|The polaroid we are holding in this photo, at our wedding, now sits in my bedroom. A snapshot in time from a beautiful, joy-filled day that perfectly defines my saudade.|
I'm not talking about sex, it's that so-hard-to-describe feeling that would come over me when I was in his presence. Like a mixture of safety, calm, tingling with excitement that he was mine, feeling confident and accepted. It was like being home.
Even when he hasn't been on my mind this week, I've noticed that my arms have been yearning to hold him and my head really wants to rest on his chest. My ears are straining to hear his laugh and my eyes are missing seeing him walk in to the room.
My fingers are stretching out to his hand that is no longer here to hold. As I wander around our house I find myself running my finger tips over his things, like I'm sub-consciously trying to connect with the items that he used to touch.
Walking down our staircase my mind drifts to all the times I followed him up and down it. The day we moved into our home when, while carrying furniture upstairs with my brother-in-law, they put a couple of dints in the wall. I touch these marks now and still overheard Dan say 'don't worry mate, I'll tell her in was my fault.' He was my person and I couldn't be annoyed with him. Also, I was just too happy to be starting our life together in our new home to care about the damage.
I think about that very last time he walked down the stairs and into our kitchen where I was making his breakfast, waiting to say goodbye as he left for work. I try again, for the millionth time, to get in to his head that morning and my heart cries out 'why didn't you talk to me. Please come home.'
I haven't had this particular 'physical ache' type of missing him for a long time. I felt like this constantly in the first year but more recently, the missing him has been one of the many other variations - missing having my life partner / companion / team mate; missing the life we were supposed to be living right now, the child we were planning on welcoming in to our happy life; missing that person who I could completely let my walls down with, who embraced and adored every last flaw.
Again, I'm reminded how complicated grief is and marvel that it still has the ability to catch me unaware when it manifests in a different way. Usually, just as I've started to get comfortable with it.
One of the ladies in my on-line support group here in Australia recently introduced me to the term 'saudade'. There is no English equivalent to this Portuguese word, however loosely translated it describes a melancholic incompleteness or nostalgic longing for something or someone who is absent.
It's the repressed knowledge that the much-loved object of longing may never return - whether it be a homeland far away, a happy moment in time that can never be relived, a lost lover, or a family member who has died.
It brings together 'sad' and 'happy'. Sadness for the sense of what is missing and happiness for having known the experience in the first place.