When I first learned that my loved one died, the only thought, only sound I could make in my head and out loud was a shrill “NO!”. What a small word, with so many meanings just then. No, this is not true. No, I do not want this. And finally, as a spoiled child might stamp their foot in anger, “No! I hate it!” Conflicting emotions raged as I found myself switching between volatile anger and sudden desperation.
No! Shut up!
No! Stop acting like they’re dead!
No! Don’t leave me!
No! Don’t stay to watch me!
No! It won’t continue like this!
No! It can’t continue like this!
Denial and isolation; anger; bargaining; depression; acceptance. The entire grief cycle in one little word: No.