Friday, January 8, 2010

Not That You Asked: Erg. January. Ugh.

Not that there's anything wrong, per se, with January. Well, actually, there is, at least when I'm in my politically incorrect, un-evolved, crabby girl frame of mind. 
Shall we count the horrifications of January?
1. The holidays are over but the cookie-induced weight gain lingers on.
2. The holidays are over but the house is not yet totally stripped of holiday stuff and it feels cluttered (yes, I can deal with this, and I will, but not today!).
III. The holidays are over and the kids are back at school and I have no further excuses for ignoring the blinking cursor on the blank screen.
D. The holidays are yes, you know, and outside it's a monochromatic blah of rain and clouds and grey sky and drizzle and gloom and dark and ick.
Five. The holidays are blah blah blah and the wind is screaming around the house and it's so cold I can't get up the courage to go outside for a run and also: See Item 1, about cookies and fat thighs, which means on top of everything else, I feel guilty for not getting more exercise, and I keep thinking about that last batch of ginger snaps sitting in the freezer.
So what we have here is a vicious cycle of despair, cabin fever, frigid-wind-induced earaches, and general low mood. Nice, huh? Makes you wanna hang out with Mrs. Ditter, doesn't it? 
During my annual Holiday Conference Call with my three sisters, I mentioned that when I die, if it happens to be at the end of January, I will be furious. I mean, really. To go through that stinker of a month and THEN die? That's just adding final insult to ultimate injury.
Which leads me to another reason I hate January: I lost a brother in January, 30 years ago. Believe me, I've worked on being grateful for the terrific person he was, and remembering the funny and outrageous things he did and said, and telling stories about him to my kids, and laughing about him with my best friend, but even after all these years, it still hurts. After 30 years! Part of me wants to sit down and cry, and part of me is just shaking my head, amazed that after all this time, the deep feelings of grief can still--briefly, thank you God--overwhelm me.
I think about him a lot in January. I'm sure he would just laugh at me for still being angry that he died before he hit 25. And that he would urge me to stop stalling and get on with whatever is next on my list. And that he would remind me that life is short (and who knows that better than he?) and I'm not getting any younger. And really, who knows that better than I? See Item 1, above, for further proof that the old metabolism ain't what it used to be and that the once-fine machine is slowing down.
There may come a time when I don't hate January quite so much. I am not holding my breath for that time to show up. 
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some cookies to hunt down.
As always, if you have any questions for Mrs. Ditter, feel free to leave them in the comments section, below. Anonymity allowed! Comments encouraged. Thanks for reading.


  1. Hey, Mrs. D. Cut yourself some slack. Be kind to yourself. January does hold some, umm, distinctive features that many of us don't love, but we do get our famous sunbreaks (that's how you know if you're a real Oregonian; if you know what sunbreaks are), snowdrops poking up their brave leaves, and real darkness not starting until 5:30, which beats the heck out of 4:30!

    But more importantly, cut yourself a break for still grieving the loss of your brother. How could you not grieve such an important loss? And yes, it's probably best not to be too angry, but rather to channel all that you know and love about him into bringing good into the world. In that way, he hasn't really died; his memory continues to bless you and all who benefit from what you pass from him to them.


  2. Thanks, Anonymous. Wise words, and I'll try to heed them.

  3. Oh, that dying thing. Guess what happened here this weekend at my house.

    My husband, whose first wife died 24 years ago, two years before he married me, got word that a good friend of his is dying - may be gone by now - at home and her husband is sitting there waiting just as my husband did way back when.

    So he is not only sad about losing his friend, and empathizing with her husband, but it reactivates all of his own grief from his own anguished years of illness and dying. Poor boy.

    And me? I am sad all the good people keep dying and conscious that if one of them hadn't, I wouldn't be married to him and the stepmother to two young adults who I love and who love me, too.

    Life is whacked. But what's the alternative? Woops.

  4. Life is whacked, indeed. And also: "Woops" as far as the alternative goes. Hugs to you and your husband both.

  5. Mrs. Ditter, you seem wise beyond your years having suffered unenviably so early in life. I wonder if such wisdom is the painfully enduring last gift of a brother?

    In any case, don't hate January. It's simply a man-made word with little meaning (unlike truly hateful words like cold, wet and frozen).

  6. Thanks, Cutterman. I don't know about wise, but I do know that my brother would NOT want me to carry around all the sad that I do on his account, and I try to remember that when January hits.
    As for not hating January--well, at least it brightens my mood when it's over!