Fathers Day and Grief

fathers day and grief Kansas City Hospiceby Lisa Templeton-Farmer, Director of Grief Programs at Kansas City Hospice

Fathers Day can be a treasured time for a family to celebrate relationships and be together. But, Fathers Day and grief may be complicated for families.

It’s not just people who have experienced the death of their father. Many other people are affected by grief on Fathers Day:

  • Someone dealing with the recent loss of a parent
  • Fathers coping with the loss of a child
  • People who have had a traumatic loss in their lives
  • Mothers grieving the loss of their spouse
  • Siblings mourning the loss of a brother or sister


fathers day grief kansas city hospiceHere are some self-care suggestions for Fathers Day:

  • Do things differently – if the thought of a tradition is too painful, then change it up.
  • If you have a family event, remember the good times – spend time looking at family photos or telling stories.
  • Have a quiet day on your own – perhaps do something you used to do with your loved one.
  • Create a photo album or memory box  – it may help to remember and reflect.
  • Create a memorial – plant flowers or a tree in a place that holds special memories or light a candle.
  • Talk with your siblings – share memories with those closest to you.
  • Buy a Fathers Day card – write a message and  display it at home, take it to the cemetery or perhaps mark the day with flowers. Or, write a letter to your father.
  • Remember that children grieve too – ask them how they feel about the day,  let them know that they can share any thoughts and feelings, help them feel included.
  • Send a message – young  people might wish to blow bubbles and imagine they carry a message to their loved one.
  • Allow yourself to grieve – sometimes anticipation can be worse than the days themselves.
  • Be patient with yourself – whether this is the first celebration without your loved one or if your loss was long ago, this time can intensify grief.
  • Tell others what you need – do you want to continue traditions, begin new ones or not celebrate at all?
  • Reach out for support – if you think you need support, ask! Friends or family may feel awkward about offering  help, so if you want company or support, let them know.
  • Feel free to sulk – check out this blog from What’s Your Grief: Fathers Day Sulking Without Apology.
  • Don’t feel guilty if you have moments of fun – honoring your love one includes knowing that they would want you to be able to feel joy.

fathers day grief kansas city hospiceBe a good friend

If your friend is grieving:

  • Send a card or make a call – remind them that you are thinking about them.
  • Invite your friend to get away – grab a meal, have coffee, see a movie or take a walk. A simple distraction can mean so much.
  • Avoid easy advice – don’t try to fix problems, rush them through grief or otherwise invalidate their grief.
  • Be mindful – if they need to be alone, then don’t push. But, if they need to talk or just be with you, do that. Be there for them however they need your support.

May however you choose to mark Fathers Day this year feel supportive.


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The mission of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance, and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. And, our vision is that each person in our community is valued from life through death and each family is supported in their grief.

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  1. Jean Slack on June 13, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Very helpful! Thank you!

  2. Jean Slack on June 13, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Well said!

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