Father’s Day can be an incredibly challenging time when dealing with the loss of a father or a child. Even in grief, Father’s Day can be a time to honor and remember the impact that your loved one’s have on your and your family’s life.
Grieving the loss of a child on Father’s Day:
Father’s Day can be very difficult or triggering for those who have lost a child, as the day itself can still be a reminder of the grief journey. Here are some suggestions grieving fathers or their support system can use on Father’s Day:
Remember that Fatherhood is forever
- Just because this Father’s Day looks different from how you may have been expecting it, does not mean that the holiday applies any less to you. Once a father, always a father.
Embrace ways to cope
- Finding a comfortable way to honor your feelings of grief or loss while also celebrating Fatherhood can help you through the holiday. Search for ways to caretake for yourself, whether that looks like spending time with loved ones, taking care of your physical health, or finding some time to be alone.
Find Comfortable Traditions
- Every instance of losing a child is unique in its own way. Be encouraged to continue traditions that honor the memory of your loss or to create new ones.
Seek Professional Help
- Remembering loss, particularly in a way that triggers grieving, can be a painful and isolating time. Seek or accept the help of those around you.
The following are some ways to recognize Father’s Day after losing your father:
Honor memories and traditions while making new ones too
- Continuing Father’s Day traditions like a favorite restaurant, golf course, or activity can be an excellent way to remember your father. Making new memories and traditions with those you love can help you look forward to the positives of Father’s Day.
Listen to your children and respect their feelings
- While you lost a parent, your children also lost a grandparent, which can be hard emotions to deal with. Take the time to respect and listen to your children and the level of engagement they would like to have with the holiday.
Connect with family and loved ones
- Holidays are a great time to call on your “village” and be surrounded by those you love. Whether that is planning a get-together with your siblings or having friends over for dinner, reminding yourself of your support system is a great way to stay positive and work through the grieving process.
Plan a trip
- Oftentimes, not having a plan for a holiday can lead to feelings of anxiety about what you’re going to do. When you are overwhelmed by the idea of Father’s Day weekend, taking a family trip or getting out of the house for a day can be a way to mitigate your grieving and create new experiences and traditions.
Find new ways to remember your father
- Celebrating your parent’s memory can manifest in many ways after their passing. You can write a letter to your parent, give a gift to someone else, or do community service in their name to continue the tradition of Father’s Day.
- Sometimes it takes a holiday for loss to truly sink in. Father’s Day can be one of those occasions where you realize the depth of your feelings. Family can be one support system but do not be afraid to seek counseling or other spaces to be vulnerable about your grief and emotions of loss.
For more information on grief see these articles: