In Celebration of Life, Death and Love

Those of you who follow my blog know that I’ve written about my parents – both musicians and artists in their own right – here, here and here.  Living in such a creative family has inspired me to find my own creative niche and to strive to reach the highest artistic level possible.

It is therefore with great sadness that I write to say that my father, Gil Miranda, passed away in the early hours of the morning on March 29th, 2014.  This post in memory of my father also honors my mother who was his faithful and loving companion for 45 1/2 years.

Ma's hands

 

These hands steered the car safely to and from your doctor’s appointments,

And gripped the steering wheel to rush you to the emergency room.

These hands helped hold you up as you tried to regain your strength and walk,

And combed your hair and shaved your beard when your own hands shook too much.

These hands made you chicken soup so that you wouldn’t have to eat hospital food,

And fed it to you when you became too weak to feed yourself.

These hands worked the knitting needles in the long hours spent by your side,

And squeezed your hand hard when you remarked calmly that your legs were beginning to go numb.

˜

These hands now wear your wedding band,

And are folded just so to shield the world from seeing the worry and care.

˜

These hands will be put to work again soon

To create beauty in clay and coax flowers from the soil.

Because these hands are connected to a body and soul

Rich with memories and love for you.

 

If you would like to read a little more about my father’s life, you can do so here.

And to see his jewelry website, please click here.

 

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29 Comments

Filed under Influences

29 responses to “In Celebration of Life, Death and Love

  1. Beautiful, Joana. This brought me to tears (again). Love, your sister.

    • Thank you, Marta.

      I’m so glad that we could be with Pa and that we shared in this experience together. I hope you are able to get a little rest and give yourself some TLC now.

      Know that I love you dearly. Always have, always will. Joana

      On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 4:54 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  2. Erin Pipal

    Joana, that was beautiful…

    hugs from WI, Erin

    • Thank you so much, Erin, for both this message and for your email. I so much appreciate that you were thinking of me (and us). It has been a difficult few days since my father’s passing, but I take comfort from the fact that I was always aware of how deeply my dad loved me, and that he also knew how much I loved him.

      A big hug, Joana

      On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 5:13 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  3. Joana it’s so touching . A hug.

    • Thank you so much, Deborah.

      Needless to say, our parents play a big role in shaping who we are. Because my father was 100% Portuguese (he didn’t come to the US until he was 40) I owe my Portuguese heritage entirely to him. And through him I also inherited a large Portuguese family of uncles, aunts, cousins and 2nd cousins. They have all been calling, emailing and sharing in the grief. Sad as it is, it is also a relief to be able to share the burden with so many other people who knew and loved my father.

      A big hug, Joana

      On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 7:05 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  4. Such warm and beautiful images filled with love and resiliency. Life carries us to the place where we finally rest. So sorry for your loss.

    • Thank you so much, Susan. I’ve been blessed to have such truly wonderful parents. My father will always be in my heart and that gives me a lot of comfort.

      With warmest wishes, Joana

      On Tue, Apr 1, 2014 at 7:46 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  5. julia

    Querida Joana,

    Tears came reading this.
    It is achingly beautiful because
    it is also so true.

    It is such a tribute to your parents’ bond
    and a recognition of the role of your mother
    in it. It brings a renewed focus to their
    creative life together and how beauty will
    continue to unfold in spite of sorrow.

    Thank you.
    Julita

    • Ola querida prima Julita,

      I wrote you a “snail email” (via gmail) just a little bit ago, so I’ll just send you um grande abraco e muitos beijinhos here.

      :-)Joana

  6. ladycotton999

    Comfort to you, your mother and sister. Thank you for sharing at this difficult time. You were blessed to have such a father.
    Martha Heiden

    • Thank you so much, Martha! It means so much to me to know that people are thinking of us and taking the time to learn more about my dad. He was a very unique man and I wouldn’t have wanted any other person to be my father.

      🙂 Joana

  7. My condolences to your and your family on your great loss. Thank you for sharing his artwork. I loved seeing where you inherited some of your talent.

    • Hi Celeste,

      Thank you so much! I really have been blessed to grow up with parents who love music and art. (Not to mention that they love me and my sister!)

      I look forward to trying to channel all of this love back into my art soon. In the meantime, a big hug and a thank you for being there for me!
      Joana

  8. Elizabeth Anderson

    Joana, sending all my love to you, your mom and sister! I loved your poem, photo, and reading all about your dad. Thanks for sharing all this with all of us!
    Betsy

    • Hi Betsy,

      Thanks so much for being there for me and for your love. I forwarded your email with the wise words to my mom and she loved reading it (as did I!)

      I look forward to seeing you again soon and giving you a hug!
      Joana

  9. Ken

    Dear Joana,
    My wife Emily and I, and our children, have been so blessed to spend two weeks every summer living next door to two such wonderful people. For the last ten years on Goose Pond they have enriched our lives in so many ways. Your Dad was one of the most beautiful souls we’ve ever met. We will miss talking to him over wonderful dinners with his amazing homemade bread. His passion for music, life and his beautiful girls was intoxicating. For us, he will always be in his chair sitting on the dock listening to the music of the loons. We wish you and your family all the blessings that memories can bring.
    Love,
    Ken, Emily, Harry and Dorothy

    • Hi Ken,

      What lovely words you wrote about my dad and my parents! I know that both my parents have enjoyed so much having you come each year to the Belanger’s cottage. And I’m hoping that you’ll be back this summer because I know that my mother would love to see you and have your company. I think opening up the cottage will be hard for her, but Andy and I are planning to drive with her from Oberlin to help. I know that we’ll carry my father’s spirit with us forever; and I am comforted by knowing how much he loved me and that he knew how much I loved him.

      A big hug to you all,
      Joana

  10. Evelyn Kountoupes

    Dear Joana,
    I received the news and this blog from Carla last night, just as I got off the plane from visiting her in NM. I am so glad she did that- what a wonderful tribute to both of your parents!- and that I have this opportunity to share in your sad news and loss. Aside from all his other talents, he was such a kind and gentle soul, even within his strengths, and I will miss seeing him on the street, in a store, sharing news of our children. He left 3 very strong women; so I take comfort in knowing that this will see you through the first longings you will have.. And, yes, he will be with you in every sense. Please give my love to your mom. Though I will try to see her, I want her to know I’m thinking of her before I may have that chance to be one of the many surrounding her right now. Much love to you, Evelyn K.

    • Hi Mrs. Kountoupes (Evelyn – but I still think of you so fondly as Mrs. Kountoupes!),

      Thank you so much for writing to me and for expressing your kind words about my dad. Oberlin is such a lovely community, and I’m glad more than ever that my mom is a part of it. Hearing from friends in the community who knew my dad from his various activities around town has been really touching. Where it came to social interactions, I always thought of him as extremely private and a little on the shy (perhaps even anti-social) side. So it’s really nice to hear that he touched many people in so many different ways.

      I’ll be back in town with my husband for the mass in my dad’s memory just after Easter. I’m glad that I can be back helping my mom again, and I know she’ll be grateful for the company, too.

      With lots of love,
      Joana

  11. Olá Joana,
    Neste momento difícil para ti, quero apenas apresentar-te, em meu nome e em nome da Teresa, as nossas sinceras condolências.
    Um abraço!

    • Ola Pedro,

      Muito obrigado para o que escrevistes e por os condolencias. At one point in the day following my father’s death, the phone started ringing off the hook with calls from our family and friends in Portugal. It was a surreal experience since all of the calls came practically at once. Knowing that so many people were touched by my father’s life and death is a profoundly moving experience.

      Um abraco para ti e a Teresa da tua amiga, Joana

      On Thu, Apr 3, 2014 at 9:18 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  12. T

    Beautiful poem, beautiful photo. Your Mom and Dad are an inspiring example of living the conscious life. I admire their striving for excellence in the meticulous attention they pay to everything they touch, and the love it demonstrated. I’m fortunate to be an observer and occasional participant, at least in the cooking area, of exquisite meals we shared in Ohio and at Goose Pond. What I will miss the most is going at it with your Dad over some small point of psychology or spiritual life. Your Mom showed the same loving, unwavering attention to caring for your Dad for those years he couldn’t do everything himself. Caretakers are true heroes. The world is fortunate to have had your parents in it, and I am lucky to be the sister and sister-in-law
    who came along for the ride. I love you. T

  13. My condolences, Joana! I just saw this. May your father rest peacefully in heaven and live forever in the hearts of loved ones.

    • Thank you so much, Natella. Your warm wishes mean a lot to me. My father will indeed live on in our hearts and our memory….and that is a great consolation to me!

      A big hug, Joana

      On Sun, Apr 6, 2014 at 5:57 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  14. Joana,
    As one friend said, you were blessed to have him as your father, but he was also blessed to have you as his daughter. I can’t imagine that he was anything but immensely proud of you. I am so glad to hear of your large extended family who will be support each other and will grow even closer after this. How hard this must be, I can only guess. Know that I am thinking of you. Love and all best to you and your family.
    – Pam

    • Hi Pam,

      Thank you so much for writing and for your support and love, as always! In addition to knowing how much my father loved me, I was also lucky to understand how proud he was of me. He could be very critical of my musical and artistic endeavors (and not always smart with his timing!), but he was also the one in tears at my recitals and the one who examined my jewelry renderings in minute detail.

      We are very lucky that a number of our Portuguese relatives will be able to come to my father’s memorial in June. It will be sad not to have him there, because his family was so important to him. So we’ll cling all the more to each other and celebrate all the good he brought to our lives.

      With lots of love and thanks, Joana

      On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 7:53 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:

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  15. Filipe Miranda (from Manchester, NH)

    Joana,

    This is so beautiful. I just learned the news and have no words to express what I’m feeling. Just yesterday Daniel mentioned the good times we spent with your parents at the lake house.
    Camila and I wanted you to know how sorry we are. Your dad will be missed.

    Love, Filipe

    • Ola Filipe,

      Thank you so much for writing and for your lovely condolence wishes. Goose Pond won’t be the same without o meu pai. He so loved being there with my mom, and enjoyed all of the familia who came to visit. I’m happy to be able to share that my father faced death with a calmness and courage that was beautiful to behold. In spite of appearances, he was really quite a strong person. I think it was that strength that kept him living and also took him quickly once he had decided that it was time.

      I’m so glad that our fathers got a chance to see each other this past year. My father enjoyed Tio Armando’s visit, getting to show him around and taking him to yoga. (I still chuckle when I think of both of them doing yoga together!)

      Um grande abraco e beijinhos para ti, Camila e Daniel da
      Joana

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