Today would have been my son Steve’s 44th birthday. He died from complications of melanoma skin cancer treatment at age 39. We have a “Steve” wall: it is a narrow slice of wall that can be seen under the large tv that hangs from the ceiling.
When I watch tv I look directly at that wall and his picture; him toasting the viewers by playfully tilting his beer glass toward us. The frame is adorned with woven palms from the past few Palm Sundays. Also the medal he designed and which was given out at the “Block The Sun Run” 5k that he and I organized and which he had planned  to run in, but he died before it could take place. Beneath the picture is the chained necklace urn with its rhino design (his mascot), which contains photos of him that I burned to ashes to place inside, a bar of soap, made by a friend of a friend as a memorial to him, and which has a rendition of his prized handlebar mustache embossed in it….and a wine bottle opener in the shape of the same mustache.
I miss him terribly….I miss our near-daily text chats and the loss is a constant ache……
Some of you may recall that I have been doing a virtual “run all the countries of the world” challenge. I queue up a Youtube video travel documentary from somewhere, and watch it on my laptop while I run on the treadmill.  I have recently finished the “P” countries, including Portugal.  The Portugal documentary showed beautiful scenery, talked about the rich culture, and focused on the local “Fado” music.  Fado music expresses sadness, grief, loss, fatalism….but also longing, joy and remembrance and resistance.
Saudade is the word that underlies the expression of Fado music. From  “Saudade is a word for a sad state  of melancholy yearning or intense longing for someone or something that is absent. Saudade comes from Portuguese culture, and it is often expressed in its literature and music,” or as Celinne Da Costa at beautifully said “How good it is to love someone or something so much that you could feel a part of your heart missing when they’re gone.”
I look at the “Steve wall” and I am sad, but I don’t wallow in misery.  I grieve, I mourn, I remember. I sometimes laugh out loud at a memory…..or find tears running down my cheeks at another. I long for what I have lost and revel in the wonder that such an exceptional being was created and born of us. I love. I reminisce. With melancholy yearning, I…..saudade.