Bittersweet by Susan Cain

He. She. They. We.


He wanted to ride his bike across new lands. He yearned to explore boundaries of strength, continents and relationship.


She dreamed of ballerinas, standing under the Eiffel Tower, and macarons melting in her mouth each day. She yearned for culture, passion and stimulation of her senses.


They are children raised with opportunity and also adversity. Holding the opposites of their full healthy life while that was taken from their older brother.

They live in a (somewhat) post pandemic world, spreading their wings and independence, when they have always been in a state of twinhood.


We strive to create moments and memories. We know the things of life are just passing. We value experience and connection.

We live in light and darkness. Hope and grief.

Rather than pushing the sadness aside, I’ve learned to embrace it.

This summer I had the opportunity to read the book, Bittersweet, by Susan Cain. This book speaks of the power of melancholy and longing—and it reminds me of the power of holding opposites.


Bittersweetness is a tendency to states of long­ing, poignancy, and sorrow; an acute aware­ness of passing time; and a curiously piercing joy at the beauty of the world. It recognizes that light and dark, birth and death—bitter and sweet—are forever paired.

If you’ve ever wondered why you like sad music . . .
If you find comfort or inspiration in a rainy day . . .
If you react intensely to music, art, nature, and beauty . . .

Then you probably identify with the bitter­sweet state of mind.

Our twins (he and she) started high school this month.

Their older brother, Koby, died 4 ½ years ago, at the age of 13.

I’m keenly aware how quickly four years can go.

I want to hold onto every moment, while letting them grow—and go.

Bittersweet, for sure.

How are you holding opposites this week?


Lois Darnell · August 25, 2022 at 2:38 pm

I had spine surgery February 2017 and that summer started to drive again. I remember Koby playing the drums so enthusiastically. I don’t know if he had been diagnosed yet.

    Melanie Gruenwald · August 25, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    Koby was diagnosed in March 2016– and always loved his drumming!

Gwen · August 25, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Thank you so much. Beautiful and thoughful. I will increase my awareness of how I am holding oppsites this week, maybe I’ll even let you know.
Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrat!

    Melanie Gruenwald · August 25, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks, Gwen. Miss you.

Pam · August 25, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Melanie, I always love to read your blog posts. I am going to tune into my awareness of opposites as I deal with chronic pain and engage in Interventional Pain Management that allows me to experience moments of comfort. I find it key to attend to the blessings that may arise when I embrace the pain. I just received my copy of Susan Cain’s Bittersweet and your writings inspire me to move it to the top of my books that I keep by my chair, choosing to read at the moment the one I am most inspired by, drawn to. I will also be focused on how I hold my attention to the many opposite patterns that appear in my life. Blessings to you, Pam

    Melanie Gruenwald · August 26, 2022 at 7:26 am

    Thanks, Pam- I hope you find strength and continued healing. Let me know what you think when you read the book, as well!

Sharon Rib · August 25, 2022 at 6:02 pm

I am thinking about your question. I love what you wrote and hope the summer trips were amazing!

    Melanie Gruenwald · August 26, 2022 at 7:26 am

    Thanks, Sharon. Hope to see you soon.

Elizabeth Rosenblum · August 26, 2022 at 9:37 am

This is so beautiful and touching. This was clearly on my mind this week. Thanks for sharing your words. A wonderful reminder of capturing the moments of time and all the space and feels in-between. Look forward to reading her new book.

    Melanie Gruenwald · August 26, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks, Elizabeth- Let me know what you think!

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