For most, Father’s Day is viewed as a time when children of all ages are able to celebrate the paternal bond they have with the man who helped raise them.
It’s a way to thank your dad for always attending every Little League game or dance recital and to let him know that he’s had a lasting influence on the person you’ve become.
However, if your father has recently died, the third Sunday in June can be especially tough from an emotional standpoint. While others may be taking their dads to the ballgame or showering him with love, affection and gift cards, you’re left with only memories.
Honoring his life and the impact he had on yours each Father’s Day can help you transition into life without your dad.
Go to His Favorite Place
In life, there are some spots or landmarks that are considered someone’s “happy place” because being there invokes a positive, emotional response. Everyone has one, and if you know what your dad’s go-to was, visit it on Father’s Day.
Regardless if it was a certain store, restaurant, spot in nature or simply a room in his home, envision your dad enjoying his time there and try to feel what he felt by seeing the individual beauty of the place from his perspective.
If you have fond memories of that place with him, share them with others – whether your mother, sibling, aunt or uncle – and ask if they remember why he felt at ease in that particular spot. This can help spark conversation and may let you know something about your father of which you weren’t previously aware.
Write Him a Letter
This coping mechanism may seem a little unusual at first since you’re addressing a letter to someone who has died, but sometimes, putting pen to paper can be a cathartic experience.
Write down whatever emotion you may be feeling at that particular moment instead of keeping it bottled up inside. For instance, if you regret not spending enough time with your father and wish you had just one more day with him, express it in the written word.
Outline, in depth, every activity you or memorable experience you and your dad had and/or update him on family news, current events or whatever topics seem relevant.
When you’re finished with the letter, store it in a safe place and add information to it or write another one every subsequent Father’s Day.