Bittersweet moments are usually wonderfully pleasant but yet wrapped in a blanket of sadness, longing or even regret. These experiences are uniquely human and often intertwined in nostalgic memories.
Human emotion is complex. The duality of bittersweet is what makes life interesting.
The comments from BlaasianCowboyPanda's post on Ask Reddit are filled with tearful moments from people's memories. Often, they involve loss, love, or regret.
Redditor BlaasianCowboyPanda asked:
"People of Reddit, what is the most bittersweet situation you've experienced?"
Better grab your tissues before reading any further!
Last moments in a hospital.
"About ten years ago just before she died of lung cancer, my mom called me by my childhood nickname, told me she loved me and then fell asleep. That was the last thing she ever said to me. I was 35 when she died and she hadn't called me that nickname in maybe 30 years. I still tear up thinking about it."
"Sitting in the hospital room, mom was about ready to pass away from cancer, everything was shutting down internally. The date was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. The last thing dad said to her was 'Thank you for 40 wonderful years.'"
"Oh man. I'm always a sucker for the long love."
"Amidst a loooong illness in hospice and dementia, that meant he recognized no one, my Grampie still lit up every day when my Grammie showed up. He would turn to whoever else was in the room and say 'ah, I'm just the luckiest fella in the world to have the most beautiful woman in the world to love. I love you, Dolly.'"
"She got to be there when he passed away and she died a few months later. I think she was just waiting for him to go first."
Watching someone in pain pass.
"Holding my grandfather's hand as he passed away. It was incredibly sad to see him go, but also relieving to see that it was peaceful and that he had been released."
"The only thing I can say is that being there with him at the end is a blessing. When my grandpa was dying in hospice care, nearly all of the immediate family (his wife obviously, his kids, and us, his grandkids) flew out to Tucson immediately. We spent days there, being with him (even though he was completely out of it), talking, reliving memories of him, and sharing stories that not all of us knew."
"Then when we were getting ready to head back to the hospice the next morning from one of the family members who went back earlier that morning, we got a call that he was doing worse, and that we should get back there ASAP. We all missed his passing, and his wife, my grandma, just completely broke down, saying that she gave him so many years, and he couldn't give her 20 minutes to get there to be with him at the end...god, that was so hard to hear."
"The only good thing about that day was that he was no longer in pain. But holy sh*t, it crushed all of us. We adored that man."
Moving on, permanently.
"Breaking up with my then girlfriend because her dream of moving abroad permanently was coming true. I was happy for her but sad to see her leave."
"You are not alone my friend."
This is a longer story, but we promise it's worth it.
"I always looked back so longingly on my first love. It was the summer we both turned 18 and it was my first time falling in love and everything seemed magic. She was a lifeguard and I still remember her long legs splayed over the lifeguard chair, her long blonde hair, her tan skin, her movie star sunglasses. On that lifeguard stand up high she was a shrine to everything summer. And I loved summer. I had a manual labor job putting in swimming pools, damn that was so hot down there laying plaster with that Kansas City humidity."
"We fell in love that summer and did everything together, every waking hour we could we spent together. In the day we would go down to the creek together and wade in the water and swim and lay on the shore, she always wanted to ride on my back across the creek to get to the other side, our side, where no one ever went but us. Sometimes we would climb on those oversized hay bales by my house and stare up into that cloudless summer sky and talk about what the future would be and going off to college and running track and the Olympics and how we would always love each other."
"My favorite days though, God damnit I loved these days so much was when it rained. We both got off work when it rained so I would get an early call from my boss canceling my work and I would just lay there and smile and look at the ceiling and wait for my phone to ring, it was always her telling me to come over and we could spend the day together. Movies or the mall sometimes but usually we would climb over the gate to the swimming beach and go swim in the lake and feel the warm rain and dive under the water and come up over the dock. Best times of my life."
"I've always looked back on them so longingly. I've been in love since and been married and divorced and dating but it seems my thoughts always came back to her. Even though we live in the same city it was 15 years since I had seen her. Back when I got married to someone else I had an outdoor wedding and even from the front I could hear her sobbing when I said the vows that I wanted to grow old with my wife, that was from a movie my first love and I used to watch together sometimes when it rained. She left right after the wedding and I hadn't seen her again for 15 years. I longed to see her, I even contacted her one time and suggested meeting up but she said she was happily married and would never meet up with me, even to just talk and reminisce. I longed to see her again just one more time."
"Well it happened, I saw her again for the first time in 15 years. We were both at a U2 concert and we hugged and laughed and even danced when they played With or Without You. That night we all had a great time and we walked the women all the way to their car before going to ours. I realized when I saw her Honda minivan and sippy cups from her kids and saw her face that had gotten older that I didn't long for her. Don't get me wrong, she was still beautiful, incredibly beautiful. But she wasn't the girl on top of the lifeguard stand anymore. She had gone on with her life and had kids and drove a sensible minivan and wore sensible mom shoes."
