January’s Big “D’s”




It is January – cold, stripped-down, battened-down January. Not a lot to look at outside my window: the trees are brooms. The roofs are crusted with dirty snow and a gaggle of dingy grackles.   Grit from sand and salt coats the sidewalk. Brown, stringy tufts of grass poke out above the melting snow. So it’s only fitting to learn that not only is January the month when more people die than any other month, it is also the month when more divorce proceedings begin. There are probably some pseudo-psychological explanations such as the theory that people hold off dying or taking decisive steps until the Holidays are over. Maybe they are holding out for one last shot of cheer and hope. Or maybe death or departure seems like good alternatives to January weather.  Who really knows?

 It is a fact, though, that “The odds a death that happens in a given year will happen in January are 1 in 10.89. The odds of an August death are a mild 1 in 12.73.” (Jerry Marek of Groman Mortuary).

On Reading That More People Die in January Than Any Other Month

January again…
I hunch against a
pickpocket wind
from car to work
to car to home,
under a washboard
sky, hoarding my losses,
counting the people
unfastened from my life
in other Januarys.
My father, for one,
his life trailing off
in final ellipsis
years ago. My
grandmother, waiting
for a new year to claim
death, like a vein of silver.
It was January, too, when
he left our marriage
through the back door of the
house in Billings.
But, knowing Janus,
that two-faced god, I
admit, I had my start in
January. After years of
trying, my mother said:
life finally sparked and caught.

-Marianne Green



Categories: observations

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