Therapist Renee Joyce discusses ways to make Father’s Days easier for those who have experienced the loss of a father figure.
Father’s Day can be particularly difficult on a grieving family who have experienced the death loss of a father figure. No one knows quite what it is like to have lost a dad, uncle or grandfather except the ones who are impacted by the loss of this important person. Sometimes, making meaningful experiences together by honoring and memorializing the deceased can help families to feel more connected and stronger as they work through healing. There are many ways to stay connected to him through your and the children’s relationships and memories with him. Here are a few ideas to cope through Father’s Day to hopefully make a painful day more manageable for you and your kids.
· Make a slumber party in the living room and watch his favorite movies or TV shows.
· Bake his favorite cake.
· Make his favorite meal.
· Decorate cards for him.
· Plant flowers or a tree in his honor.
· Make a playlist or decorate CD’s with all your special person’s favorite bands or songs.
· Travel to his favorite place or do his favorite activity like hiking, camping, playing basketball, or fishing.
· Help each family member to share their favorite memory with their dad.
· Wear articles of his clothing for the day or clothes that resemble his job (i.e. glasses, police uniform or badge, construction hat, a tie).
· Help the kids to put on a play for their dad.
· Write a letter to him. Or write a speech about him.
· Decorate a picture frame together of your favorite photo of him.
· Release balloons into the sky with special messages written to him attached.
· Write or draw a story book about his life and encourage the kids to draw or glue pictures on each page.
Making new memories by incorporating the relationship of your special person can bring comfort in difficult moments. Remember that it is okay to take a break during the day in order to maintain your emotional well-being. It is okay to ask for help from a friend or relative to help watch the kids or to help make the day special.
Talk as a family and make a plan together about how you would like to spend the day. In my experiences, some families might stay inside and decide to celebrate Father’s Day another day. Some families might spend the entire day doing all of their special person’s favorite things. The important thing is to remind your kids that you care for them and are there for them. Remind them that even though things have changed, he is still their dad and there are still ways that they can feel close to him and make Father’s Day special. Especially with younger children, extra hugs might be needed today. Just know that you are not alone and that you and your family are strong enough to get through this, one step at a time.
Photo: edward musiak/flickr
Like The Good Men Project on Facebook