January, sets perched like a crow on the cusp of the year just passed, and the new one. The hope of spring is just a flicker. Not a bright enough light to push back the darkness, the cold.
I hunker down, wishing it away, thinking it would be nice to sleep, like the bears, until it passes. But life must be lived in January. It can’t be wished away or rushed through. January insists on taking its days, deserving them like every other month. Slowly it counts through the days, its first, its teens, its final day.
January is the month of my birth, but I am not its favorite child. It does not gift me with a
lighter heart or a restful night. It questions the need for celebration in its shadows, preferring its own quiet reflection.
On one January day, our daughter, born in the happy month of April, was swallowed by the darkness. In a heartbeat we learned to count January’s long days in a new cadence.
On the twelfth day of January the call came; a truck, a red light, come to the hospital.
On the twenty-sixth day of January we heard; too much damage, let her go, tell her good-bye.
On the Twenty-seventh day of January, she died.
On the thirtieth day of January we buried her, in the indifferent January ground.
On the thirty-first day of January we began learning how to live without her light in our lives.
On every day, of every month that followed we learned those lessons.The hardest ones come in January and they are particularly brutal. Like a teacher’s ruler smacking on knuckles they demand attention, they demand review.
January is the month the wounds reopen. Exposed to the frigid air they are examined, poked and prodded. Fresh blood is pushed through them to cleanse the putrefaction but they are still tender. Wanting nothing more then to heal in the quietness.
I will be happy when January is spent, when it will begrudgingly give the count over to February. In subtle tones the cadence will change. The other kinder months will follow in their turns. These months will let me find the quiet, the peace and sometimes the joy of living. I can treasure the smile of a granddaughter, relish the warm hug of a loved one, and find the beauty in a flower or the enthrallment of a good book. January's grasp is weakening. Returning to its place in line, it waits again behind December.