Johnathan Thomas, MBA, PhD, D.DIV
Father’s Day and the days surrounding it can be difficult for those who have lost their father. The holiday can be especially hard for those experiencing the first Father’s Day without their dad. Those who are still grieving may not feel like celebrating or feel like they cannot celebrate. However, just because your father may no longer be with you physically, there are still many ways to celebrate, remember, and honor him this Father’s Day,
- Share stories and memories about your dad.
Gather with family and friends and reminisce on all the best memories you have of your father—they can be funny, sad, or even just simple things that will always remind you of him. Look at old photos and talk about the kind of person he was. This is a great opportunity to share stories about your dad with your children or with someone who did not know him, ensuring that his legacy will go on and remain an important presence in your life.
- Celebrate and thank other father figures in your life.
Reach out to the men in your life who have served as mentors, coaches, and friends. While no one can replace your own father, it is important to celebrate the men in your life who helped shaped you. Do not forget to celebrate your mother, who is also dealing with a loss of her own.
- Write a note or spend time with your dad.
This could mean visiting his resting place, writing a letter, or simply just sitting in nature and sharing with your dad everything that has been going on in your life. Thank him and tell him that you cherish the time you had together.
- Spend the day doing something he loved.
If you have fond memories of hiking with your dad, gather the family and head out for a day hike. Go to a restaurant and order his favorite meal. If your dad was known for his love of certain beverage, order one and raise a glass to him and his memory.
- Acknowledge your grief and be kind to yourself.
This can be a painful day, especially if it is your first Father’s Day after losing your dad. The grieving process is different for everyone, and it is okay to be upset or angry.
Ultimately, how you celebrate Father’s Day when your father has passed is up to you. Find joy, memories, and love in celebrating—or not celebrating. However, you choose to spend the day, do something that will honor and celebrate your father.