Father’s day – a time of great celebration for some, and a time of great sadness and loneliness for others. There are those who have lost their dad’s to death, those who mourn dads they never had, those who mourn the loss of children who made them dads, those who wish they were dads…. Each reason as unique as the individuals who feel them.
What is common though is that days like these often trigger grief emotions, irrespective of the type of loss or when the loss occurred. It is important to note that grief due to significant loss can often present strongly despite time passed.
So, how do you navigate through this time in a way that promotes healing but stays true to the memories?
Here are 5 ways to deal with Father’s Day:
1) Be gentle with yourself and acknowledge your feelings honestly
Please allow yourself to feel. The effects of suppressed emotions are hard to predict and therefore it is advisable to allow your feelings of sadness, loneliness or even anger to flow. Chat about the memories with someone you love, browse through photos or letters and allow yourself to cry or enjoy the memories or perhaps write a letter of everything you are feeling or wish you could tell them. Mixed emotions are common too, as is feeling nothing at all.
2) Get off social media today
If the constant reminder of what you are missing causes you to feel more intensely, then take a break from social media. Focus on what you are feeling right at the moments you feel them. Take a break from the virtual noise of the day or week.
3) Celebrate or don’t
The way you choose to live the day is up to you. Acknowledging or not acknowledging is your choice. Focusing on your children or other loved ones instead is ok too. Do the day your way.
4) Keep busy or not (but be constructive)
When emotions are triggered it is easier to take to behaviours that are less than ideal. Alcohol, medication and drugs are often the go to to numb the pain but remember that pain will return if not dealt with properly. Rather keep busy with something that creates a positive memory for you or those around you. If your dad loved movies, perhaps go to the movies in his honour. If he loved cooking, cook up some of your kids favourtie foods and create memories. Perhaps you feel like laying in bed all day with a great book, or writing in your journal? All great ways to keep your mind and body busy
5) Chat about it in your own time
Grief is unique to each person and finding ways to move through moments of grief will take time. Speaking to others via a support group or a professional counselor might help you discover which coping mechanisms will work for you.
Love lost is still love, just in a different form. Feeling grief for a dad yoi didn’t know or a dad who wasn’t around is still loss, just in a different form. Mourning the the loss of a child or opportunity to be a father is still a loss.
Helps is a call or email away:
SADAG 24hr Helpline 0800 456 789
Free support in the areas of suicide, anxiety and depression
The Counselling Doula – 0614627419
Support interventions and wellness counselling in loss, bereavement, grief and related.
Whatever the day holds, may it be a memory that speaks of a step forward. You are worthy!