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5 Ways to help get through Father's Day without Dad

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

My dad died in 2008, and since then I have always tried to honor his memory on Father’s Day. Some years I had absolutely no motivation to do anything. And then there were other years that I felt compelled to make huge gestures. Regardless of how different each year is, finding ways to remember my dad on Father’s Day has always been important to me.

This past Father's Day was no different. Below are 5 ways that have helped me get through Father's Day without my dad. And though this post is specifically about Father's Day, I use this list for other celebratory times like birthdays, holidays and anniversaries.

Love to Do

I LOVE to scrapbook! And I mean old school scrapbooking. With acid free photo mount squares and scrapbook paper. Fortunately for me I have stacks of 4x6 hard copies of photos in shoe boxes. So on Father’s Day or on the days leading up to the holiday, I have brought out my scrapbooking tools and supplies and gone to work.

So if you like to cook, maybe you could decide that you’re going to make a special dish that reminds you of your dad or loved one. If you and your dad were really into movies, you could choose to watch your favorite film. For me, it’s about setting the intention behind my action that helps me move through Father’s Day.

Create

I usually handmade my dad his Father’s Day cards. Not always! But usually. Not being able to write him a card on Father’s Day was difficult for me to accept at first. I have a handful of cards that I wrote to him since his passing. But in recent years I started reaching out to other dads in my life. It’s helped me to feel more connected not just to my friends and family but also to my dad himself. I find that sometimes it’s just the physical motion of doing something that is the most helpful for me as I work through my grief on special occasions.

Donate

My parents would often carry extra clothes and blankets in the car so that if they saw someone who could use the items, they always had them ready to give. They were consistently looking for ways to give back to their community. My parents did this together, and since they have both passed, I have found ways to make donations in their memory. There are countless organizations you can donate to and know that your donation is making a direct impact on someone’s life.

Donating to organizations in my community are also ways to engage in conversations about my parents. It’s a way for me to continue their memory and introduce them to people who will never have the opportunity to meet them in person.

So if your dad really liked to read you could perhaps make a donation of books to a local library or school. If your dad liked baseball, you might consider donating to a little league baseball program. And while most of us are staying in as much as possible during 2020, you could also post on social media and fundraise funds for a specific organization of your choosing.

Reach Out

I miss my dad every day, but the holidays are always a bit more intense. A friend of mine made such a difference one year on Father’s Day. She posted a beautiful tribute to her own dad who had recently passed away and tagged me along with a couple other friends who had also lost their dads. She remembered my loss and by including me, she helped me to feel less alone. Sometimes the smallest gestures can really make the biggest impact. No matter how I am feeling on Father’s Day, I always try to remember to reach out to friends who have also lost their dads.

Honest About the Moment

I’ve learned that it’s best to be honest and also maybe tell someone how I am feeling. Over time I have figured out who I can trust with my grief and feelings that surround my losses. There are times I just send a text. And then there have been times where I've reached out to a friend or told my husband "I'm having a hard time with this holiday, can we make plans to honor my dad this year?" It's not always easy. But voicing how I am feeling has really helped to not feel so isolated.

Grieving the loss of my dad has taught me that the most important thing is to always remember to take care of myself when I feel overwhelmed by his absence. Especially on and around Father’s Day.

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