Reality Revisited: Saying “Yes” to Yourself by Saying “No” to Others

First posted in March 2019. We have grown so much more than we ever thought we would, and we want to share our earlier posts. We aim to reflect on the early struggles of our grief, and what we went through without our mum. We are proud of where we have come from, and of where we are going. We hope you are as well.

If you are struggling with your grief, that is okay. You are not alone.


One of the hardest things we have had to relearn is to say “no” to people.  

It seems simple, but it’s not. Grief is a huge thing to wrap your head around, and one of the things that is particularly a struggle is having to carry on with your normal life when nothing is normal anymore. Somebody told us that after the death of a loved one, you are expected to go back to work after a month. But that doesn’t mean that you are ready, or hurt less.  

It can feel as though everyone’s lives continue after a death but your own. People who came to the funeral slide out of your life and back into their routine: breakfast, work, lunch, work, home, family, sleep. For us, we couldn’t just do that. Even 6 months down the line, and we still need our weekends to recharge, sleep and feel secure at home.  

People ask you to do things and you have to turn them down sometimes. It’s hard not to feel guilty about it. Sometimes it is hard to say when you will feel up for visitors, or when you will feel mentally strong enough. Sometimes, making plans for the following week seems like a great idea – and sometimes it is – but other times, you just have to cancel because all you need to do is gather your strength at home.  

Your friends may want to see the person they used to know: fun-loving, laughing, happy Katie and Evee. For us, that was an impossible task. We weren’t happy, and we certainly weren’t going to pretend we were.  

Saying “no” becomes a power; it strengthens you mentally. You slowly repair once lost boundaries. We were used to having nurses, doctors, family friends, just walking into our house. Now, when our door shuts, it stays shutOur weekends are ours again, and that takes a lot of getting used to. We started to go for walks every Sunday, and it seemed huge. We felt peaceful, calm, and normal. This was so important because our lives were dictated by us again, for us, rather than having to give our energy to others. 

Being around people who don’t understand grief can be difficult because you can’t relate to them, and you may not even have the energy to explain how you feel. We don’t care for small talk or gossip; How can we talk about so and so’s friend’s boyfriend drama over a cappuccino when all we can think about is the last time we were in that coffee shop with our mum. When we see people our own ages, we cannot be carefree because we  walk around with a huge burden. We find it difficult to relate to sloppy instagram stories of nights out because we didn’t have that luxury for so long, and after our mums death, we had time, but that was the last thing we wanted to do. 

Grief comes in waves as does your energy level. Sometimes you do feel capable of meeting up with people, having  fun, and you almost feel like yourself again. When these days occur, we try to make the most of them, as guilt free as possible. But on the flipside, sometimes there still are those days where leaving the house is daunting, and just going to the swimming pool feels like a win. 

We know that in time, periods where we want to socialise and have fun will become more frequent, but for now,  it is okay to take time to heal ourselves without feeling bad or guilty for saying “no”.  

It’s okay to  allow yourself days where you lock the doors, watch Gossip Girl on Netflix and rest. Give yourself what your body needs: say “yes” to yourself, even if that means saying “no” to others. 

For now, dedicate this time to rest. 


Katie & Evee 

43 thoughts on “Reality Revisited: Saying “Yes” to Yourself by Saying “No” to Others

  1. No one can tell you what is expected, everyone heals on their own time. If you would like to read some post I wrote about caregiving and grieving you can search caregiver on my site. I took care of both of my grandparents until death. It was so hard to watch everyday but I had to be strong and push the feelings down. When each died all those emotions came out and it was crippling. Be gentle on yourself and take your time and don’t let others push into a box. Everyone needs to completely grieve or memories can haunt because you didn’t take the time. You are stronger than you think. 🙂

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your comment. I’m sorry to hear that you have experienced great loss in your life also, but very thankful for your support , it means so much. I’ll take a look at your posts too, thank you <3

      1. The greatest thing I did for myself while grieving was remember all the great memories not just the pain of loss. My grandparents rasied me, they were like my parents and I promised to let them die at home. It was so hard emotionally and physically but I gave them my word. It didn’t matter what the cost was on me, I wanted to have every minute I could with them. It’s been years since their death but now I can look at all the crazy, funny things we did and said. Don’t let yourself live with regret. There is no room for regret, leave and work thru that emotion during greiving.

