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Dreading Father’s Day?

The Grief Journal open with prompt visible and pink flowers surrounding it.

I used to approach Father’s Day like everyone else. I’d go searching for a card for my dad days in advance or make one from scratch. I’d try to find the perfect gift, usually golf or football themed, and come up with a fun activity or meal to share with my dad that Sunday. It was a lovely day filled with quality father-daughter time.

When my dad died, everything changed. Father’s Day became a day filled with friends sharing photos of their dads, enjoying meals and special moments, all the things I could no longer do. It was a day of reminders that my dad was no longer here. Even before the actual day, it was a week of people asking what I’d be doing for Father’s Day, only to remember my dad was no longer alive, followed by awkwardness.

I know I’m not alone in these feelings, but for many years it felt that way. The truth is, there are tons of people out there missing their fathers on Father’s Day. Some have also lost their fathers to cancer, some have absent fathers, and some are wishing they could be fathers. If you’re dreading Father’s Day, I want to share some ways to handle the day, especially during a year already overflowing with grief and anxiety.

  • Do something to honor your father – If he loved golfing, go golfing. If he loved Italian food, have Italian food for dinner. If he loved giving back, volunteer or plant a tree on his behalf. Do all the things he loved most. You can even make new traditions for your family to carry on in his memory.
  • Avoid social media – I find that social media triggers me on this day, and can fill me with avoidable sadness. There’s no need to scroll endlessly looking through photos of your friends with their fathers. Just don’t do it.
  • Make plans with your friends – Maybe you know someone else who’s missing their father. Reach out and make plans with them. It always feels better to face this day with someone who gets it.
  • Pamper yourself – Having a self-care day is never a bad idea. Go get a massage, get your nails done, or take it easy by reading a good book by the pool. Anything that helps you feel more relaxed can make the day more bearable.
  • Share memories – Talk about your loved one with your friends and family. If you’re doing something in your father’s honor, there are surely memories these activities will spark. If you’ve made plans with your friend, tell them about a piece of your father. I bet they’ll reciprocate with a story of their own. I know I said avoid social media, but if you want to quickly log on and share a story of your father, I find that my loved ones jump at the opportunity to show their support and love. Lastly, if the thought of sharing memories with others feels overwhelming, try writing them down. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable opening up to others, so journaling is the better route for me. Everyone is different so do what is best for you.

Sending lots of love to those struggling this Father's Day. Remember, you’re not alone.

With love,

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