7 Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day without Dad

June 14, 2018 Grief by Sarah Loghry

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The first time I experienced the death of a loved one was only a few years ago when my grandfather passed away. It wasn’t sudden by any means, so my family had a little time to come to terms with the idea. I’m a people watcher, so I spent a lot of time observing how my family members dealt with their grief. I had always heard that people deal with grief differently, but I hadn’t experienced it before. These differences appear more intensely during the holidays or anniversary of his passing.

As we’re nearing Father’s Day, it’s important to remember the fathers and grandfathers who have passed away. Whether it was recent or several years ago, client families can still be grieving in their own, unique ways. Here are seven ways to help them celebrate Father’s Day without their dad.

1. Write him a Father’s Day card.

Expressing feelings during the holidays that follow the passing of a loved one can be complicated. However, it’s been proven that journaling is a good form of stress relief and writing causes you to slow down your thoughts and focus on your emotions. Suggest that your client families use a Father’s Day card like a journal to write memories or describe other feelings they’re having during or leading up to the holiday.

2. Wear his favorite colors.

If their dad or grandfather had a favorite sports team, consider suggesting that they embrace the team spirit on Father’s Day as a nod to their lost loved one. If sports weren’t his thing, simply wearing his favorite color or an article of clothing or accessory that reminds them of him could help them feel like they’re celebrating his life.

3. Do an activity he loved to do.

Was their loved one an avid baker? Did he spend all of his free time watching hockey? Maybe he never missed a Saturday on the golf course, or maybe they could always catch him planting flowers around his home. Whatever it was that their loved one liked to do, suggest they plan their Father’s Day around his favorite activity. It’s a great way to feel like they are honoring his memory.

4. Look at old pictures or watch home movies.

If client families choose to celebrate Father’s Day with their extended family, suggest they sit down together and look through old family photos or watch home movies. Seeing their loved one again may bring up happy, sad and funny memories of their time together.

5. Donate to his favorite charity.

It’s a simple gesture, but donating time or money to a loved one’s favorite charity or cause can make surviving loved ones feel connected during the holidays. Whether they’re donating clothing to a homeless shelter or dedicating a bench in their favorite park, they can make a difference on their loved one’s behalf even after he’s gone.

6. Create a memory book.

If they like being crafty, creating a memory book filled with pictures and other small tokens is a great idea. Whether they do it alone or with their family, finding and enjoying old mementos is a fun way to honor their lost loved one.

7. Visit the cemetery or another important location.

If their loved one was buried in a cemetery, or their ashes were scattered in an important place, suggest visiting them on Father’s Day. It can be a great tradition to pay respects to a loved one on special holidays.

Losing a loved one can be challenging, and it can become even more difficult during holidays like Father’s Day. Do you have a special way to remember your father or father figure? Let us know in the comments.