Grieving the loss of your father can make Father’s Day a harrowing experience and even though the build-up doesn’t seem to be as overwhelming as the flowers, happiness and chocolates of Mother’s Day, the pain is no less. The world may be going on around you and you can feel isolated in your pain.
Grief hurts, a lot. Let it be ok to cry because you miss your Dad. When we lose someone significant in our lives, we are often left with things we still need to say to them. Have a special hour in the day that’s just between you and your Dad. If you could have one more conversation with him, what would you ask him and what would you like to tell him? Write it all down. Take your time, be honest - no-one will read this, unless you want to share it. Follow your instincts and trust the process but try not to keep your focus on the fact that he is no longer alive as this can hold you in no man’s land and block out all the wonderful things in his life.
Here are some suggestions to help you to remember your Dad and to find your own way of remembering him.
• Take a walk in nature. This is a wonderful way to clear your head and open yourself up. The rhythm of your feet as they land upon the earth can be therapeutic just on its own.
• Reach out to family and friends of your Dad and share memories. Speak about your favourite, most memorable memory. What makes you who you are because of your Dad. This will remind you of all the wonderful things in his life and how your world is a much better place because of him. Allowing yourself to share your memories brings you into communion with his spirit and will give you a feeling of closeness.
• June is a lovely time of year and, of course, the month we celebrate Father’s Day. Plant a flower, create a special area in your garden that can you add to. Tend your little plot and watch as it grows. Look for beautiful pebbles. You can decorate them and edge your plot with them. This will give you a good ‘Dad activity’ not just on the actual day, but the whole year through.
• Light a candle by a favourite photograph. Lighting a candle is a powerful act, bringing light into our moments of darkness.
• Dedicate something to your Dad - a piece of work, your next uni assignment, some charity work, a poem. Be creative and find whatever works for you, we have to do what is right for us to find our way though. It actually matters not a jot what anyone else thinks or says. Be confident in your loss and trust how it makes you feel. This is how we reduce some of its weight.
Finding new ways of connecting with those we have lost by allowing ourselves to remember all the shared moments, will keep them a part of our life in the present.
Our best monument to the loss of anyone we love is to recognise their special qualities and emulate all those things we admired and loved best about them. And when we find ourselves being and doing these things, we then know that we never really lose anyone, they walk beside us wherever we are, whatever we are doing.
Lianna Champ has over 40 years’ experience in grief and bereavement counselling and is author of practical guide, How to Grieve Like A Champ