This Sunday is Father’s Day. It’s a day to honor one’s father or relevant father figure, and the influence of fathers in society.
But when you’ve lost your father the day can be difficult and emotionally overwhelming. Even though your father is no longer here, there are still ways to celebrate, remember, and honor him. Here are 10 ways to celebrate Father’s Day without your father.
Talk About Your Dad
Get together with family and friends and share stories about your dad. Share the fun times you had. Tell funny or heart-warming stories. Talking about your father with others, even those who never met him, is a way to keep his legacy alive and to fondly recall memories of him. Ask those who knew him about their memories of your dad. You might even learn things you didn’t know, like how as a schoolboy he used to collect pecans from his school property to sell or how after teaching you and a friend how to change a tire, that years later your friend would tell you they had to once change a tire and remembered what he taught her.
Write a Card or Letter to Your Dad
Even though your father has passed on, write him a letter. Journaling is a cathartic way to express emotions and to heal emotionally. In fact, journaling is a good way to deal with the loss of anyone at any time of the year. Share anything and everything in your letter. Tell your father what’s happening in your life, family news, or world news. Tell him how his granddaughter scored four goals in one soccer game or that his favorite sports team won the World Series. And don’t be afraid to share the bad stuff too. Once you finish the letter you can either share it with another loved one or keep it to yourself.
Spend Time With Your Dad
Visit your father’s grave or the place where his ashes were scattered. If you wrote him a letter, bring it with you and read it aloud. Or you could play his favorite song, say a prayer, or just reflect. If neither location is possible to visit, then find a quiet spot and do these things there. Talk to him and let him know what’s going on in your life. Share with him funny or moving memories of your times together. Thank him for all the time you had together.
Spend Time with Other Father Figures
Reach out to the men in your life who have served as mentors, coaches, and friends, such as uncles, brothers, stepfathers, and other male figures. In no way are you replacing your dad, but you’re celebrating the men in your life who helped shape you or who were there for you as your father would have been.
Ways to Remember Your Dad
There are so many ways to remember your dad. Do something he liked and enjoyed or something you did together. If he liked fishing, then go fishing. If you and your dad used to watch goofy old black-and-white sci-fi movies or a favorite TV show, then watch one of those movies or a few episodes of that TV show. If your dad enjoyed eating weird sandwiches then make one and eat it. Read a book by his favorite author or listen to music by his favorite singer. Volunteer for a cause that was important to him or donate to it in his name. Even though you can’t pick up the phone and call him or spend time with him in person on Father’s Day, engaging in things your dad liked and/or you did together will help you feel like he’s with you.
Host a Family Gathering
Getting together with family and friends is a good way to honor your father. Host a dinner party, an outdoor seafood boil, a movie night with his favorite movie, or play a few hands of bourré. Think about the type of event your dad would have enjoyed attending and plan the gathering from there. At this event share your favorite memories of your dad. Knowing you’re not the only one who misses him will help you and give you emotional support.
Acknowledge Your Grief
Everyone deals with grief in their own way. Whether this is your first Father’s Day without your father or your twentieth, the pain of his loss is still a void that will never go away. It’s okay to be sad, and it’s okay to cry. In fact, you might feel better after a good cry. Talking about your grief with family or friends or even a professional therapist can be helpful to you in processing your grief. Journaling your feelings can also help you as you heal. And whether or not you ever show anyone what you’ve written, just writing it down can help with the pain.
Read Quotes About Loss
The right words can be hard to find. Sometimes you don’t know what to say on a death anniversary or holiday. Your feelings might be painful and fresh, but they also might be hard to place. In these moments, it’s okay to look for solace in other people’s words and quotes. There are literally hundreds of quotes on the Internet for you to find the right one that speaks to you and brings you comfort.
Be Kind to Yourself
No matter how you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate, don’t forget to take care of yourself and your mental well-being. Perhaps you can recharge by reading a new book, catching up with an old friend, or taking a long nap.
Social Media, Yes or No
On Father’s Day, social media posts can be overwhelming and could possibly trigger painful emotions. While others are bragging about their fathers, you are missing yours and you’re heartbroken. It’s okay to stay away from social media on Father’s Day. Or, you could post a simple “Happy Father’s Day in Heaven” message and post a picture or two, maybe even share a memory. Whatever you want to do is the right choice. And remember, just because you don’t post a message on social media doesn’t mean you aren’t thinking about your father. You don’t owe anyone an explanation of why you aren’t on social media.
There are so many ways to honor your father on Father’s Day when he’s not here. This is by no means a definitive list of things to do. You know your father best, so whatever your choose to do, and however you choose to celebrate, is the right thing to do.
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and father figures. And, Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers who are no longer with us – we miss you and love you.