Sweet Sorrow

(First published in April 2009)

I had often heard and even more often said the line “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, but I realized just a moment ago that I actually don’t know exactly what it means. Well personally for me, parting is such a bittersweet experience, and sometimes it can make you smile and cry at the same time, hence, “sweet sorrow”. But I got a little curious as to what the playwright really meant by those words and so I googled them and got a bit more informed.

I found the following two entries useful:

“Poets have long been fascinated by the concept of dialectical emotions–that to be truly happy, one must first be deeply sad; to enjoy the delights of food, one must first experience hunger.  So it is with Juliet’s situation. Saying goodbye to Romeo triggers deep sadness, but that sadness also reminds her of her love for him, and for this reason it is sweet. Saying goodbye also initiates her anticipation of seeing him again, which gives that emotion a pleasant tingle.”

“Juliet is referring to the pain that lovers have faced since time began. She is overjoyed at loving Romeo and amazed at how much it hurts her to have to leave him, the paradox is that without her deep feelings for him parting would not be difficult. It is therefore delightful that parting can hurt so much.”

Ah, so maybe that’s what Shakespeare meant then, the sweet sorrow of Romeo and Juliet at their parting. Nice.

And surely sweet sorrow is not limited to the parting of lovers, but also of family and friends. All of us must have had our share of partings due to work or lifestyle changes – some of which our very own choosing. Some of those partings must have been more on the sweet side while others more on the bitter, but it is always a blend of both – or nothing at all. Because a parting that is not a bit sweet can never be bitter, and a parting that is not a bit bitter can never be sweet. Furthermore, the sweeter it gets, the more bitter it becomes, and the more bitter it becomes, the sweeter it gets. Ah, don’t you just love paradoxes?

I would like to wish a good friend of mine well as she goes back to Manila to pursue a very noble career you could actually call a vocation. Godspeed deep roller. Hope you can visit Davao again soon, and instead of parting, we can go partying. (LOL)

2 Responses to “Sweet Sorrow”

  1. 1 johen
    July 4, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    sweet sorrows sometimes indeed can make you feel the real sorrow not unless it shows some of it into your life.

  2. 2 kakay de leon
    August 6, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire… like you said the bitter it becomes the sweeter it gets….

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues


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