Saudade – The Joys and Sorrows of a Love Lost

In Random Musings by Eudaimonia Comments

Saudade…pronounced (saa-oo-dad, or sow-DAH-djee), is one of the most beautiful words ever to grace the lips of humanity.

It’s a Portuguese word that has no direct translation in English, and it describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.

Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing may never return. Saudade can most simply be described as “the love that still remains” after someone is gone.

Saudade is a recollection of feelings, experiences, events, or places that once brought excitement, pleasure, and well being, which now trigger the senses and force you to live the experience once again.

It can be the memory of the first time you locked eyes with your lost lover.

-It can be the waking memory of all the times you arose in the morning and found her still asleep next to you; and how every time that occurred you mentally noted, “I’m the luckiest guy alive”, before returning to your role of “big spoon”.

-It happens when you’re presently watching a new Woody Allen movie and are reminded you can’t share it with her.

-It could be hearing that 90’s song on the radio- probably a Cranberries song, or God forbid- Alanis Morrisette, and being reminded of the 90’s jam party you had for the last 100 miles of a 13-hour road trip.

-It could be the thought of those 1000 rapid little kisses you got from her one night while lying on a bed in the middle of a desert.

-It could be stumbling across a photograph and remembering the first time you exchanged “I love you’s”.

-It could be the last conversation you ever had with her. It could be the way she laughed. The way she smiled. Or the way she touched.

Whatever the trigger, saudade brings the emotions of sadness and happiness all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.

Portuguese writer, Manuel de Melo defined it most aptly as “a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy”.

If you’ve lost someone, quite frankly the emotions of saudade can be kind of a bitch. Saudade pulls on the heart-strings of the past and erases the mental picture of the future at the same time. It’s the ego’s way of fighting the emotional dis-identification with events that occurred and were to occur.

When you’re consumed with saudade you’re living a tug-of-war from past to future, and there’s simply no way to be present. It’s the phenomenon that makes the time after a loss of a relationship so tough, so draining, and so foggy.

As a person who has had his fair share of losses, I can only say that they never really get easier. Sorry, but it’s true.

If you’re a lover who always throws yourself fully into a relationship, you’re bound to get burnt. But hey, all the greatest lovers know this is the potential price…yet they surrender themselves to love anyway.

To know love fully, you have to have the courage to surrender your heart to the moment; be fully with your lover and let your mind go wild with all the unbridled possibilities of sharing adventures and a life with someone.

There are no brake pedals when you experience real love.

I recently lost a relationship that I had so deeply cherished. One I had never entertained an end (Silly I know…but I am the consummate starry-eyed romantic).

It was a beautiful relationship and I gave everything I could to it. Every ounce of my being and every thread of my soul – and for that I’m proud. I’ve loved unconditionally, still love unconditionally, and I’ve grown so tremendously from the experience.

But letting go has been so unbelievably hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. Finding a passion for someone that strong is unbelievably rare. Some people go their entire lives without knowing it. The thought of extinguishing that passion is a nightmare.

So I’ve tortured myself with the pain of saudade, just so I haven’t had to let go of the happiness of my so many recollected experiences.

I’ve held on – winced, cried, and laughed all at the same time. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride. It’s been bitter-sweet.

Slowly it gets better though.

Re-focusing on yourself goes a long way in helping you get through difficulties.

Now is the time to be selfish. Now is the time to care for you. Now is the time to love yourself.

Self-Actualize. Work out. Meditate. Read. Journal. Yoga. Eat Healthy. Quit Smoking. Apply for Jobs. Move your life forward.

Or as the Portuguese say – Matar a(s) saudade(s)!

Which loosely translates to kill the longing, or to get back in touch. Get back in touch with yourself?  Life’s full of double meanings…everything is a tragedy or comedy, there’s really only a difference in perception.