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Father’s Day – Not Always an Easy Day

This Sunday we will take time to recognize the fathers or father-figures in our life. In the past, this holiday was difficult for me to acknowledge. I lost my father when I was 12. Every year when Father’s Day hit, it was a reminder that I did not have him with me.

I am now married and take joy in Father’s Day once again since my husband is now a father. No, he is not my father; but he is someone I celebrate every day and on Father’s Day, as well.

I am thankful for all the amazing fathers we have in the world. I was lucky enough to have a great Dad, and when he passed, my grandfather. My grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s about 7 years ago. I looked up to him and he was my hero. He was a kind man who loved to make me laugh, was one of my favorite cooks, and helped take care of all of our pets when family members went out of town. Dogs were always spoiled rotten with Grandpa.

My father taught me the love of music, movies and theatre. His memory still carries on with me, and I talk to my children warmly about their Granddad. My sense of love and family tradition comes from my Dad. He taught me “Family is Forever.”

I also talk to my children about their great-grandfather, as he has my heart. My Grandpa was a Navy Pilot, and retired to Virginia Beach. My grandparents took me in for several months during a difficult time in my life. No judgment from them, just love. It was also a time when I felt closer to my grandfather than anyone -- he was such a joy in my life. He used to check on me and loved me through his home-cooked meals. He was an avid golfer, loved to grill and listen to fantastic music.

My message is this, when it comes to Father’s Day. If you don’t have a father in your life, take a moment to honor a father-figure in your life. For me, that was also my Mom. She took on the mother and father role and I also joked around and called her my “Mom-Dad.” Not the same, I know.... but she wore two hats and more! Why not honor her for both days?

I know, if you have lost your father, it is a tough day but a little planning can help you get through the day. Think of activities that you can do to honor and remember your father. Cook his favorite dinner, visit the cemetery, listen to music he liked, or look through photos.

Adopt a father for the day - You can do this by finding another father, or bring little gifts to a nursing home and deliver them to the male residents.

Spoil yourself – Plan a weekend getaway, get a pedicure or a massage, plan a nice brunch or dinner with friends.

Ask for help – Your friends and family don’t always know how to help, so let them know you need support. Ask a friend to come over or go celebrate with another family. If you want to be alone, just let people know that you need time to yourself and to please honor your wishes.

Help guide young children - Ask them how they want to honor their Dad. Maybe they want to make a scrapbook with their memories, or head away from the house. If it is a difficult day for your child, acknowledge them and let them know you are hurting too.

I know Father’s Day without your Dad is tough, I spent the first 10 years of Father’s Day grieving. I would say the first two were the worst. Through time, it will get easier, but the memory will always be there each and every year. You will discover through the years it does get easier and the joy returns. Until that time, take care of you, allow yourself to feel and honor them in your heart and your life.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers in the world! And for all the fathers who have passed, I urge you to go celebrate the good memories.

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