"And then I realized I didn't long for her at all. What I had a longing for was me. When I was 18 and athletic and handsome, with my whole life ahead of me, that was what I longed for more than anything. A life before mortgages and bills and small backyards in the suburbs with fences, I longed for that part of me that was still back there with her at the creek. What it was like to fall in love and swim under the dock in the rain and laugh and hear the words I love you for the first time. I didn't miss her at all. I missed me. It was the most bittersweet realization of my life."
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Watching them grow up.
"Watching my babies grow. Obviously I want them to grow well but if I could just pause time for a bit."
"I thought this same thing this weekend. In Kansas City we have an amusement park and a water park that have combined into one now so its Oceans of Fun and Worlds of Fun. Its such an awesome day! You can ride a roller coaster and then go jump in the wave pool and go back and forth. My kids are getting older now and they don't need me as much, in fact there was an hour or so where I was sitting there all by myself."
"Don't get me wrong, I don't mind it, I read a book and even had a nap. But its bittersweet because they don't need you as much anymore. I tell them how I feel though. I tell them I love being with them. I get just as excited as they do to go to the waterpark. At the end of the day we went to the old time diner place in the park and had French fries and milkshakes and in the booth when we were all drinking milkshakes I told them, ah, this is one of the good parts of life!"
A tender moment with a mother-in-law.
"My fiancé's funeral. It was literally the first time I got to meet his mom. And she was such a sweet lady. When I tried to give her back my ring because it had belonged to her mother. She refused to take it, she told me 'My son chose you to give it to. And it would be rude of me to take back his choice.' She probably still has no idea how much it meant to me."
"I literally have no pictures or anything of him. But I still have my memories and my ring I keep in my jewelry box."
One final childhood moment.
"Recently had one last sleepover with my childhood friend before he passed from leukemia. It was just like being kids again."
"He couldn't do much at the point he'd reached, but we listened to music, watched Luca (which he hadn't yet seen), and just talked about life. And of course we stayed up way past bedtime haha."
It can be difficult to parse out feelings of loss, love, and nostalgia. There's longing wrapping up a lot of these sentiments. Longing for more time, whether it be with a loved one who's passing, a child growing up too quickly, or a lover that needed to move on.
What really ties it all together is love. Hold onto those moments tightly but know that you must let go.
Millions of people struggle with self-harm every single day. Their reasons are as varied and unique as they are. it's a dangerous tendency that people absolutely can overcome, but it requires a lot of work and support. Having said that, the self-harming person has to be willing to accept that help.
What do you do when you catch a loved one hurting themselves but they refuse to acknowledge it?
That's the position one Reddit found himself in when he posted asking for advice:
My girlfriend Lacy and I have been dating 2 years. She's a lovely person and we make a great couple.
Two weeks ago Lacy and I went downhill skiing. I'm an experienced skier and she had only been once before. I admit I pushed her abilities and lo and behold, she wiped out pretty hard. She wasn't seriously hurt or anything and got right back up with a smile on her face.
Her legs got pretty bruised up from the fall (she was wearing only thin workout leggings since it was quite warm out). It looks like someone splashed green paint on her, if that makes sense. And she has a particularly nasty big purple one on her thigh.
Lacy has always been the type to show off injuries. For as long as I've known her she has always showed me even the tiniest of bruises either for sympathy or attention (like she would say it was shaped as Texas or something). She has some body image issues and I know that she really likes the attention so I will usually give it to her no problem.
Yesterday though I came home from work early (power went out at my building). I walked in pretty quietly as I usually do and went straight to our bedroom. I could hear music coming from it and wanted to greet her.
I basically opened the door and saw her with a hammer in her hands mid hit. The hammer hit her bruised leg the moment I walked in. It was absolutely surreal and I admit - I freaked out a bit. I went to her and took the hammer and started asking her what she was doing?
She freaked out right back and told me that she was rubbing the blood vessels or something to make the bruises go away faster. I knew this was bullshit right away since you don't "rub" by smacking yourself with a fricken hammer.
She left after I told her I didn't believe her and texted me shortly after to say she was going home for a few days.
I sat down on the bed with that hammer in my hands for like an hour completely floored. I know it sounds crazy but she hit herself hard. I've seen those bruises every day and now that I've seen her do this I am thinking that it was weird that they haven't gotten even the slightest bit lighter despite it being two weeks now.
I know she has some issues but I would never have thought she would hurt herself.
Reddit, I'm freaked out. She will be back tomorrow. How do I talk to her about this?
Users were surprisingly open with their responses. People gave advice and even shared stories of their own self-harming experiences. If that sort of thing is difficult or triggering for you to read, you may want to move on to another article. For the rest of you, here are some of the top responses. Some have been edited for content or clarity.