Father’s Day is another one of those celebratory times on the calendar that can trigger grief emotions. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since you lost your loved one, we grieve because of the significant loss, not because of what day it is.
With commercials marketing this as a ‘father’s thing’, the social media brag fest, and all of the shop displays offering the perfect gifts for ‘him’, there are triggers all over which serve to remind us of those men missing in our lives – especially if you had a special tradition which used to mark the occasion.
I lost my dad in 2012 and there are still some years where I find it difficult. These occasions are often the time when people get together with family and friends, so if you’ve experienced loss, this can feel like a pretty stark reminder of that.
There are no rules about how to handle this. There is no “should, would, and could”. What’s important is you take some time out to reflect on what works best for you.
Here’s a few ideas that may help you to cope with your grief:
1. Throw out the rule book. The idea that we’re supposed to spend Father’s Day in a certain way is nonsense. Make the day whatever you want it to be. You can round up some friends and go for dinner or book yourself into a spa for the day – whatever you like.
2. Be with other loved ones. Spend the day with the children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Being around family or those we consider to be family is good for the soul. You can even swap stories and share memories of your loved one if you’d like to.
3. Take to your journal. Do a brain dump of how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking. It’s a healthy outlet and can also lead to some valuable insights about your grief journey. You’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come. You could even add a list of things you love to do and plan something for the near future.
4. Occupy yourself. This might be a great day to write a list of tasks for the coming week or even just relax with a few movies. Think about how you’d like to occupy your time before the day arrives.
5. Call time-out on social media. If flicking through Facebook memories or seeing your newsfeed full of other’s celebrating with their loved ones upsets you, then take a break for a couple of days.
6. Honour your loved one. Focusing your attention on a meaningful way to honour and commemorate your loved one can help channel your thoughts and feelings in a positive way. Ask yourself how your loved one would like to be remembered and then make it happen.
7. Talk about it. Reach out to a friend or family member to have a chat about how you’re feeling. If you’re really struggling then seek some help – now is as good a time as any. I know it sounds cliché, but as lonely as you feel, you’re never alone.
8. Do nothing. Father’s Day is just one day in the year. You may feel nothing towards it and that’s ok too. You can decide to treat it like any other day and carry on as you were. Tomorrow is another day.
As Time Goes By.
I always say, “It isn’t that time is the healer, it’s just that healing takes time”. At some point in the future, special occasions can help us to focus on happier memories of good times shared in the past. Just know that it will start to feel better as you move along this journey.
Looking for Support?
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