Emily has written this blog as we lead up to the dreaded Father’s Day and speaks beautifully of the range of emotions you may feel.
Most people, whether they are children or adults, still long for that feeling of being parented, of being looked after. Whether that’s having someone to turn to when you’re unsure, someone to show us how to fix a car, or someone to be there when it all feels too much, it’s important to recognise that even as adults, we’re still children. That’s why dealing with the death of a parent can be incredibly difficult, particularly in the lead up to days that shine a spotlight on the relationship you’re grieving for.
We all know that grief isn’t linear, and it has no timeframe, which means some days might feel more painful than others. On a day like Father’s Day, where people usually head to social media to show others how they’re celebrating or how amazing their fathers are, you may experience a whole range of emotions.
Don’t be ashamed of these emotions for they are perfectly valid. Experiencing feelings of jealousy, envy, anger as well as sadness can be really common, but not everyone talks about them openly. These feelings often get pushed aside as our inner voice labels them as ‘negative’, leaving you feeling guilt or shame instead.
This can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Loneliness Awareness Week runs from Monday 13th until Friday 17th June, followed by Father’s Day on the 19th. For me, personally, Father’s Day has always been the hardest day for grieving since my Dad died in 2012, as my Birthday is on 15th June, around the time when Father’s Day falls.
For ten years, I’ve felt conflicted; wanting to enjoy my Birthday as my Dad would always have wanted, but also wanting to curl up in a ball and cry because my Dad isn’t here. This year feels more emotional because I lost my Grandad last year and he’d always been around for Father’s Day, but now, he’s not.
What can help combat feelings of loneliness this Father’s Day?
I truly believe that the most important thing to remember on Father’s Day is that although it may feel like it, you are not alone in going through this. It’s important to do what’s best for you on the day and remember to be kind to yourself. It’s okay to want to shut yourself away, but it’s also okay to want to talk, shout, or even scream.
If you find yourself alone on the day, perhaps getting outside may help. Getting outside, even just into a garden, if you have one, can be healing. Using your exercise to take a walk in a green space nearby could help you to clear your head. If you can, it might help to plant a tree or flower which you can return to as it grows, providing a comforting reminder of your Dad. This is what my brother and I did the first Father’s Day after we lost our Dad. We planted a sunflower in the garden and watched it grow tall and beautiful.
Sometimes, talking about your Dad, or father figure can be healing. I always write about my Dad, and this year, I’ll be writing about my Grandad too.
The most important thing is to put yourself first. It’s your grief, your story and no one can tell you how to live it.
Should you find yourself needing to chat with those who understand this Father’s Day, we will be hosting a Zoom meet up at 5.30pm on Father’s Day (19th June). Find the details here and we’d love to see you there.
As Emily mentioned, you’re so welcome to join our meet up on Father’s Day. You can also reach out to your local meet up group for support – find them here.