Father’s Day 2019

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” – Inuit saying

In September, Father’s Day celebrates the relationships we have with our fathers, but for many of us, this may be a difficult time.

Losing a father can be devastating, and on days like Father’s Day and their birthday, your grief may be more intense. Remember that there is no set timeline for your grief journey, and to be kind to yourself. This day may bring about strong feelings, so remember to take a moment for yourself if needed, or share your thoughts with family and friends.

Consider taking the day to honour and celebrate your father. Here are a few ways that may help you cope with the day:

  • Write him a letter
    Take some time to reflect and write him a message. You may want to tell him about what has been happening in your life, or in your family. There may be jokes or news you would like to share with him. You may also want to write down your feelings or how much you miss him.
    Or if you do not want to write directly to him, you may wish to write down your favourite stories and compile memories about him.
  • Look through old photos and letters
    Remember the moments captured by the photos and the happiness you may have felt at the time. If you have children, you may wish to show them the photos and share stories about their grandfather. They may also share their memories too of their grandfather.
  • Do his favourite activity
    Eat his favourite meal, or watch his favourite movie. Go fishing if your father liked to fish, or hiking, painting, having a barbecue, or anything that he enjoyed.
  • Go to a special place
    Spend some time in a place where you feel close to your father. This may be somewhere he took you, or a beach, his garden, the theatre, and so on.
  • Spend time with your family and friends
    Schedule an activity or get-together with your loved ones. You may like to take turns to share stories and remember the good times you have had together. Being surrounded by those who care about you may be helpful and keep you busy.
  • Reach out for help
    If you are becoming overwhelmed by sadness and grief, remember to ask for help. This may be from a family member, a friend, or a counsellor.

Losing a child is an overwhelming experience and days like Father’s Day can be filled with unbearable grief. Spending the day with your loved ones may give you strength and help you cope. Although it may be painful, if you do have other children, spend time with them as it can be a powerful way to cope with your loss. Keeping busy may also help you get through the day. You may also wish to honour them with any of the above activities. Check in with yourself and remember it is okay to reach out for help from loved ones or a counsellor. Remember you are and will always be their father.

If your children have lost their father, keep the conversation open about their father by sharing happy memories and allowing your children to express their grief. Collecting keepsakes or photographs together to create a memory box or photo album may be healing for them. Tangible physical items may help the children feel connected to their father.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers with us and those in our memories. By keeping your father in your heart and memories, his legacy will live on through you.

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning:

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