By Rachel Biddle (Harmless Clinical Support Worker)
Father’s Day is on Sunday 18th June this year and it is not a joy-filled occasion for everyone. The day can bring up painful emotions for anyone who has lost a Dad, has a turbulent relationship with their Dad or struggles with any other issue related to fatherhood.
If you are grieving for your Dad, or are a Dad grieving a child, you may find that Father’s Day and the lead up to it are particularly hard to cope with. The messaging displayed in adverts, social media or in shops can act as a constant reminder of the person that you are missing, and you may find that you experience a range of emotions including sadness, anger or jealousy.
If you are grieving for a relationship that was more complicated, the celebration of paternal love embedded within Father’s Day can be really difficult to face and you may not know how to feel.
My lovely Dad died in 2011 and I miss him a lot. He was clever, kind and funny, a great sounding-board and my footballing companion – the best. His death also came only three years after my brother’s suicide and this compounded my grief in many ways. On Father’s Day this year I plan on a variety of my favourite things for self-care and to help make the day easier – family, food and drink, books, music, watching my youngest play football and nature. Some of these things link to my Dad in a positive way. We also have another great Dad in our household so will make sure that he is celebrated too!
Here are some other thoughts which may be helpful if you are grieving too:
- Put yourself first. Try not to feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do, and if possible focus on doing something that you enjoy.
- You may wish to do something in memory of your loved one – light a candle or visiting a place that meant a lot to them, or sharing memories of them with others.
- Sometimes it can help to talk to someone else who may also be in a similar position or seek bereavement support.
- If the day is too much of a struggle, then it is perfectly OK to distract yourself instead and ignore the fact that it is Father’s Day. It may help to take the day off social media and avoid potential triggers.
Most importantly, take care of yourself and know that you are not alone.