15 Special Ways to Remember Your Dad this Father's Day
Your first Father’s Day without your dad can be an incredibly difficult time. When the whole world reminds you about what you are missing, you might feel the need to retreat and hide from the world. This is a completely normal reaction to grief and Father’s Day might be the first event that forces you to confront your loss.
Grief counsellors will tell you that it’s more important to handle your grief in whatever way works best for you, rather than following another person’s advice for what you should or shouldn’t do. In your first year of grief, it’s all about doing what you need to do to get by.
If this means locking yourself away and ignoring the day, that’s fine. And if it means surrounding yourself with people who love you, that’s also fine. Grief is not a linear journey and you aren’t expected to experience it on a specific schedule.
If you’re feeling strong enough on Father’s Day, you might want to find a way to honour his memory. This can help to bring you closer to those who are also grieving and ensure you aren’t alone on this difficult day. Here are 15 ways you could remember your dad on Father’s Day, perfect for when you’re feeling ready.
1. Write him a letter
Today is a day to connect with your feelings and you might discover that you have a lot you would like to say to your dad on Father’s Day. Collect up those feelings and write them in a letter that you can leave at his grave. If you’re self-conscious about someone finding the letter, you can also burn it when you’re done.
Writing a letter on Father’s Day is a great way to manage your emotions and feel more in control. Some days you might want to write a happy letter, and some days it might be an angry letter. The act of writing it down can help you to understand and process these feelings.
2. Listen to his favourite music
It doesn't matter if you hated his taste in music, chances are these songs will light up your soul now. Music will bring the memories flooding back, so you might want to spend Father’s Day with his record or CD collection and dig in deep to the songs and artists that he loved the most. Just imagine how proud he would be that you’re finally listening to the music he spent a lifetime recommending.
3. Cook his favourite meal
Food is another great way to connect with memories. If there was a meal that always made his eyes light up, why not try cooking this with friends, family or by yourself. It can be a joyous or a solemn occasion, depending on how to approach it. If you’ve been struggling with your grief, the process of getting absorbed in a recipe can be incredibly cathartic. And food is also a great way to elevate your mood.
4. Host a memorial
If you enjoy planning a party, it could be an ideal time to host a memorial for your dad. You can bring together friends and family who might also be grieving his loss to share memories and stories. If your dad loved to barbecue, then it’s time to fire up the grill and honour him and anyone else’s dad who might not be with us anymore.
5. Go for a long walk
Sometimes you just need to be alone with your grief. Planning a long walk for Father’s Day is an excellent way to be alone with your thoughts and avoid the advertising aspect of Father’s Day. If you don’t want to be reminded of your grief every time you pass a restaurant or shop advertising their Father’s Day offers, then a long walk in nature could be just what you need.
6. Try out his hobbies
Was your dad an avid golfer? Or did he love motorbikes? Connecting with your dad through his old hobbies is a great way to honour his memory. Maybe you never gave his hobbies a chance, but in his absence, you might see some of the benefits that he saw. It might be a bittersweet way to spend your day as you connect with the things that lit up your dad’s life. Trying out your dad’s favourite hobbies will help you to understand who he was and what he loved.
Giving back to your community is a great way to honour the memory of someone you loved. Volunteering will also help you to manage your grief by allowing you to focus on helping others. When you remember that other people may be struggling in the same way as you, it can help to bring perspective to your suffering. You could volunteer as a one-off event or make it a part of your weekly routine as you learn to manage your grief.
8. Try befriending
Befriending is a specific form of volunteering that focuses on helping lonely people. While you might be feeling lost without your dad, there might be dads out there with no living relatives. By volunteering with a befriending service, you can help someone else manage their loss and loneliness. You’ll meet some incredible people with amazing stories to tell, and this can help to distract you from your own grief.
9. Watch his favourite film or TV show
Getting caught up in old TV shows and films is a great way to allow yourself to be fully immersed in grief. Having a good cry while you watch your dad’s favourite film or TV show is a cathartic act that could help you to process your emotions in a healthy way. It’s also a relaxed and low-key way to spend a day.
10. Spend time with family
Getting together with family for this special day makes sense, as you’re all sharing the same grief. Father’s Day can be difficult if you are a father but have also lost a father. This is why surrounding yourself with family can be such an excellent choice for this day. You’ll have a chance to honour the dads that are still living, while also paying tribute to those who are no longer with us.
11. Meet his friends
You might have only met your dad’s friends in passing, but now is a great time to connect with the people who meant so much to your dad. Meeting his friends can help to fill in the missing pieces in his life outside of being a dad. They’ll also have the best stories to share and this can be an incredibly cathartic way to process grief. Meeting your dad’s friends can help you to understand who he was like never before.
12. Make a memory book
Getting out your craft supplies is a great way to channel your grief into something productive. A memory book is great for younger kids who might be missing their dad or their grandad. Crafting with your children will allow you to process all the memories that you cherished together while also being creative. Creativity can help to trigger something known as flow state, where you are mentally absorbed by a task that is challenging but not too challenging. This is a great place to be when you are grieving.
13. Scatter his ashes
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to scatter his ashes, Father’s Day could be the perfect time to say goodbye. Scattering ashes is a deeply moving time for grieving families and it should never be rushed. You need to know that you are ready to say goodbye, but it can really help with the grieving process once you reach this stage. You can scatter the ashes alone or with family members, depending on who wants to be involved. Find a quiet spot you know your dad loved during his life and say a quiet goodbye.
14. Plant a tree
Planting a tree is often the go-to way to memorialise a person. It symbolises growth, new starts and giving to the next generation. Planting a tree in memory of your dad can be an incredibly moving way to spend Father’s Day. Planting a tree is also great for grief as it will give you a place to visit when you need to feel closer to your dad. You could plant the ashes alongside the tree if you want to make this spot his final resting place.
15. Plan a trip
You don’t have to actually go on a trip on Father's Day if you’re not ready yet, but planning a trip can be hugely rewarding. Think about a place that you always wanted to visit with your dad but never got around to. Or it could be somewhere that your dad raved about. Or it could be somewhere he wanted to go but never got to visit. Researching and planning a trip can be just as therapeutic as actually going on the trip, but it will cost you a lot less. In the future, if you’re ready for it, you’ll have the perfect trip itinerary ready to go.