Father’s Day ads would have you believe that everyone has a mother and a father living happily in one house together. But as we all know, the world doesn’t always work like that.
Some people we raised by their mam(s), their family members or their guardians and may not have a dad in their life, or may have chosen not to be involved with their dad for personal reasons.
This is all perfectly normal and very common, and you shouldn’t let a day like Father’s Day make you feel like your family circumstance is wrong.
For those of us who lost our dads, it can be a heartbreaking reminder that he isn’t here.
If your dad passed away, chances are Father’s Day is a painful one for you. It’s annoying because many people who do have their dads may not even really celebrate the day, and if your dad was here, maybe it wasn’t even the biggest day for you in the first place. But suddenly when you’re without your dad, the day can feel like a huge pressure.
You might feel jealous, sad or even mad at other people for enjoying their day with their dad, this is all perfectly natural.
If you’re not sure what to do one the day, there are some things that might help.
If you would rather ignore the day, that’s perfectly fine too. You can do this by planning something fun, and staying off social media for the day so that your TL isn’t flooded with other people raving about their dad. It’s important to remember that these days are usually created so that companies can make lots of money on things like cards, ties and socks! Yes, really. Though the holiday may seem special and significant (which it can be) sometimes remembering that it’s a commercial day can help to take the sting off.
If you’d like to mark it in a special way, there are lots of things you can do too.
Here are just some small ways you can make Father’s Day a little easier.
Plan a Dad Day
If may seem a little hard considering he’s not here. But there are lots of ways you can feel a little closer to your dad. Visit his grave/the place you feel close to him, and bring flowers or something special you can leave there. This can be anything from a nice shell to a candle, or a little gift that will last outdoors. If want to get your family involved ask them to come with you. When it comes to dinner time, why not plan something that was one of his favourite meals. Ask your family members if they’d like to look through old photos and talk about your dad for the evening. Maybe there was a movie, an album, a walk or a drive that you and your dad both loved, why not include this in your day too. Sometimes a full ‘dad day’ is exactly what we need to really acknowledge how big the loss of him is.
While you can’t buy your dad a present, you can make a donation in his name. Was there are cause he really cared about? Why not donate the cost of a gift to them instead? If you lost your dad to an illness, why not donate to a charity which helps people with the illness, or that works on finding a cure. Organisations like The Irish Cancer Society, The Irish Heart Foundation, Pieta House or a local hospice would hugely benefit from your donation and it’s a way for you to do some good while remembering your dad.
Talk About It
You don’t have to make any plans to prove that it’s a big day for you. But if you’re feeling sad and down, it’s really important to talk to someone about it. The weeks leading up to Father’s Day can be tough because of all the messaging around it, not to mention the social media posts on the day. It doesn’t matter if your dad died 10 days ago or 10 years ago, that pain is very real and very valid. Let your mam, guardian, sibling or friend know that it’s a hard day for you and that some support would help you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a person you know, you can reach out to a support line like Childline (1800 666666 or text 50101) or the new mental health support line 50808, which is a 24/7 texting service.
Remember you’re not alone
One of my biggest issues when I lost my dad when I was 13, was that I thought I was the only one. It sounds silly, because sadly there are lots and lots of young people who lose parents, and actually, now I’d much rather be the only one because I wouldn’t wish the pain on anyone. But when you’re grieving you can certainly feel like you’re the only one and that no one understands. Something as simple as hearing someone else talk about their loss can help you to feel less alone. Podcasts like ‘The Griefcast’ and ‘Grief Encounters’ are both interview-style shows in which the guest talks about someone they’ve lost. They might just say something that you agree with, or something you’ve never thought of before and it helps you to remember that it’s healthy to talk openly about a loved one you’ve lost.
Whatever you decide to do on Fathers Day, go easy on yourself. Take some time for you and don’t put pressure on yourself to socialize or be happy. Let yourself cry and remember you’re not alone.