First, there was the weather. Nothing like getting out of your barely warm car on a brisk -26F morning.
Hey, I live in Minnesota--I know the deal. It gets cold here. But -26? I'm pretty sure that's the coldest temperature to which I've ever exposed my delicate pink flesh. And my flesh didn't appreciate it one bit.
Two more of my friends were diagnosed with cancer in January. Enough said there.
Next, my sister Erin's partner, Veronica, came very close to dying (as in call-the-next-of-kin close) from a sudden intestinal something-or-other (I honestly don't know what they ended up calling it) that would have killed her entire bowel if not for three major surgeries and two weeks in a Mayo hospital. Last Friday, after much pain, fear and suffering for her, my sister, and their daughter, she was finally able to come home, but she has a long road ahead of her before she is fully recovered, and she probably won't work for months. I haven't mentioned any of this here before now, because we were all afraid that things would turn out so much worse. At least now my sister and her family appear to have turned the corner.
And then, just when we'd almost escaped January, this past Saturday, my sister Sheila's very sweet golden lab, Dixie, was killed by a hit and run driver. To make things worse, it happened during my nephew's ninth birthday party. In the commotion of kids arriving, Dixie managed to slip out the door, and a few minutes later, when my brother-in-law realized she wasn't in the house and went looking for her, she was dead.
My nephew, who visited yesterday said, "I could forgive that guy for accidentally hitting her with his car if he didn't just drive away and not care that he killed Dixie." Ouch. The driver of that car should be weighted with rocks and dropped in a river. Of lava.
In a terrible bit of coincidence, five years ago my mom died on my nephew Ian's ninth birthday. As Gavin put it, "Now I have a death-birthday, too."
So, I'm flipping January the bird in my rear-view mirror and hoping for better things in February and the rest of the year. Cross your fingers.
PS. Crap, I spoke too soon. I was just finishing this post when Erin texted me to say that Veronica is back in the hospital. Not ICU, but it's still discouraging. Send good thoughts.