EDITORIAL: Relief from grim news

York Dispatch

It is the nature of the news, often, to be serious. As is said, no one reports it when the plane doesn’t crash.

But the news of late seems especially grim, a constant drumbeat of serious allegations, foreboding investigations and cataclysmic weather events, leaving communities to rebuild. All of which can leave mere humans worse for the wear, physically, psychologically and emotionally.

The increasingly divisive political climate also has left former friends and neighbors suspicious and at odds, likely due in part to social-media feeds curated with ads meant to deepen that divide.

Such a shame.

That’s why the Griffin family of Red Lion are our new heroes. They are the good news story in the face of so much discontent, argument and suffering.

More:Red Lion family makes most of dog's last days

You may recall that when Tim Griffin and his children, Chloe and Elliot, found out their beloved dog, Mr. Molson, had terminal cancer, they created a bucket list for him and struck out on a five-month adventure that included riding in a police cruiser, getting married to a black lab, flying in a helicopter and eating a steak on live television.

He also “met a famous animal,” as it was itemized on his bucket list, in the form of one of the famous Clydesdale horses named Jack.

It was Tim Griffin’s intention to show his children that death is an inevitable part of life but that it need not be frightening. His lesson included the promise of a life well lived, if we would only remember that our time here is limited – and we must make the very best of it.

He also taught them about vulnerability.

While delivering the best man’s speech at the canine wedding ceremony, Griffin said, he teared up talking about what Molson meant to his family and what he had learned over their 12 years together.

Griffin said his daughter told him it was the first time she had seen him cry. Griffin said he was trying to deal with Molson’s illness the best he could while setting an example for his children.

“I’m showing sometimes it’s OK to be vulnerable. Even grown-ups can be emotional,” he said. “Sometimes it’s OK to cry.”

Tim Griffin gets a hug from his son, Elliot, and his dog, Mr. Molson, as his daughter, Chloe, looks on after Molson's wedding ceremony. Griffin and his children are embarking on dozens of adventures as they work through Molson's bucket list.

Throughout the summer and fall, the story of Mr. Molson and the Griffin family continued to evolve, creating a bubble of good energy amid all of the toxic political machinations and sad realities of a country divided on nearly every issue along political lines.

Mr. Molson died Aug. 14. And the Griffin home was much quieter than usual. But as reporter Jason Addy told Dispatch readers in October: “That relative silence was soon broken, thanks to country music stars Kellie Pickler and Hunter Hayes.”

The two have a television talk show taped in Nashville, Tennessee, called “Pickler & Ben.” After the show’s producer learned of Mr. Molson’s bucket list adventures, the Griffin family was invited to share Mr. Molson’s story with the show’s audience.

Muddy, the newest member of  the Griffin family in Red Lion, stands next to a basket of toys left behind by Mr. Molson. Photo courtesy of Tim Griffin.

And there was a surprise waiting in the form of a new puppy the family named Muddy — a name with sentimental ties to Mr. Molson, Griffin said on his website documenting Muddy’s adventures.

More:Hunter Hayes, Kellie Pickler surprise Mr. Molson's family with rescue dog

It’s not a right- or left-leaning story — in fact, although some nonpartisan stories can be twisted into political debate fodder, the Griffins’ story just can’t.

That’s because it’s one of those stories that reminds us of how we are more alike than we realize (even when it comes to humans and their pets) once we remember what really matters.