Bittersweet (Musing)

Some people in this world taste things mono-dimensionally.

For some people, they can simply enjoy a day at the beach, or an ice cream cone, or a family gathering, or a job offer, or a pretty sunset, or a nice car ride. Birthdays and Christmases. Weddings and parenting. Walking and being healthy and county fairs and dreams and weekend plans and flowers and road trips.

And for some other people, sweet tastes like those never come by themselves. The forefront sweetness that hits their tongue is immediately followed by another taste, just like a complex wine or coffee.

That followup taste can be a little less palatable. It can be bitter; it can be sharp; it can be dull; it can be painful.

I have friends who have lost children. Who have lost spouses. Who have lost parents. And for them, thinking about or experiencing nice things is nuanced by the taste of those losses. It’s jarring. It colors everything. It cuts through unexpectedly. One can be pleasantly busy enjoying what’s before them and, without warning, the memory; the loss; the sadness; the wish that someone else was here and the reality that they can’t be speaks. Their eyes glaze; their heartbeat quickens; their eyes shadow. I’ve tasted it too.

God bless those who can taste just the sweetness. And God be with those who taste the bitterness along with it.


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