Father’s Day can be an overwhelming occasion for those who have lost their fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, or children.
The grief and sadness that come with the absence of a loved one can make this day particularly challenging. Especially when you begin to notice shops start to bring out their Father’s Day window displays or your email inbox begins to flood with various “do you want to opt-out of Father’s Day marketing?” emails.
All of this can be a crushing reminder of your grief.
Here are some tips that might help you to cope with the emotions that surface as you navigate Father’s Day.
1. Plan ahead
You can never be certain when a wave of grief might come over you; so it can be helpful to think ahead about what you’d like to do on the day.
Whether it be that you want to have a duvet day sat in front of the television watching a film that you associate with your loved one, or that you want to keep yourself busy and spend time with friends or family.
Knowing what works best for you, try and think ahead as having a plan can help you navigate the day more smoothly.
2. Share your memories
Take the opportunity to reminisce and share cherished memories of your loved one. Talk to friends and family members, write in a journal, or create a memory box. Sharing stories and memories can provide comfort.
3. Create new traditions
Consider establishing new traditions or rituals to honour your loved one’s memory. It could be lighting a candle, eating their favourite meal, visiting somewhere that reminds you of them, or engaging in an activity they enjoyed. These traditions can allow you to establish a meaningful way to keep their memory alive.
4. Be cautious when viewing social media
On Father’s Day, you may find your social media newsfeed is full of others sharing sentimental Father’s Day posts.
This can be incredibly difficult for the grieving heart as it can make those unsettling emotions of grief, jealousy or loss arise. Know that it is OK to feel this way.
If seeing other people’s sentimental posts is hard, and makes you feel worse, take a break. It’s OK to turn off your phone or delete your social media apps for the day.
5. Seek support
Reach out to your support network, including family, friends, or a St Clare Bereavement Café where you can meet with other people who understand what grief can feel like. Sharing your feelings and experiences with others who have been through a similar loss can provide solace and a sense of belonging.
6. Be kind to yourself
Most importantly, you need to be gentle with yourself. It’s important that you acknowledge how you feel during this time, whether it be sadness, anger, exhaustion or even confusion. Give yourself permission to feel and express these emotions without judgment.
You may even find that navigating your grief this Father’s Day goes completely differently to what you may have expected.
This blog was written by Emma Boys. She is a volunteer Youth Bereavement Café Facilitator for St Clare Hospice.