someone else makes so much sense! All the very best to you both for the forthcoming holiday season. This will be the third holiday, of just me and my daughter after so many years it being three of us, but it’s correct what people say, it does get easier as time goes by xx

    • Hello Beverley! Thank you very much for your words. I also want to wish you all the very best for this x-mas. And I hope you and your daughter connect and hug each other a lot! I think it is important to be “hugged” (I don’t know if this is the correct word) a lot!!!
      Patti

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