Sign of the Times


I couldn’t even write the above title without a peppy REM soundtrack.

The sign that struck me tells its viewers to do something that scares them–or, judging by its use of capitalization, THEM and not necessarily anyone else–every day.

Jim couldn’t have followed its directive because he was never afraid.

The best I can do, many times each day, is perform tasks which used to terrify me.

Having been raised by a worry wart (you know who you are), before my husband’s diagnosis I feared abundant things: flying, highway driving, balancing a checkbook,  dentists, technology, brown recluse spiders.   I even maintained an excessive dose of apprehension about public speaking, notwithstanding my line of work.

There was a time immediately after Jim died when irrational fears came flooding back, and then some.  Even the thought of going to the grocery store and seeing the foods I wouldn’t be buying any more, or looking inside the room where he died in our own home struck terror into my heart.   Then, for many months, I experienced an intense fear that something equally disastrous would strike me, too, and that my children would lose both their parents when they still needed me.

Now I calmly experience many of these former frights (especially the highway driving) as a rote part of every day.  I haven’t lately encountered brown recluse spiders (that I’ve noticed), but I dealt with bats in the kitchen by semi-respectable cowering and without excessive screaming.

I do still fear hearing Very Bad News.  But about the only thing I still fear in that zero-at-the-bone sort of way is losing other people I love.

I suppose I can still follow the sign by taking the risk inherent in letting other people into my life.  Attachment is a scary thing, because its flip side is loss, but closing the door isn’t the answer.  To quote a Jose Saramago novel once again“I don’t doubt that a man can live perfectly well on his own, but I’m convinced that he begins to die as soon as he closes the door of his house behind him.”

Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

3 thoughts on “Sign of the Times”

  1. Great post. How are you doing, sweetie?

    Any chance of a visit, either here or there? I don’t want to show up on your doorstep unannounced!


  2. Jim’s death has given me a perspective that I will never lose. You are right, Steph, that we have nothing to fear on this earth but losing one another. Looking forward to celebrating milestones with you for years to come.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: