U.S. author Hope Edelman describes in “The After Grief” the Portuguese “saudade” as a “feeling of longing for a person, place, or object that’s been loved and lost with equal measures of joy for having had the love and sadness for having lost it.” She adds that saudade is “also known as ‘the love that remains,’ stationed at the midpoint along the spectrum between gratitude and sorrow.”
I had a dog named Dingi 20 years ago. That little one was not well. Bringing Dingi home from the hospital, my mother and I knew the puppy would leave us soon. While I ended up sleeping, my mother, awake all night long, could watch Dingi stumbling over the kitchen, my room, and the porch and lowering its head before closing its eyes. All the spots were Dingi’s favorite. The little baby used to chew slippers in the kitchen, lie on the back in front of my room or roam around the porch.
My mother has got a new one named Hodoo at her place. Despite our determination not to love any other animal friend ever again, we could not help but fall in love with Hodoo at first glance. However, the old days often interrupt the present. Looking at this fluffy baby sniffing here and there reminds me of Dingi enjoying the same thing when alive, aching my heart awfully as if I was gulping down hot oil stuff.
We all know my mother will also have to give it goodbye someday. Wishing that Hodoo will never have the last moment just as Dingi, her heart sorrowfully warms up to a certain temperature, which nicely illustrates that Dingi still has a special place in the heart of all of us. I only hope that it is the temperature at which our love is burning for Hodoo.
Dingi helped me learn how life repeats in the cycle of joy, longings, and sadness. Indeed, a heart feeling a sense of loss is still scorching hot. Although it hurts as if we got so bad a burn, we want to believe that hugging Hodoo gives us more than sorrow and connects us somehow. This is when I often try to remind myself of Edelman's phrase. I only feel that it may be saudade in my heart.