When June comes around each year, it can be a difficult time and a harsh reminder that your dad is no longer here and you may find yourself missing your dad on Father's Day.
Finding ways to cope with your grief can be especially tough on this day. The media advertising surrounding it can overwhelm your senses. Even if this isn't your first Father's Day without your dad, grief has a way of creeping up on you when least expected.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What You Can Do to Remember Dad Who Died on Father’s Day
- What You Can Do If You’re Missing Your Dad Because He’s Far Away
Coping with the pain of losing a father can be challenging, and it may take some time for you to learn to cope with it. The pain of loss can also strike on this day even when your dad's still alive but too far away for you to see him. Despite the emotional difficulties you may experience, there are many ways to help you keep your dad close to you on this special day and wish him a Happy Father's Day.
Here are the dates for Father's Day for the next few years:
2021: Sunday, June 20
2022: Sunday, June 19
2023: Sunday, June 18
2024: Sunday, June 16
2025: Sunday, June 15
What You Can Do to Remember Dad Who Died on Father’s Day
You may think that you'll never be able to celebrate another Father's Day after losing your dad. But his death shouldn't keep you from remembering and honoring him on his special day. With some careful planning, you can make this day memorable. There are several ways that you can celebrate that'll bring you peace and joy on this day.
1. Go for a walk or visit a special place
Whenever you’re missing your dad, go on a walk by yourself. If you live in the city, plan an entire day to take a walk around exploring the city in his honor. You can show dad the sights, sounds, and smells of where you live.
Point out your favorite spots to eat, your favorite bench at the park, and what you love most about your home. Thank him for raising you and teaching you how to be the person that you’ve become. If you live alone, ask him to guide you and protect you. Invite his presence to be a part of your life so that you never feel alone.
Here are some other memorable ways to spend the day:
Visit a museum
Museums are great for solitude and quiet contemplation. When you visit a museum, you’re supporting your local art scene, taking in some culture, and exploring the world around you. You can get lost in your thoughts in the comfort and safety of the museum while you let the beauty around you soak in.
Feed the ducks
If your local park ordinances allow it, take some bread crumbs out to feed the ducks. This is a great way to sit there and reflect on the meaning your dad brought to your life.
If you get a little sad, it’s okay to cry and release those emotions. You shouldn’t worry about what others might think of you. We all go through periods of pain and suffering. It can be very therapeutic for you to release some of those pent-up emotions.
Take in a play
Try going to see a play in dad's honor. Maybe you’ve been wanting to see one of the latest productions, but didn’t find a good reason to spend the extra money. Father’s Day is a perfect time to take you and your dad out on a special father/daughter night out.
If this is your first Father's Day without your dad, it'll probably be hard to imagine him being there with you in spirit. But you should ask him to accompany you anyway. When you look back on what you did for Father's Day, you'll always remember that you took him out on a very special date. This is one way to build beautiful memories of your new life without your dad.
Take a risk
If you’ve never been the type to go out of your comfort zone, celebrate life and living on Father’s Day by taking a risk and doing something you’ve always wanted to try.
Talk to your dad. Ask him to guide you and join you as you step out into the world to take on new challenges. Taking a risk doesn’t mean risking your life. It means having the courage to try something new.
2. Visit the gravesite
Visiting your father’s gravesite can be one of the hardest things to do on Father’s Day. You’ll need some extra courage to get you through your first Father’s Day without him.
Even if it’s been years since he died, it can still get a little rough. When emotions get the best of you, remind yourself of all the wonderful years and memories the two of you shared. Also, don’t forget to whisper into the wind, “Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Dad” before you pack up and leave.
3. Cook a special meal
You can stay connected and pay tribute to your dad through the little things that had special meaning to you both when he was alive.
If his favorite meal was a never-ending bowl of pasta, prepare a special dish in his honor on Father’s Day. Invite your friends and family to join you as you celebrate and honor your father’s life.
4. Call your family
This day can feel lonely without your dad around. You’ll likely be hyper-sensitive to all the Father’s Day reminders around you. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone to call your family. Share with them how you’re feeling and ask them for some support.
If you’ve been estranged from any of your siblings, surprise them with a phone call. Ask how they’re holding up without dad, and offer kind words of love and encouragement. If there are certain family traditions that you’re missing, ask them if they’d like to start them up again.
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5. Light a candle
Lighting a candle in honor and remembrance is a way to remember dad on Father’s Day. White is the traditional color of candle to light. It symbolizes purity, peace, and spiritual strength. The burning of a white candle also helps bring you emotional healing.
Try setting a white candle in a safe holder and letting it burn for a few hours as you play light spiritual or meditative music. This small grief ritual is meant to make you feel better as you try and cope with your pain and sorrow.
What You Can Do If You’re Missing Your Dad Because He’s Far Away
When grief strikes you over missing your dad because he’s far away, there are things that you can do to make him feel closer to you.
These are all ways that are sure to bring a smile to his face or yours. Although some of these ways don’t replace actually being there with him on his special day, it will bring you both some comfort and joy.
6. Video chat
You might have to bring dad up to speed with the latest video chat technology. And let’s hope that by now he’s gotten rid of that 90s flip phone. If he hasn’t, you might need to surprise him with a new smartphone.
This will allow you two to keep in touch through video chat. It's a great way to shake those "I’m missing you" blues. What a wonderful surprise he’ll get when he sees his new phone and gets to see you whenever he wants.
7. Send a gift
What dad doesn’t like to get a stale can of peanuts every year on Father’s Day? This might be the year for you to think outside the box.
Consider sending him something he might actually want like a bus or plane ticket to come see you. Sometimes all it takes is a little coercion and incentive to get dear old dad up and moving out of his comfort zone. Get him mentally prepared to go on a fun road trip to visit with his family.
Other great Father’s Day gifts are:
- A new television set
- Year’s supply of his favorite coffee
- A coffee percolator
- Monthly cleaning service
- A riding lawnmower
8. Go through photos
If all you have is a stack of old photo albums to keep you close to your dad on this Father’s Day, well, it’s time to bring them out. Invite your spouse, children, or siblings to come sit with you as you stroll down memory lane.
You can make a fun night of it sharing memorable stories about what makes your dad so special to you. Remember to take pictures so that you can send your dad later to show him how you celebrated and honored him on his special day.
9. Surprise him
The greatest gift of all is the gift of time. Consider surprising your dad with an in-person visit. With proper planning, it can be the most amazing gift that you can give to your dad and to yourself.
Imagine the look on his face when you walk through the door. Be prepared for a rush of emotions and getting lots of hugs and endless smiles.
Keeping Dad Close on Father’s Day
Missing your dad on Father’s day doesn’t have to be a time filled with sadness and tears. It may feel like this at first, but when you get creative with how you spend this day, it can be a very healing experience. Remember to honor your dad as you work through your grief. With time, the heaviness of your pain and sorrow will start to lift.