Approaching Father's Day While You're Grieving

By: Kate Nypaver
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Father’s Day can be difficult to face when your dad is no longer living. Even if he passed years ago, a holiday to recognize your father can surface some residual grief. But there are ways to face Father’s Day that can lessen your pain and give you some peace of mind.

Try not to focus on your loss. Dads are notorious for telling us stories of their own youth, cracking jokes they think are just hysterical, and giving us some of the best advice. What has your father given you over the years? Maybe it was something tangible, like a watch or a set of tools. Maybe you can look in the mirror and see in your own face what he’s passed down to you. Or perhaps he gave you advice that you now live by.

Writing down the positive things you’ve received can help you feel more fulfilled. Was it a sense of security? Money for the ice cream truck? Unwarranted football facts or Seinfeld references? These things probably made you smile in the past, and have the chance to help you now. And once you start the list, it gets easier to work through as you reminisce. But ultimately, you know who your father was. If this list doesn’t suit you, what else might? A list of life lessons? Things your dad taught you not to do? Times he completely embarrassed you in front of your friends by his dad-isms?  

The lists can go on and on, and be as specific or vague as you like. Grief is very significant to the person experiencing it, and the healing process is very much the same. However you treat Father’s Day, try to remember that you’re the one living the day, and that you deserve to enjoy it, even if you can’t give your dad an expensive Hallmark card. You can always buy one anyway.

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