Honoring Dad this Father’s Day

Drawing by a WARM Place child

Though significant dates hold a special place in our memories and hearts, there is added pressure with how to celebrate on these specific dates. When grieving, it may be hard to determine how to celebrate, or even if you feel ready to celebrate. With Father’s Day approaching, this could elicit many feelings. Even if you are a parent grieving a father, or your child is grieving a father, grieving as a household through a significant date isn’t easy. Each member of the household grieves their relationship differently. Sometimes significant dates may also highlight the void of another special relationship that is being grieved, even if it is not after a death of a father.

As the Father’s Day weekend approaches, there are several things to consider to help support your child, family and self in grief. It is common for family members to want to do different things to remember their loved ones, or nothing at all based on where they are in their grief journey. Based on what each family member is wanting to do to celebrate their loved one who died, doesn’t mean one is grieving any less than another. Open communication as a family is important in order to understand and validate where each person is in their grief. By communicating what your needs are and asking what ideas and needs are of each family member, you can help cultivate mindfulness of each other and where everyone stands in their grief. You may be even able to plan a celebration that everyone feels comfortable with, but without adding too much pressure on yourself to do something elaborate to remember dad on Father’s Day.

There is nothing too small if it helps you remember your loved one.  Some ways to celebrate or honor your father figure may include:

  • Watching his favorite movie

  • Going to or ordering out from his favorite restaurant

  • Sharing or drawing fond memories or stories about him

  • Participating in one of his favorite activities

  • Making a charitable donation in memory of him

  • Going to the cemetery

  • Doing an environmentally friendly balloon release

  • Staying at home and taking care of yourself

  • Celebrating on a different day

There is not be a perfect formula on how to celebrate your loved one because each moment in grief is different, and that is okay. Try to meet yourself and your family members where they are in grief, without judgment or worry. At times it may feel difficult to know how to handle grief based on feedback from others, whether they are grieving or not. Take time to be kind and remind yourself that this is where you are in your grief. Though it may change, it is okay to be where you are and cater to those needs.