From our Bare family to yours, you are not alone. We are thinking of you and are here to support you in any way we can. If you would like to talk to someone about your grief, you can book in for a session with our Bereavement Specialist, Claire Hoffman, here.
The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. If you are in need of support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or head here for more grief support services.
Grief is a lifelong journey, but certain days, like Father’s Day, can trigger a wave of grief so intense it brings you back to the first days and weeks after your loss. The pain is particularly intense for those who have lost a father, grandfather or father figure, or fathers who have had to say goodbye to a child far too soon.
Here is your reminder for Father’s Day; you are not alone, no matter how much it feels like it. You are not the only one struggling with your grief on a day of joy, and there are so many people out there who understand and are experiencing the same thing as you.
In this article we will explore various strategies to help you cope with your grief, celebrate your father's life, and find solace and comfort on this day around your grief.
Why Father’s Day is an intense day for grief.
On a day where the world is celebrating and appreciating their fathers, the grief of not having your father with you can feel like a sucker punch, a reminder of what you’ve lost. And even if you didn’t have a close relationship, the day can stir up feelings of regret and general sadness.
While some people feel that every day is the same after a loved one has died, others find days of celebration much harder than others. While Christmas and Easter and other celebratory days can be tough, specific celebrations such as Father’s Day bring up a specific kind of pain because it feels like the rest of the world is filled with joy.
Navigating grief on Father's Day can be a complex and emotional experience, but it's essential to remember that you're not alone in this journey. Every individual's grief journey is unique, and it's okay to experience a vast range of emotions, whether it’s been 1 year, 6 years or 20 years since your loved one passed away. Remember to be gentle with yourself and allow yourself the space you need to heal.
Taking care of yourself on Father’s Day.
Finding comfort in shared memories.
One of the most powerful ways to navigate grief on Father's Day is by finding comfort in shared memories. Remembering the times you spent with your loved one can bring a sense of warmth and connection, allowing you to celebrate their life, even in their absence. Whether it's looking through old photographs, revisiting places you both enjoyed, or recalling the stories they used to tell, these memories can bring joy and comfort alongside the grief.
Creating a memorial or tribute.
Creating a memorial or tribute to your father is another meaningful way to cope with grief on Father's Day. This could involve setting up a small memorial space with items that remind you of him, such as his favourite books, hobbies, or belongings. You could also plant a tree, dedicate a bench, or contribute to a cause he cared about in his honour. Having a physical space or gesture to remember him by can provide a sense of connection.
Sharing stories and reminiscing.
Gathering with family and friends to share stories and reminisce about your father can be therapeutic. If you’re grieving, chances are your loved ones are also grieving on this day as well.
Having these conversations allows you to celebrate his life together and keep his memory alive. Sharing anecdotes, funny incidents, and heartfelt moments can evoke both laughter and tears, helping everyone present feel connected in their grief and love for him.
The healing power of rituals.
Rituals can play a significant role in finding solace on Father's Day. These symbolic gestures can provide a sense of continuity and help you feel closer to your father's spirit. Lighting a candle in his memory, releasing balloons with written messages, or even cooking his favourite meal can serve as personal rituals that honour his memory and create a sense of connection.
Visiting a special place.
If there's a place that holds special meaning in your relationship with your father, consider visiting it on Father's Day. It could be a park you used to visit together, a beach where you spent quality time, or even his final resting place. Being in that space can evoke memories and provide a sense of closeness, allowing you to feel his presence in a comforting way.
Expressing your feelings creatively.
Artistic expression can be a powerful outlet for processing grief. Writing a letter to your father, even if he's no longer here, can help you express your feelings, share things you wish you could've said, and find a sense of closure. Similarly, creating art, music, or poetry inspired by your father can be a cathartic way to externalise your emotions and connect with him on a deeper level.
You may also find writing a letter helpful to express your feelings. Share updates on your life, reminisce about cherished moments, and let him know how much he is missed.
Understanding the complexity of your grief.
Grief is a multifaceted emotion that encompasses feelings of loss, sadness, anger, and even relief. On Father's Day, these emotions can surge to the forefront, making it crucial to acknowledge and accept them. Instead of suppressing feelings, allowing yourself to experience and process them can be a healthier approach.
Prioritising self care.
Taking care of your emotional well-being is essential, especially on difficult days like Father's Day. Engage in activities that bring you comfort, whether it's reading, walking in nature, journaling or practising mindfulness. Avoiding social media can be helpful, as well as treating the day like any other day.
Final thoughts on coping with grief on Father’s Day.
As you navigate grief on Father's Day, remember that your emotions are valid, and there's no right or wrong way to cope. By embracing the memories you shared with your father and finding meaningful ways to celebrate his life, you can find healing amidst the pain. Through connection and reflection, you can honour your father's memory and find comfort through the pain on this special day.
Be kind to yourself. Grief is a lifelong journey, which we grow around and carry with us. The love and pain will always be there, but you are strong enough to make it through.
Our team at Bare are here for you. If you would like to talk to someone about your grief, you can book in for a session with our Bereavement Specialist, Claire Hoffman, here.