19 June 2022

A day without Dad; Grief on Father's Day

By: Jade Lake


Those who have lost Fathers
Fathers who have lost their children
Those with strained Father relationships
Fathers with strained child relationships
Those who have chosen not to be Fathers
Those who can’t be Fathers

To you all, we are thinking of you this Father’s Day.

If you’re grieving, you might find Father’s Day and the weeks leading up to it are hard to cope with.

In the run up to these special days, the messaging displayed around you, in restaurants or in shops, can act as a constant reminder of the person you are missing, and you may feel overwhelmed with emotions. You may feel sadness, anger, envy or even jealousy as you must deal with Father’s Day in a different way to others. It’s not necessarily a joyous occasion for you. It’s a hard day.

How to cope with Father’s Day

  • Let your emotions come through. Grief isn’t linear and it isn’t straightforward. The feelings and emotions associated with grief are completely normal so allow yourself to feel them. If you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry, be angry. Your feelings will eventually fade. Much like the sea waves, they can come crashing in, but they will go again.
    Even feeling good on Father’s Day is okay so don’t be ashamed or feel guilty if you find yourself smiling on this day.

  • Find others who understand. Grief can be very lonely and isolating. Often, it is very helpful to share your feelings and experiences with others, particularly with those who can relate to what you are going though; perhaps they have lost a parent themselves or they may simply be somebody whom you trust and can confide in.
    Remember to reach out privately if you prefer to speak to somebody who is impartial and independent from your situation. You can find support privately online by visiting bereavement support services, such as: https://www.cruse.org.uk/
  • Remember your Dad. It’s Father’s Day after all, so it is important to pay tribute to him. Make his favourite meal and enjoy eating it or raise a glass and toast to your Dad. Remember some happy memories which you can talk about with those around you, or, begin creating new memories and traditions to mark this day.
    If you’re not ready to talk openly because it feels too hard to do so, then you may find it easier to process your grief and emotions more privately by writing a letter to your Dad or by getting him a Father’s Day card; it will feel comforting to tell him all the things you want to.

  • Ignore the day. You must be kind to yourself on days like today. If it all feels too much of a struggle, then ignoring the special status of the day is completely fine too. Aim to distract yourself with however you feel is best. Trust yourself and do what you feel is right for you; whether it is going for a walk, seeing your friends or having a relaxing day on the sofa and watching TV. Self-care is so important.

Supporting others with their loss on Father’s Day

It is important to recognise that Father’s Day is not always a happy family time so if you are working with, living with or spending time with anybody whom doesn’t have a Father figure in their life and they have experienced a loss, be there for them as much as you can.

The journey of grief is very personal and unique to each individual so we need to understand and appreciate that people react and cope in different ways. Supporting someone through this difficult day is the kindest thing you can do.

  • Acknowledge the day. The person will be very aware of the special status of the day so don’t shy away from it or feel awkward. Instead, wish them a pleasant day and let them know you are there for them; to talk to them, to listen to them.

  • Share memories. People enjoy talking about their loved one and keeping their spirit alive, so engage in conversation and share positive stories relating to their Father. It is a day of celebration so take advantage of this time to talk and treasure these memories. If you don’t know their Father personally, it doesn’t matter, you can still ask them about questions their Father; What was his legacy? Why was he important to them? Talking about their Father will allow them to feel closer to him and it will bring them some comfort.

  • Ask how they’re feeling. Grief can affect people differently so always check in and ask them how they’re feeling because it will show them how much you care. Let the person take the lead on this conversation; maybe they want to ignore the day or they may want your help in marking the special day. Be there for them in any way you can.

  • Take some quiet time with them. These special days can be very overwhelming and emotionally charged so make some time for peace and quiet. During this time, there is no need to force any thoughts or conversations; just let this time pass by, observe the moment and enjoy this moment of peace and reflection with them.


 If the contents of this blog has affected you in any way, please seek support from your GP or visit online support resources, such as:

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