January. . . . .the one month I really want to end as soon as it starts. Why? All the most important people in my life died in January. First, my dad, who died January 23, 1967. I can no longer remember the exact date and had to look it up. But the year is easy to remember since I was 3 months pregnant with my third and last child. He had a heart attack as he was coming in the door at home, dying instantly. My mother found him in the door of the breezeway. Dad was 60 years old.
One year later, my father-in-law died. That was January 20 I think. The way I remember is that his funeral was on the anniversary of my dad's death. But I have to admit, I am not certain if I have the date correct. That was in 1968. He was 55 years old. He had a badly diseased heart and the doctors said at that time the only thing that would save him would be a heart transplant. But doctors had not achieved that type of transplant at that time.
Three years later, January 16, 1971, my mother died of cancer at age 62. It had started in a muscle of her thigh and metastasized and eventually was in the brain, affecting her language memory. She knew what things were if you said the name, but she wasn't able to say the word. She called my kids by names of long-time family friends. She ended up having a stroke and in a coma for about a week before passing.
I was 24 when my dad died, and 28 when Mom died. I have no brothers or sisters so the whole load was on me. I did have a husband and 3 kids by then which probably saved my sanity to some extent, though in the year after my mother died and while I was handling the estate, my husband decided to have an affair with his boss's wife. I could go into a long story about that, but that is not the purpose of this post.
The last January death was my second husband who passed away on January 12, 2005 from pancreatic cancer. He was 86 years old. Yes, he was 24 years older than me. We were married 15 happy years, much happier than the 26 years I was married to my first husband and father of my kids.
My former mother-in-law didn't quite make it to January. She died in late December a few years ago and she was in her 80s.
Now I am curious how many of my ancestors died in January. I did find that a great-grandmother died January 20, 1919, one 5 generations back died January 11, 1825, one 8 generations back died January 24, 1725. Those are all on my dad's side. I didn't find any on my mother's side, but my records are very limited.
So you can see that I might greet each January wondering who in my life will die this time.
It is also usually one of the dreariest months here in Iowa, some years hardly seeing the sun all month, many years having a week of below zero temps for highs, and a snow storm or two. Days are short as well, though they do start getting a little longer this month, and we know spring will get here eventually. I really don't allow myself to dwell on it otherwise I could get deeply depressed. Too many years have gone by now to allow that to happen. But it does remind me that life is short. I have lived beyond the years that my parents did for which I am very thankful. Thanks be to God!