This isn’t a story update, sorry. It wasn’t even planned. It’s not going to be great; I’m not the best at philosophizing on the spot. But it struck me as something that needed to be said out loud, for my sake, at least. I was watching a video on YouTube about the death of a YouTuber, and it made me think about something I’ve not wanted to think about this season. As I’m sure is the case with many of you, the weeks between October 31 and January 1 are filled with a number of family gatherings. For me, the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, in particular, net two or three family gatherings each, to accommodate both sides of my family, my immediate family, and now my brother’s family. Several years ago, my grandfather, passed away in the spring. As I’ve mentioned, my grandmother, his wife, passed away over the summer. Even their dog passed away over the course of the summer. Her cat, Elvis, is the only living remnant of them that we have, other than each other. With such a huge part of my family gone, family gatherings this year have been…rough to put it kindly. I’ve tried very, very hard to swallow my sadness. To put on a brave face. To pretend like it doesn’t hurt. But it does. It hurts so, so much. And now you know something important about me: I’m a sorrowful person. I am sad, all the time (not depression, I am not clinically depressed). Here’s why it’s relevant: Tom is sad. Always. Tom is me. If you take anything away from the Chronicles of Koeleth: The River’s Tale, know that Tom is sad, and Tom is me. He smiles, he laughs, he jokes, and it’s all sincere, but he wears a mask that covers his sadness. Everything he does wrong he remembers. Every injustice he sees haunts him. He never forgets, and he never forgives himself. The thing that Tom remembers, though, and that I seem to have forgotten, is that sad is good. Tom understands that sadness is an unfortunate part of life, but that it has its place, and that it’s a good thing. Sorrow makes us human, makes us relatable, makes us empathetic. Through our sorrow, we grow we learn, and we achieve a greater degree of humanity. We have such a strong notion, as a human race, that we need to feel happy, need to feel good, need to feel satisfied all the time. But that’s just not true. The dark places are just as important as the light. As a person who is perpetually sad, I don’t understand how I forgot this lesson. If you can’t be sad, something is wrong. If you don’t feel the pain of loss, the sharp sting of disappointment, then you don’t understand what makes happiness and goodness so amazing. Plants need the sun, but they also need the rain. Sorry about this rambling post. I hope you gained something from it, despite its nebulous, erratic nature. Maybe I’ve convinced you of something, probably not.