Dauntless Days

For many years, I faced daunting days, not just Jeff’s ill health, but his death, my grief, caring for my father, becoming more or less homeless. (Not homeless in the living on the street sort of way, but homeless in not having any particular place to live or to be.)

Today was not one of those days. For the second or third or fourth morning (I’ve lost count), I’ve woken up to days that in no way daunt me. Nothing to do but minimal tasks, no appointments, no concerns except to isolate myself and try to keep well. Even the weather does not daunt — chilly enough in the morning to need a coat to water my newly sodded lawn, warm enough in the afternoon to take a refreshing walk.

Because of this lack of dauntingness, I intended to entitle this piece “Dauntless Days,” but according to the various online dictionaries, dauntless is not the opposite of daunting.

Daunting means intimidating and seemingly difficult to deal with.

Dauntless means showing fearlessness and determination.

Undaunting means undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear.

Weirdly, then, on all those daunting days, I had to be dauntless to even get up in the morning and undaunting to get through the waking hours.

So what is the opposite of daunting? Apparently, there is no word with “daunt” as a base to mean what I mean about today not being a daunting day. Some antonyms are: nice, pleasing, calming, comforting. None of those words have the euphoniousness of “dauntless” when paired with “days” that I would have liked for a title.

So, even though this was not a dauntless day (I needed no show of fearlessness or determination to get through the hours), I did speak of the term, so I decided to stick with the title.

And anyway, does anyone but me and a few other logophiles care whether the title is accurate or not? But whatever the title, the meaning of this piece is still the same: today was not at all a daunting day.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.