Chapter 5: Others in your family

Your grandparents, aunts, and uncles

Losing a child at any age is traumatic – we saw this with my grandparents when Mom died. They lost their only daughter. Everyone said to me “no one should have to bury their child.”


If your grandparents are still alive, they will be grieving the death of their child and may not be able to support you. Their grief may be quite different from yours. Losing an adult child is devastating, and they might also be coping with their own health and aging issues.


Your parent’s siblings

If your parent had siblings, they will be grieving this loss too. Each sibling, and their children, will have had a different relationship with your parent, which will influence their grief. You may draw support from some while providing support to others, or the support may be mutual.

Your relationship with your grandparent, aunts, and uncles may be impacted in different ways. Roll your mouse over the boxes to see examples. 

A good relationship…



May bring you closer in your shared grief.


Old wounds…



May result in a deeper rift.




You might feel closer to other family members than you have in a long time, or it may be the closest you’ve felt as a family. If so, cherish and nourish this feeling. 

As much as possible, remember to include your grandparents, aunts, and uncles in any rituals or memorials that you, your surviving parent, or your siblings may be planning. Let them know that their grief has its place alongside everyone else’s. 


What may help

As much as possible, keep your communications open and honest, and try to be patient and compassionate with each other.

Old tensions may resurface; if it feels right for you, it might be helpful to ask for forgiveness from each other.


Helpful resources - Module 3: How has this loss affected my family and me? - Module 4: Moving through grief