I’m not writing this post because my dad died last year. I remember him everyday and do not need a commercial national holiday to honor or remember him. What I do know is how difficult these special days can be for others. As with Mother’s Day, it can be difficult to witness others celebrate with their living parent. It can be like putting salt on a wound, particularly if you have children.
When my children were little we would send a helium balloon “up” to their dad with a message, or scribble, from each of them. What I will share is to make sure that, if you have young children, that their teacher is aware that their daddy has died. I won’t go into the details of my experience here.
What I will suggest is to remember and feel. Experiencing our feelings has a direct healing effect. Cry if you feel sad, laugh, joke remember the good and the not so good about your relationship and share stories with your family or friends. If you have old traditions, they may bring you comfort, if not you can always establish new ones. If this day is too painful or never mattered anyway, you can make the choice to ignore it. There is nothing wrong with saying that it’s just too painful right now. If it brings you comfort, visit your dad’s gravesite.
I would also suggest perhaps writing a letter to your dad. The letter does not need to be lengthy. Write both good and bad if you need. Apologize, forgive and write what you may not have been able to say when you were last with him.
Lastly, perhaps there is someone you can celebrate with for his or her dad. Sometimes in giving we receive back twice-fold.
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