5 Ways to Remember Dad—Managing Grief on Father’s Day

Father’s Day can be a hard holiday to handle when you’ve lost your dad. If it’s a recent loss, the omnipresent messages of Father’s Day may feel like too much to bear. If more time has passed Father’s Day may inspire you to do something special to honor the memory of the man who taught you so much. Regardless of the amount of time that has passed, there are several ways you can manage your grief while remembering Dad this Father’s day.

Here are 5 ways to remember your father:

1. Buy a card

It’s hard to escape Father’s Day cards for sale in the month of June. If the card display makes you emotional, go ahead and buy a card that captures your feelings or your relationship with your father. Thoughtful, serious or funny, the card you choose can help put your emotions and thoughts into words. Tap into those memories, and write a note in the card. You can bring the card to your father’s gravesite or keep it in a special place at home.

2. Share his stories

Many fathers are known for the stories they tell, whether they are life lessons in disguise or colorful documentation of a past era. On Father’s Day keep your own father’s stories alive for future generations by recording some of your favorites in a journal or retelling his stories to your own children. Or, at the dinner table ask each family member to share their favorite story of Dad’s or Grandpa’s or a special memory of their own before beginning the meal.

3. Bring flowers

Bringing flowers to your father’s gravesite on Father’s Day is a nice way to pay tribute to your dad, and you can do so with a “masculine” touch. Choose flowers in the colors of his favorite college or pro team, like red and white carnations with blue irises for a Cubs fan or bright yellow daises with greenery for the die-hard Packers fan. Or select an arrangement in the logo of Dad’s favorite team. As an added service, most Dignity Memorial® providers have relationships with local florists to make ordering flowers easy.

4. Visit another father

Father’s Day might feel lonely if you can’t visit or call your own father. Consider visiting a senior in a nursing home or senior center who might not otherwise have any visitors on Father’s Day. If appropriate and permitted by the facility, younger children can also enjoy the visit. Instead of feeling alone with your memories on Father’s Day, use the day to bring joy to another father’s afternoon.

5. What would Dad do?

On Father’s Day, spend the day in tribute to your father by taking part in activities he would have enjoyed. Take the family to a ballgame, barbecue on Dad’s grill in the backyard or watch a movie marathon of his favorite flicks—whether it’s John Wayne or James Bond, these activities can help you feel you’re still spending the day with Dad even when he’s gone.

Missing Dad on Father’s Day is natural. And how you choose to spend Father’s Day when Dad is gone may vary from year to year. However you decide to spend the day, grief experts agree that it’s most important to listen to your heart and allow yourself to do as much or as little as you are able to do. Giving yourself permission to grieve for or honor Dad in whatever way you need is essential to managing your own grief and well-being while remembering him this Father’s Day. 

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