Honoring Father's Day After Dad Has Passed Away

Father's Day can be a difficult holiday to handle when you've lost your dad.

If it is a recent loss, the omnipresent messages of Father's Day may feel like too much to bear. If more time has passed, Father's Day may inspire you to do something special to honor the memory of the man who taught you so much.

Regardless of the amount of time that has passed, there are several ways you can manage your grief while remembering your Dad this Father's day. 

5 Ways to Pay Tribute to Dad on Father's Day

  1. Buy a card. In the month of June, it's nearly impossible to escape the in-store displays of Father's Day cards for sale. If the card display makes you emotional, go ahead and buy a card that captures your feelings or your relationship with your father. Thoughtful, serious or funny, the card you choose can help put your emotions and thoughts into words. Tap into those memories and write a note in the card. You can bring the card to your father's gravesite or keep it in a special place at home. 
  2. Share his stories. Many fathers are known for the stories they tell, whether they are life lessons in disguise or colorful documentation of a past era. On Father's Day, keep your own father's stories alive for future generations by recording some of your favorites in a journal or retelling his stories to your own children. Or, at the dinner table, ask each family member to share their favorite story of Dad's or Grandpa's or perhaps a special memory of their own before beginning the meal. 
  3. Bring flowers. Taking flowers to your father's gravesite on Father's Day is a nice way to pay tribute to your dad—and you can do so with a "masculine" touch. Choose flowers in the colors of Dad's favorite college or pro team, like red and white carnations with blue irises for a Cubs fan or bright yellow daises with greenery for the die-hard Packers fan. Or select an arrangement in the logo of Dad's favorite team. As an added service, most Dignity Memorial® providers have relationships with local florists to make ordering flowers easy. 
  4. Visit another father. Father's Day might feel lonely if you can't visit or call your own father. Consider visiting a senior in a nursing home or senior center who might not otherwise have any guests on Father's Day. If appropriate and permitted by the facility, younger children can also come along. Instead of feeling alone with your memories on Father's Day, use the day to bring joy to another father's afternoon. 
  5. What would dad do? On Father's Day, spend the day in tribute to your father by taking part in activities he would have enjoyed. Take the family to a ballgame, barbeque on Dad's grill in the backyard or watch a movie marathon of his favorite flicks. Whether it's John Wayne or James Bond, these activities can help you feel you're still spending the day with dad, even when he's gone.

It's especially difficult to deal with grief during the holidays is especially difficult, and missing Dad on Father's Day is natural. And how you choose to spend Father's Day when he is gone may vary from year to year. 

However you decide to spend the day, grief experts agree that it's most important to listen to your heart and allow yourself to do as much (or as little) as you are capable of doing. Giving yourself permission to grieve for and honor Dad in whatever way you need is essential to managing your own grief and well-being while remembering him this Father's Day.

Molly Gligor leads the Houston area network of Dignity Memorial® funeral, cremation and cemetery providers. As a licensed funeral director for the past 20 years, she has assisted thousands of families during difficult times, helping them celebrate the significance of lives that have been lived and preserving memories with dignity and honor.

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