For many people, Father’s Day is a celebratory occasion where they can shower their Dad with love, and show a little appreciation for all the help he has given over the years. However, for others, Father’s Day can become a date in the calendar they dread, as they know they will have to face endless painful reminders that their Dad is no longer with them.
When your Dad dies the pain is as real as at any age, but each age can bring its own challenges. In our 20s and 30s, for example, we may have moved away from our childhood home, be married ourselves, immersed in a career. It can be such a busy period of our lives that we can be so wrapped up in our own lives that we see our parents as people who perform a function for us. We have their unconditional and consistent love, and it is only when we lose them we realise they were so much more than that. We may then think of the missed opportunities, the conversations that should have taken place. The opportunity to tell them how you felt before they died.
So, if your parents are still living, have those conversations now, before it’s too late. Please don’t wait until they have died to thank them for what they have done for you or to tell them what they mean to you and how much you love them. Tell them what you loved about your childhood, share everything with them, the good and the not so good, so that you have a rounded and complete relationship with them.
Following any loss, painful emotions that are withheld and not put into words can have a negative impact on us emotionally as well as physically. We must learn to share open and honest expressions of our pain, our fear and our sadness. Find someone you trust, someone who will just listen to you without the need to tell you what to do or even how you should be feeling. It helps massively to express our feelings and find out what works for us. Choose people you feel safe with.
So if you find yourself comforting a friend following the loss of their Dad this Father’s Day, don’t compare you own losses. Be honest and tell them that you cannot imagine how they must be feeling. Have an open heart and just listen without comment. Sometimes as grievers, we just need a one way conversation to unravel the confusion and pain of our grief. If you are with someone who has had loss, don’t talk, just listen. Know that they need a little love on Father’s Day, birthdays etc and send a little note just to say that you remember. A little love goes a long way. And when we grieve our Dad, it is love that we need.
Lianna Champ has over 40 years’ experience in bereavement and grief recovery. Her new book How to Grieve Like a Champ is out 07 June 2018, priced £9.99. To find out more go to: www.champfunerals.com