Holidays, like Father’s Day, often bring up a multitude of emotions, not only if your loss is recent or long ago. Fathers Day may put you back on the roller coaster of grief whether you lost your father or father-figure or you may be a father who has lost a child, this day can be difficult and even the days leading up to it can be challenging. Everywhere we see father day cards, commercials advertising father day gifts, others who are planning their day and on top of that for those who have loved ones in the Hospital or Nursing Home, right now you may grieve not the death of a father but grieving that you may not be able to visit them.   It may be an opportunity to create new ways to acknowledge the day, including doing nothing at all! It is important you handle the day that best helps you manage through the day itself.

If you’re concerned about  Father’s Day or want to support someone who is grieving, here are a few ways you can consider:

  • First, keep in mind that leading up to the day may be overwhelming, be sure to keep busy, spend time doing activities you enjoy.
  • Prepare to grieve, knowing that you may grieve and planning for it will help you find new ways to shift your focus off your pain.
  • Plan for the day and how you will spend it. You may want to do something that connects with your loved one and what they meant to you.  Or you may decide to do nothing at all and that is perfectly fine.
  • Communicate as a family, talk with your family ahead of time of how you want to spend the day, be open about your feelings, and make certain you include your family in the planning.
  • Limit social media, you will see it will be flooded with posts all about Fathers Day and that could trigger added grief.
  • Do something for yourself that you enjoy (include family if possible). Perhaps you want to take a walk in the woods or go out to eat with a close family or spend time looking at photos and remembering the good memories.
  • Write a letter or journal about your feelings. Try to shift your mind to pleasant memories or things your loved one taught to and pour out your feelings on paper.
  • Pay tribute to your loved one, do something that they enjoyed (like their favorite meal) Remembering the good memories and how you spent time can help you cope with the day. For some, this may be too hard but finding a way to honor your loved one is healing.
  • Ask for help. It is okay to feel sad, but isolating yourself is not helpful. Talk to a counselor, a friend, or other family members to help you through the day.
  • Volunteer, if you find a way to help others volunteering is the best way to keep your focus on the positives and a great way to spend your day.

How you decide to spend the day make sure you spend it how you will best be able to cope and that is fine.  Remember you are still a father or still a child of a father and that can never be taken away from you.  Father’s are irreplaceable and leaning into your grief is the best way if your feeling overwhelmed and sometimes you simply need to cry or be alone and that is okay, it is you that has to be sure you spend the day in a way that you can cope in a positive manner.