Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Awkward conversations after death

In 2011, my auntie passed away, leaving a bunch of my cousins without a mum. My nan and grandad were both distraught at her funeral and no one has mentioned her since. This makes me feel awkward because I was just getting to the age where I would've really got to know my aunt, but now my family act like she never existed, and I would feel bad to see their reaction if I bought her up.

One of my cousins is the same age as me, so we talk a lot, but I can't help but feel awful if I mention something that involves my own mum, because he must be having the worst time. Sometimes my mum just slips into conversations though, and I end up talking really quiet and awkwardly.

Do you have any tips on having more normal conversations with my cousin and how to not feel as awkward bringing up my mum? Thanks:)

Ask Sam



When someone in your family dies it can be a really sad and difficult time for everyone involved. People react totally differently. Some people cry, some people can talk about it, and some people just want to forget. It is important that you can do what you need to do to cope.

It can be difficult to know what to say to people who have lost their mum but talking to the person about it is better than trying to avoid it. It sounds like you are worrying a lot about other people’s reactions but how you feel is just as important. It's not your fault that this has happened and it’s okay for you to talk about your family. You have lost your auntie and you have the right to talk about her too.

Often it can help to talk about the person who died and let out how you feel. Expressing how much you miss that person and to remember what they meant to you is important.

If people act like a person never existed, it can be hard to move on. Your cousin might appreciate you talking about her or asking how he is doing. You can find more information and advice about this on our page about when someone dies.

Maybe you could tell your cousin how you are feeling and see what he says. It could make things less awkward. You could remind him that you and your mum are family too and that you’re there for him, no matter what.

You might want to write it in a letter. Another option is going for a walk with your cousin so you can bring it up. The right time and place are important. talks about what it’s like if someone dies, so maybe you could take a look. If you would like to talk about your auntie or to think of more ideas for talking to your cousin, you can talk to ChildLine at any time.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter