Grief struggles with how to deal with special days like Father’s Day.
How in the world do we handle this holiday when our loved one is no longer with us?
This day can be especially difficult and challenging when your husband has passed, and your children no longer have a dad. Having lost your partner, you are now faced with being both mother and father. You are now a single parent and are fulfilling all the roles–the homemaker, the breadwinner, the comforting parent, the disciplinarian…..etc. It is hard work.
You are doing the best that you can. Remember that. Celebrate the victories…especially the little ones that get us through the day-to-day. If you are looking for grief resources, please visit our resources page for both you and your children.
The best advice Teresa ever received from a dear friend was that we cannot grieve for our children.
Let’s let that sink in.
We cannot grieve for our children.
We have to let them grieve on their own terms and in their own time. It is their journey, and it’s as unique as they are. No two kids will grieve the same. Some may be angry, others stoic, and others withdrawn. Grief has many “faces.” This all makes logical sense, but still, our hearts may hurt for them. We all know there’s a missing person. They do not have their Dad to spend Father’s Day with or any other major life events. It sucks.
Even so, we can find ways to honor our person. Whether that be cooking his favorite dinner, watching his favorite movie, or doing something together that he would have enjoyed. Ask the kids what they would like to do and make a plan. Even doing something little can mean so much. Do what you have energy for and what makes sense to all of you.
There are other ways that we can struggle with the concept of Father’s Day. We normally envision celebrating the day WITH our fathers. What do we do when our father is deceased?
Again, you may want to find a way to celebrate the person who filled that role in your life. Consider your energy level and your needs as you decide what to do. Maybe he had a favorite activity that you all can participate in and use to enjoy the day as much as possible.
Remember that as much as you all share the grief of the loss, each person’s grief journey may be very different. Your children cannot grieve for you, and you cannot grieve for them. Allow them to grieve in their own way and listen to their ideas for honoring the person that they have lost in their lives.
As always, we are going to emphasize the importance of self-care, especially in the grieving process. Self-care is important for each of you in the family – you and your children. It allows you to take a moment and refill your cup. You may or may not have the energy to celebrate. Allow yourselves to do what is right for you. Consider making a plan for the day.
Some self-care ideas:
- Take care of yourself first!….you cannot take care of others if you are running on empty
- What self care looks like – for more free and inexpensive ideas
- Be with people you love
- Do something fun
- Make a special memory
- Take a walk
- Read a book
- Mindfully engage or disengage with social media
- Share stories from the past
- Set appropriate boundaries for yourself and your children
- Take the day off
- Sleep in
- Journal or create a journal together
- Listen to music – maybe some of Dad’s favorites
- Make a special memory with your kids
- Go down memory lane with the kids
Whatever you choose to do or not do, please take care of yourself.
For those with abusive, deceased, missing, or [fill in the blank] fathers or husbands, remember you have a Father in Heaven. He will provide for your needs, is solid, always there, and can be your rock. He loves you deeply, and you are never alone.
We hope you have a blessed Father’s Day.
Please contact us and let us know of any particular grief struggles or topics you’d like us to explore. We appreciate your support and input.
Peace & blessings,
Jeni & Teresa
PS: For additional support, you can download our free copy of 10 Ways to Move Forward After Loss
Torn in Half: The First Days as a resource for the first days after a loss – available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.