Father’s Day is a celebration of dad and all he’s done. This well-intentioned day to honor dads around the world can be especially difficult for anyone who has lost their father. It brings up memories of dad and reminds us that he’s no longer here. When others get to spend the day with their fathers, those who have lost dad often feel lonely and depressed. How can you better handle the emotions this Father’s Day?
Vinay Saranga M.D. is a psychiatrist and offers this advice.
Grief Is A Process: The pain of grief can sometimes be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are healthy ways to grieve and heal. Coping with the loss of someone or something that you love is one of life’s biggest challenges. Be kind to yourself through the process. How you grieve depends on a variety of factors and there’s no right or wrong way to grieve.
Welcome Happy Emotions: The grief process can trigger many emotions…some of joy and some of sorrow. Develop an attitude of gratitude that can help you focus on the good memories. Talk about your loss. Carry on the memory of your loved one. Don’t give into the myth that you have to “be strong” during the process. Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss.
Connect with Dad Again: Just because dad is no longer here in the physical sense shouldn’t stop you from honoring and connecting with him. If you are now a dad, share stories of your father with your own children. Pull out some old photo albums and recount all the memories of dad. Many people experience relief by visiting the gravesite of their father as it helps them sort out their emotions and feel connected to him once again. Prepare his favorite type of food or serve his favorite beverage at the dinner table.
Practice Self-Care: Developing a daily self-care routine can help during times of grief and throughout your healing journey. Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself. Go for a walk. Stay hydrated and well nourished. Schedule time with friends and family for support during the hard times.
Go Easy on Yourself: If you are having a difficult time with your emotions as Father’s Day approaches, take it easy. Engage in activities that you find pleasurable and make you feel good. Spend time with family, friends and other people whose company you enjoy. Don’t take on new responsibilities or add more to your to-do list until you begin to feel better.
Sort out your emotions: The worst thing you can do is hold in your feelings and emotions. If you keep them bottled up on the inside, they are going to continue to eat away at you. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Don’t be ashamed to seek counseling during this difficult time.
Love Carries On: Even in deep grieving, love carries on. It’s because of the amazing love in your life that you grieve. The love that fills your heart with happiness. The love that lives on in memory never to be forgotten. Love is a powerful thing especially to those who have loved and lost.