Grief on Father’s Day can occur whether you are grieving the loss of your father or if you are a father grieving the loss of a child. This day can be a challenge as it brings up emotions and a sense of grief and loss.

If you have lost a father, this can be a painful day of the year. If your relationship with your father was close and loving, then this time may bring up emotions of sorrow and grief, and maybe even bittersweet as you remember good times while also facing that void in your life. Or you may have had a  challenging relationship with your father where he was absent physically or emotionally, which may bring up painful memories, loneliness, and sadness.

If you are a father who has lost a child, this may be a day you want to ignore because the pain of that loss is so unbearable you cannot imagine getting through it.

If this is something you are facing, there are several things you may want to consider to help you cope. Keep in mind that you may not be ready, and it is okay to do nothing or do something that pre-occupies your time as much as possible to keep your attention off the pain.

If you are ready, here are some suggestions that may help you.

Do something you enjoyed doing with your father or child, watch a favorite movie, listen to a favorite song, go to a place you loved to go to with each other.  Remembrance is part of the grieving process and a step towards healing.  Give yourself grace knowing the day will still be difficult, but doing meaningful activities, you can learn to give the day special significance.

Spend time in quiet reflection, do not force it, let the emotions to come and go, you may even cry, but crying can be healing. Reflect on your loved one’s life, or take a prayer walk or use this time to relax without thinking and enjoy some peace.

Plant a tree find a special place in your yard where you can plant a tree in memory of your loved one.

Make a collage or memory book reflecting the memories with photographs and sayings. You can easily create a digital photo collage online and have it printed on canvas, or you can also use a frame with multiple openings for many photos.

Write down all of your thoughts and everything you want to say to your loved one and put it in a message bottle then float it off in a nearby lake or river.

Lastly, another suggestion is to write pouring out feelings on paper or in a journal. Be honest and let your emotions drive what you write. It will be hard, and you will most likely cry as you journal, but the feelings of peace you will feel in doing this is very healing.

Don’t worry about “bringing other people down.” Those who care about you want to know how you’re feeling. Father’s Day is a day for you to do what is best for you to get through the day.

Just being prepared to know you may struggle on this day.  I hope that some of these suggestions will help you get through it. When we do things in memory of our loved ones, we heal ourselves in the process.

I pray that you can find some peace on Father’s Day.