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To Sam

Scared of ruining Christmas

Hi Sam,

This seems a bit weird so please bear with me.

Recently my aunt died, about 4 weeks ago actually. She was always so proactive at Christmas, from getting the tree decorated to cooking dinner. Now I can't look at the tree without feeling sad, and can't wrap gifts without crying and everyone feeling really awkward around me.

I don't want to have to ruin peoples time, especially since it's meant to be a happy occasion. In all honesty, I'm scared of messing it up. Is there anything I could do?

-Thank you very much :)

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Sam

Hi there,

Coping with someone's death can be very hard - but at this time of year it can be extra hard. There are often a lot of celebrations and gatherings of family and friends in the last couple of months of the year. It's natural to miss someone who's been a big part of your life. And there's nothing wrong with expressing how you feel - no matter what else is happening.

Grieving for someone you've lost is a process you have to go through. It's normal to feel upset and all kinds of other emotions when someone has died. Nobody should ever judge you for letting those feelings out. Expressing yourself is one way of coming to terms with what's happened.

At this time of year there can be a lot of pressure to be "happy" and have a good time. But that's often unrealistic. It's not possible for everyone to be happy all of the time - sometimes bad things happen and that's not your fault.

Thinking of other people's feelings is a very brave thing to do, but it's important to focus on yourself. To help you feel able to express yourself, you could share how worried you are with someone at home, like an adult you trust. If someone knows you're worried, they can help make sure you're able to express your feelings without feeling uncomfortable or needing to give an explanation all of the time.

If you need help deciding how to say this or just want to talk, our counsellors are here for you. You can also get support and advice from other young people on our message boards.

Thanks for sending me this letter, take care.

Sam

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