Mother's Day, Father's Day or Grandparent's Day are all very nice holidays when you have a typical family, but what happens when a parent or grandparent has been abusive or passed away? Dealing with these holidays can be very difficult. The barrage of ads and promotions connected with Father's Day can trigger emotions that may be surprising. If you or a loved one is without a dad this Father's Day, here are some ways you can make the day more manageable.
- Don't ignore your feelings. You don't have to wallow in them, but you should address the emotions you have. It's okay to be angry that your father isn't in your life. Denying your feelings only makes you feel more frustrated. Cry if you need to. You can be happy if you are grieving.
- Make a plan on what you want to do for the day. If it's your first fatherless Father's Day, maybe you want to start a new tradition to remember your father. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Go out to dinner and order his favorite meal or drink and toast to his honor. Alternatively, enjoy some solitude and focus on something else.
- Be kind to yourself. Remember that Father's Day is just 24 hours. Pretend it's just a normal weekend instead of a holiday.
- Remember the men in your life who were there for you. Maybe you didn't have a biological father, but you may have been mentored or friended by a man who helped fill the void in your life. Recognize what your mother did, if she was a single parent and raised you without a dad.
- Get off social media. Facebook can be huge distraction, but it can feed your grief. It's very difficult to watch your friends share the day with their dad or remember the good times. You'll avoid the promotions and ads, and you'll get a chance to remember what it's like to disconnect electronically.
- Get out into nature. Taking a walk and enjoying the world around you can help you clear your head. It reduces stress and has a positive effect on your mood.
- Reach out to a single mom or dad and ask if you can help with the kids for their Father's Day celebration or distraction. Not to trivialize your pain, but you are not the only one without a father in today's world. You can share your energy with someone else who might be hurting or in need of a mentor.
- Get lost in a book or a movie. Work in your garden. Play golf. Do something you love as part of your self-care program.
- You do not have to celebrate Father's Day if you do not want to. And you do not have to explain it to anyone. However, it is nice to have an answer at the ready when people ask you. It might be something simple like, "I'm not ready to talk about it." This way you're not caught off-guard talking about something you might not be ready to share.
Choose Your Family
Richard Bach said, "The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other's life." It is difficult to miss a dad on Father's Day, but as an adult, you can create the family you don't have. Find connections that help you create the meaningful life you want. You have the power to spend your Father's Day however you want. Spend it in bed, wrapped up in your favorite blanket if you want. Choose what renews your soul, not what is right for anyone else.