There once was a girl who was sad. She tried not to be, but had to give in to the embrace of melancholy, not to revel in it, but to feel it, let it visit, let it get bored and take its leave. Melancholy is a funny thing you see, it arrives with no warning, no phone call, even when the rest of the world is full of cheer and joy.
The girl thought she was alone with the melancholy until she started finding others who it visited too. She wasn’t special after all! A whole group of people existed who were touched by sadness even through all the cheer, and this realization brought the girl comfort.
Wait, she thought, if others’ melancholy brings me comfort, what kind of person am I, to be glad they feel it to? But the others were glad to find her and cling to another who felt it, who understood.
The girl missed her mom. She missed her Grandpa and her aunt and her mother- in-law. She morned the life she used to have and imagined sparkling lights and green branches and red stockings and white snow, she imagined the things she could no longer see.
She thought of where life had taken her, to mostly amazing places. She really did love her life so why was she so sad? She was sad because sadness and melancholy are part of being human and when she realized this, finally the tears could fall, the cleansing beginning.
A rough tongue licked the salt from her face, soft fur against her cheek. She reached out and felt the warmth of the yellow lab beside her on the floor and the tears fell harder, not out of sadness but out of love. For this creature loved her no matter how she felt. This creature lay beside her, his heart beating strong against her skin, the comfort of the dog like no other and she wasn’t alone with her sorrow.
The next day when she awoke after another terrible night’s sleep she reached out from other the covers and found her dog’s face staring at her from beside the bed. She reached out and caressed his velvet ear and smiled. There was always a reason to rise, thanks to this bundle of yellow fur she had never looked upon.
Every morning her dog hurries to eat then snuggles on the couch. She reaches over, burying her fingers in his coat, bends to receive a kiss.
The greatest gift is her dog, she thinks. If he were all I had, I’d be ok. She is grateful to have him for the season, their first together. The jingle of his tags more merry than the loudest of sleighbells, the smell of him more comforting than cinnamon and pine. His warmth greater than any fire, his love encompassing the love of those she has lost.
Just briefly, the melancholy shudders, as though the dog has drawn a sword for battle. Slowly, the lab’s power begins to drive the sadness away, and the girl smiles.