Not sorrow, or depressing kind of sadness. For example, when you remember someone you loved, who passed away, but you're remembering beautiful moments, his or her smile or eyes. You feel sad, but these memories are warm for the heart. Are there any words or phrases that can express this feeling accurately?

closed as off-topic by Lawrence, choster, Rory Alsop, sumelic, bookmanu Feb 6 at 12:41

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  • Are you talking about feeling ‘happy’ and sad together (e.g. bittersweet), or about a ‘mild’ form of sadness (e.g. wistful)? – Lawrence Feb 4 at 1:48
  • What I am talking about is closer to "wistful". But as my description suggests, it's not exactly wistful, it's a more warm feeling. – Brat Feb 4 at 2:01
  • Bittersweet I guess is stronger feeling, it has an element of pleasure/happiness in it, which is not the case. In other languages, there's a clear definition of what I am talking about, which can be literally translated as "bright sadness". I am wondering, is there something similar in English. – Brat Feb 4 at 2:11
  • How about wistful? – KarlG Feb 4 at 2:31
  • @KarlG I'm not quite sure :) That's why I ask – Brat Feb 4 at 3:35

Although, it's actual definition doesn't include this meaning, I'm going to suggest fondness:


2 : tender affection

This defines it as a kind of mild happiness.

But despite the fact that it doesn't mention sadness, it is commonly associated with that when it's used to describe memories:

She will be remembered with fondness and deeply missed.
//— Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Shirley C. Leibert," 22 Apr. 2018

Typically, you look back on happy moments in your past—that are now gone and which you miss—with fondness. Missing something is a form of sadness when it comes to wishing it were still present in your life. So, the happiness you feel is tinged with a certain amount of loss or regret, resulting in (as a net result) a mild degree of happiness.

So, you can say with a kind of sad joy, that you have fond memories of something now lost.

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