Friday, October 05, 2012


 from wikipedia:

"Saudade is a unique Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English. Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. It's related to the feelings of longing, yearning. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone or something should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence."

i have saudade. for my father. where once there was uncontrollable grief and a world of what ifs, i now have a longing and a fondness. a remembrance of the things that made my father my father. the good parts of my father. i miss him.

i was listening to the actress, mindy kaling ('the office') on fresh air talk about the death of her mother (from the same disease my father died of coincidentally.) her mother had passed some months earlier. and i thought, i know nearly right where she is. in her grieving. right now. i can hear it in the tone in her voice. she's far enough along to be able to speak about her mother without fully breaking down, not far enough to keep the break out of her voice. her heart hovering just above her words. the loss sitting right there in her throat. during active grief it travels. it settles in different spots. i've felt it in the palm of my hand. i heard it in her throat.

what she said basically, and i'm paraphrasing here, was that when someone is that sick and dying, after they pass it's all we can think about about. the pain and the suffering. the hardship before the loss. it's some months before we are actually able to think about them and remember *them.* with memories unclouded by that pain and suffering and loss. about the 'before.' the ways in which we loved them. the things that made them who they were. not the death that took them.

and, that's exactly how it was for me. my father's death was so sudden and painful, his life so complicated. our relationship more so. it was months before i could remember all the things that made him the father i loved. the funny things he said and did. the way he just was just *him.* poster boy for the broken mold.

it feels like such a relief to simply miss someone instead mourn them.

i sit on my porch and marvel at where i landed and think, my father would enjoy this porch. there would be room for him here. in this life.

i drive on roads i have driven on all my life with him, i visit places he took me to when i was a girl, i look around my little neck of the woods and think, he would like this. he would like to know i am in john muir country. he would love to know i made it back home.

there are times i want so badly to share this with him, to make an observation only he would appreciate, to watch him relish a meal or a joke or a soft seat in the sun.

i think about him when i cook when i drive when i write. i think about him when i parent. and when he sends those pennies from heaven i grab each and every one up and i hold them close and i don't even need to make the wish.

and i am settled in our relationship in a way i never imagined was possible. he is my largest single influence and my biggest cautionary tale.

i have saudade. for the kid my teenager used to be. for awhile i would look at him and ALL i would 'see' was remembering that he was a baby and a toddler once. that i was his whole world. that we were inseparable, a LOT of that by his choice. and i was still in charge. and remembered and i missed him. even as he stood right in front of me. i missed that little boy. and that's all i saw.

and for awhile i would wonder, foolishly, why things have to change so much. why our little ones had to get big. and go farther than we ever let them before. without us. foolishly because i KNOW it's supposed to be that way. it's supposed to happen that they want to go far. to go away. it's suppose to happen that we stay back. and let them.

then one day i stopped. i stopped thinking about him as a baby and a boy. because i looked at him and realized, wow. i really really like this person right here in front of me. he's kind and interesting and talented and confident and yes he makes me crazy but good lord does he make me laugh. 

and then it became that i 'remembered' him as a boy, and 'saw' him as he is now. and remembered things that we used to do or ways in which we used to interact and the things he used to love, remembered them with fondness, but then set them aside and made room for him. now. building in time together where i can, adjusting the way in which i parent to match the profound and sometimes daily changes, but mostly just letting him grow into the person he's meant to be.

mostly trying not to hover, mostly trying to remember that biting one's tongue is a useful skill, mostly trusting that this is what is supposed to happen.

mostly with grace.


i have to think if my father read this blog he would think i was over thinking this all a bit. no, i DEFINITELY know he'd think that. but he knows better than anyone that i come by it honestly. when they break those molds what do you think happens to all those little pieces? i'll give you a hint, they don't get thrown away.

hey. it's friday. get away from the computer and go do something nice for yourself, okay?