Remembering your father on Father’s Day

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

When your father dies you can be swamped by all sorts of mixed emotions – you’ve lost his presence and attention, perhaps the security, advice or moral support he gave, or his place in the family that was strong and dependable. You might feel vulnerable, alone, and just miss him. His age, how he died, how he lived and your relationship with him will all affect the way you grieve.

You might have some unfinished business – things not said or done, conversations that you wished you’d had. This can lead to guilt, anger, anxiety and preoccupied thoughts. What could help is to let these feelings come to the surface, write about them in a letter to your Dad or tell your diary; let yourself have that conversation to clear the air and release your feelings.

Father’s Day is a celebration honouring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society. However, for those who have lost their father, this occasion can be a stark reminder of the grief and loss felt when we said goodbye.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sad time. Why not take a time to honour his spirit on this special holiday?

Do an activity that he always enjoyed

Think of something your father loved doing; perhaps he was an avid walker, a sport he loved to practice, or a cafe he loved to go to. Either way, take yourself along and it’ll be as if you’re sharing the experience together.

If your mother is still around, she probably misses him too – so why not take her out for lunch? You two can reminisce over old times and talk about your father together, swapping stories and remembering all the times he made you smile.

Give him a gift

Your father might have gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give him a present on Father’s Day. Whether you donate the money to a charity he supported, or to a cause he was passionate about, or even to a hospital or retirement home, it’s a great way to remember your dad and do something that lifts your spirits.

Teach your children something your father taught you

This Father’s Day activity reaches across the generations and provides you with the perfect opportunity to bring your father into your relationship with your children. It provides your children with valuable lessons and helps you to feel close to his memory.

Write him a message

Writing can be a cathartic experience. Why not buy a card, or simply grab a notepad and pen, and write a message to your dad on Father’s Day?

Look through old photos

You could take the time to sort through old photos of yourself and your father, remembering the moment the snap was taken and trying to recall the happiness you felt at that time. It might be a good idea to set some aside for your own children to look at, too, and share some stories with them.

Whatever you choose to do to acknowledge Father’s Day, either big or small or even not at all, make sure it feels right for you.