One of the most famous words in Portuguese that doesn’t translate into English very well is saudades. It is also the one that is perhaps most needed, as it means the feeling of ‘missing‘; usually someone, or something (my translation). Instead of talking about an absence, as we do in English, the Portuguese speakers have a word for the presence of feeling we experience when something is far away.
I have a lot of saudades at the moment. There are people, obviously. We are all missing the people we care about and have been since the pandemic started. There are also a lot of activities that we miss – but for me, that is perhaps a lot worse than for most people.
During the pandemic, after I got sick, I gradually started losing the ability to do things that previously I took for granted. I miss walking in the woods, for example. I miss being able to easily leave the house to do what I enjoy. I miss outings, and every physical activity that I used to do and now I can’t. When I dwell on all that I’ve lost though, I start to lose myself completely and the grief overwhelms me.
It’s a little easier to think about missing the sunshine that we had a few weeks ago, for example, because I know that it will return. I miss the fun I had in the garden that week, because I might get to do that again. I miss my brief moment of bravery, when I jumped into the kids paddling pool and had a 20 minute skinny dip, hoping that the neighbours didn’t look out of their upstairs windows.
These boobs will see the sun again!