The End of January

Lindy Thibodaux
6 min readJan 31, 2023
My daughter, Valerie, and one of her favorite poems. She died one year ago today, after a very brief, very brave battle with cancer. (All photos and montage design by Lindy Thibodaux.)

31 January 2023

Dear Valerie,

I woke up very early this morning. When I looked at the time, 5:00 a.m., I realized it was only half an hour until the exact time that you took your last breath one year ago. Starting on December 29, 2021, when together we heard your devastating final-stage cancer diagnosis, the month that followed was utterly different than either of us had planned. It now seems impossible that I will ever be able to see the month of January with the same optimistic energy I used to feel at the start of every new year.

January of 2022 was supposed to be a sort of sabbatical month for me; I planned several months in advance to put my freelance client work on hold, and I dedicated that month to developing my own work, including a new YouTube channel. (I’m rolling my eyes ironically as I write that now. The best-laid plans…)

Instead, that January turned into taking you to a continual round of medical appointments and tests, driving from store to store trying to find things that would make you more comfortable, and, during that final week when you were in the hospital, racing back and forth between spending time with you and getting home briefly to take care of your cat.

What a contrast to the January we had looked forward to during December.



Lindy Thibodaux

Writes about the transformative power of color. Designs. Plays piano, speaks French, dances Argentine tango. Loves.