Coping with grief this Father’s Day

sad, stressed woman suffering burnout

Kelly Feehan, Service Director, CABA

For those who have recently lost their dad or continue to struggle with the bereavement, each day can feel like a marathon.

But with Father’s Day looming, the day itself can bring with it a rollercoaster of emotions. With social media full of tributes, shops full of cards and gifts, as well as inboxes filled with reminders, there is no getting away from it.

However, there are a few things you can do to make the day a little easier. Kelly Feehan from the wellbeing charity, CABA, offers her tips on how to cope with Father’s Day if you’re missing someone close to you.

Don’t bottle your emotions

Don’t bottle things up, not everyone can express their sadness openly but intentionally bottling up your feelings won’t help. 1 of the most helpful things to do following a bereavement is to talk about what you’re going through.

Father’s Day will likely resurface past emotions so, you may find it helpful to talk to friends or family members. But, if you’re the type of person who prefers to experience grief privately, this may be a good opportunity to explore the option of speaking to a counsellor. There’s lots of support and advice available out there, for example Cruse offers free bereavement support

Stay off social media

On the day itself, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will be filled with emotional tributes to dads up and down the country. This will act as a constant reminder of who you’re missing which is the last thing you need. Therefore, it could be worthwhile staying off these sites so you can distance yourself from other people’s experiences.

You don’t have to ignore the day

If you think the day will be difficult for you, then don’t just ignore it. Express your feelings to your loved ones so they can remember to act sensitively when discussing their Father’s Day plans.

Not everyone will be having the same experience so it’s important for your friends to remember this.

If you’d rather they didn’t mention it around you, then let them know that. Alternatively, if you’d like their help in remembering your dad, then why not ask them to visit the grave or a special spot with you for a bit of emotional support or company.

Grieving again is normal

Losing a parent is difficult and the lead up to Father’s Day can be very painful even if it’s been some time. It’s normal to feel an array of emotions and it’s certainly ok to feel a sense of loss and grief all over again.

Remember, this is normal. Grief can be exhausting, so look after yourself by eating well, and making sure you’re getting enough sleep. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not feeling as bubbly as you usually do. Why not treat yourself to a long soak in the bath or an afternoon reading your favourite book. Do something just for you.

It’s ok to remember

If it’s been some time since you dad passed away, then you might not feel an overwhelming sense of grief, after all, time is a healer. So, it’s ok if you don’t need to grieve but instead, you want to take Father’s Day as an opportunity to remember your dad and celebrate his life in some way.

It could be a grand gesture that you make into a ritual or it could be that you surround yourself with things that remind you of him at home. Looking at a photo, for example, can offer a moment of reflection that might just be what you need.

Remember, everyone deals with loss and bereavement differently and Father’s Day can act as a harsh reminder. If you want to stay home and relax rather than spending Father’s Day with family, then that’s ok. The lead up can also be painful, so try to recognise when you’re feeling low and take care of yourself.

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