  2. You have described the difficulties of living after experiencing a personally devastating event very clearly and sensitively. The pressures, however unintended, put on a grieving person by others or by circumstances need to be handled carefully and positively – by both parties.

    Grief is an unbelieveably negative emotion and saying ‘No’ does not always have to be seen as a negative, in fact it’s probably best used when it is not said with a negative intent, but a positive one. 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for this post. It’s funny how things come to you just when you need them. I’m struggling to make today a regular day. Grief really takes time and sometimes even when u feel ok it hits u all at once. So good to know I’m not alone. Thanks again for this.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, this is exactly the reason why we created this blog. You’re right, it hits you all at once and it’s scary sometimes. But I’m learning to try and ride the wave and let it wash over me rather than trying to suppress it. Sending love ♥️

  4. First off, I am so terribly sorry for your loss.
    Everyone reacts differently, and at their own pace. Saying no shouldn’t be difficult, and I know firsthand how hard it is to say that simple little word.
    However, you are entitled and your feelings are validated. I’m sure others would understand this. And, if they don’t… That is really their problem, not to make it your own.
    God Bless.

  5. It’s easier to say because I can. I don’t feel bad anymore, I’m just trying to breathe every day. I was a Yes person “before” I lost my son. I’m not sure who I am “after”and this scares me. I’m 10 mos. into this life of loss, it’s killing me on most days. I love your words!! Thk u.♥️

    1. I know exactly what you mean, it’s been 6 months for us now. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I barely recognise myself and I don’t know who I am without my mum. I’m really sorry for your loss ♥️

  6. You sound like very wise young women. As a mum of teen daughters myself, I can pretty much say for sure that your mum would be quite proud that you have already learned a skill that you will need for the rest of your lives. Blessings on you both as you go through this valley.

  7. I like this post, and I am impressed how well you write. I like the thought that you are saying Yes to yourself instead of No to others. This is a post that could be further investigated. So many people feel guilt saying No. So many people say No to challenges because they could fail, and only say Yes to challenges they know they will succeed at. It’s the challenges that cause us to stretch that are the most worthwhile.

    I am grateful to have found by accident your blog today. It was comforting to me because my Mom passed June 6, 2018 11 a.m. from inoperable cancer. I will never forget having to leave, I had been there five weeks and now Mom was in hospice and we hoped she could hear us as we spent long days there talking to her. Saying goodbye was horrible, and I still cry unexpectedly, at weird times, once while having my blood taken at the hospital, and another while talking on the phone with the company that sprays my trees. My Mom was so loving to me. Thank you for your blog. – David

    1. Hi David, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I am really sorry to hear that your mum passed away in 2018 too.
      There are still days where I find myself catching my breath and I just can’t believe all we have been through. Saying yes to yourself could not be more important on days when grief is heavy – I call them “Grief days” and have written a post all about being kind to yourself.

      I am really happy that you have found our blog, I hope you find comfort in some of our posts and keep commenting.

      Take care and go gently

      Katie x

  8. Okay to lock the doors, but can’t you find something, ANYthing better to watch than Gossip Girls? 😄
    (I admit I do not know anything about this show and have never seen it, but the name seems like enough to make one avoid it! 😂😂)

  9. I’ve often found it hard to say “Sorry, but no I won’t be available” to work requests, but it is so important to learn how to say the truth, that we all need time off to recover.

  10. Well sisters I am very sorry for what you have gone through, i feel your grief, having lost my dear mum last September 9th. Death is a stranger & robber, it’s cruel & it left me confused & devastated. Only the Word of God,ie The Bible, was a comfort, coz there is hope of seeing her again in the resurrection morning. It is a deep sleep awaiting the call of Jesus Christ, who will resurrect believers & take them with Him to Paradise for 1,000 years & then we will live on this Earth made new, forever and ever

  11. Healing is a long journey and happens in layers. So it is up to us to acknowledge it and wait for this time patiently. Until then it is ok to say no to others.

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