Dealing with Grief on Father's Day

My Dad

This year marked the 4th anniversary of my Dad's death and whilst some days I manage my grief well, there are certain triggers, where I can feel that overwhelming sense of loss well upside of me and I just want to lock myself away.

Sometimes, it can be a song on the radio, or I see something that reminds me of an inside family joke, or can it be some kind of anniversary, birthday, Christmas or Father's Day.

With Father's Day happening on the 20th June, I can feel those feelings starting to bubble slightly and so I have started to mentally prepare myself. Father's Day is tough, whether you've lost your Dad or you're a Dad who has lost a child.

Here's a few of the things I do to cope and I'd love to hear any suggestions you have.

  1. Unsubscribe from Father's Day E-mails.

  • A lot of companies give you the opportunity to unsubscribe from their marketing e-mails for Mother's Day / Father's Day, I always do this. It doesn't mean that I wont receive stuff from them in. the future, but it wont be anything targeted towards those occasions.

  • It's really simple to do, just click the button on the e-mail - job done and I love that companies have finally recognised how difficult it is to be bombarded with a constant stream of e-mails about Father's Day.

2. Take a Social Media Break.

  • On the day itself, I tend to avoid Social Media, either by deleting the apps from my phone or turning off the notifications.

  • It just gives me a bit of space from it all.

3. Do Something in His Memory.

  • Me and my sister tend to donate some money to a charity in Dad's memory, we try and pick something he supported, or we give to a cancer charity. We use the money we would have spent on a present. It makes it feel like we're doing something positive.

4. Have a Simple Act of Memorial.

  • This can be anything that you feel is appropriate for your loved one, you could take flowers to their final resting place, light a candle or do something that they enjoyed doing.

  • My sister Lucy and I will cook a meal, make sure we have a nice glass of red (probably Malbec) and try and re-create my Dad's famous "Dad-dancing" moves.

  • We will share lots of our favourite memories and story about him too.

5. Don't Feel Guilty.

  • Do whatever you need to do, whether that's staying home, watching your favourite films, reading a book, having a bath, going for a walk, do what you want, something that you will enjoy.

  • Also if you don't feel like responding to messages, then don't! People mean well, but sometimes you just need to be in your own space - don't feel guilty about ignoring them, respond when you're ready, they'll understand.

  • It's really OK to put yourself first and look after your own needs.

I think the biggest thing is not to ignore how you're feeling, or how Father's Day might make you feel, do whatever you need to do and seek support if you need it.

If you're really struggling then please talk to a professional, there are a number of places that offer support and advice, your local GP, The Good Grief Trust, Cruse Bereavement Care, or Child Bereavement UK.

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