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  • ZoeWilson

Father's Day Without Dad

Fathers Day can be an especially difficult time for many people who have lost their dad or have a dad that is not present in their lives. Anxiety around Fathers Day can be common for those who have lost their father, or for those who may have an estranged relationship with their dad. It can be difficult to navigate the emotions of Fathers Day without a dad, but there are ways to cope. In this blog post, we will explore the different ways to approach Fathers Day without dad and offer tips for coping with the anxiety and sadness that often come with it.

Grief on Father's Day

Traditions, rituals and anniversaries can bring up feelings of grief, a not-so-subtle reminder that the person you should be celebrating with isn't here. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and sadness, especially on days like Father's Day. If you are grieving your Dad on Father's Day, it's important to acknowledge and validate your feelings. Grief is a natural process and it's okay to feel a mix of emotions. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this experience, days like this are difficult for many and you might find community in that.

It's not just people who have lost their fathers that might be grieving today. There might be mothers who have lost their partners, and fathers that have been bereaved of their children. Days like this can bring up feelings of sadness of the loss that you have experienced. For those who have experienced a recent loss, Father's Day can be particularly painful. However, even those who lost their fathers many years ago may still feel a twinge of sadness on this day. It's important to remember that grief is not a linear process and it's okay to feel the emotions that come with it. This day can bring up feelings of bereavement for many people in different situations.

Coping Strategies for Father's Day without Dad

If Father's Day is difficult for you, it's important to show yourself some compassion and understanding, it's okay to feel low. If you had a tradition on Father's Day, some people find it comforting to uphold the tradition, whilst others can find it helpful to make some changes and do something different. Try not to push yourself too much, connect with yourself and if you don't feel like socialising you don't have to. In the same way, if you don't feel like being alone you could reach out to a friend or family member for some company. Remember, everyone experiences bereavement differently and there's no right or wrong way to cope.

One thing you might consider doing is writing down your feelings, in a journal for yourself or a letter to your dad expressing how you feel and what you wish you could say to him. If you want to honour your dad, you could light a candle in his memory or even visit his grave if that feels right for you. You could watch your dad's favourite film or make his favourite food. There's no right way to honour someone, if you want to honour them find something that fits the person and the relationship that you had. It can also be helpful to participate in activities that bring you joy, like doing your hobby or going for a walk in a nice setting.

Most importantly, be kind and gentle with yourself on Father's Day and every day as you continue to navigate life without your dad.

Loss Isn't Owned By The Bereaved

Whilst we can recognise that Father's Day is difficult for people that are grieving their Dad or children, we can also note that there are situations in which people have lost a parent without them dying. There are several circumstances in which relationships break down. Some people may have had absent fathers who were never there for them emotionally or physically. Others may have experienced losing their dad due to divorce, estrangement, or addiction. It's essential to acknowledge that grief and pain aren't only felt by those who have lost a parent to death.

People who grew up without a father figure may feel left out and lonely on Father's Day. Adverts and social media often focus on the conventional family relationships, leaving other family structures under represented, making people feel isolated.

Grief, pain, and loneliness, particularly on anniversaries and holidays aren't exclusive to those who have lost their father to death. Everyone deserves to feel acknowledged on Father's Day, regardless of their family structure or relationship with their father. The process of grieving a loss of any kind is different for everyone, and there is no right or wrong way to deal with it.

Finding Support on Father's Day

You can find support from your friends and family by talking with them and voicing your feelings. You might just find that you aren't alone in experiencing these emotions. If you are experiencing heavy emotions that you want to explore, you could benefit from counselling. You can honour your Dad's memory in some way if you feel like it and it might help. You can do this with your loved ones or alone, or you can do nothing at all.

No matter how you choose to cope, it's important to be kind to yourself and acknowledge that Father's Day may be difficult for you. Grief is a process, and there is no right or wrong way to navigate it. By seeking support and honouring your father's memory, you can make the day feel a little less daunting and a little more manageable.

Take care.

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