“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.”
This year Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 11, and is a time to celebrate those in our lives who have been a father figure to each of us. For some people, a specific person or individual comes to mind, such as a father, grandfather, uncle, or brother, but for some, it might take more time to come up with an answer. No matter who this individual(s) is, Greenlawn Funeral Home encourages you to take some time to think about these prompts, find at least three things to be grateful for this Father’s Day.
The following prompts were inspired by these books.
Goodbye Dad: Navigating & Overcoming the Loss of a Father by Anthony Carpino
It’s OK that You’re NOT OK: Meeting Grief & Loss in a Culture that Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine.
When I think about Father’s Day, Who comes to mind first, second, etc.?
Carpino (2022) says no one should feel as though they need to rush their emotions or come to a final conclusion or place of acceptance quickly as humanly possible. Rather, he gives a truthful, heartful warning to be aware of social pressures and feelings of guilt and shame, as total avoidance or being overly emotional will only prolong the grieving process and potentially lead to more hardship further down the line.
What memories do have of that person(s)? Are they happy, sad, regretful, etc?
Sometimes, we can forget or feel that time is limitless and last forever when in reality, it’s fleeting. Carpino (2022) struggled to realize that he could no longer pick up his phone to call his dad when he needed guidance or to run an idea by him and see what he thought. If the person you are thinking of is still alive, what memories do you have of them, and have you spent time to share those memories with them? Is there something you feel proud of or appericate about them? If they have since passed, think about the same questions, and when you are ready, share them with a friend, or if you feel comfortable enough, pretend to talk to them and share your responses out loud.
What can I do to celebrate that person(s) in the next few days?
It doesn’t have to be something big to celebrate them; it can be a small act or change in your normal routine done in memory of them. Was there something that you guys had done together? Or is there a food item, restaurant, specific place, or hobby that you associate with them when thinking about them? Devine (2017) dives deeper into the idea that no one can live your life and no one can feel what your feel, but also says that no one can make it alone either. So, since we thrive on relationship building and need to be connected to others, it’s inevitable that with love also comes loss and grief. In addition, grief can bring on rapid changes in emotions and make you second-guess your thoughts and feelings, often leading to isolation and numbness. All of these are normal and healthy but should also be worked through over time to prevent burnout or hardening of the heart.
Are there any strong emotions that I feel, in regard, to them?
Most are aware that people are in greatest need of support following a death, yet Devine (2017) claims that more often than not, during this time, is when we feel the most alone, misunderstood, judged, and dismissed. For some, this might be two or three years down the road of the loved one’s death, or, for some, the time spent coming to terms with someone’s life being shortened is less painful but last longer. This is also known as expectant grief or prolonged grief and can be challenging to identify the impact until it’s too late or can come out during times of high stress or when faced with something unexpected.
What do I wish could have known or said to this person(s)?
Last and most important, what regrets do you have? Are there ways to make peace with those? Most often, regrets can be things you wish you would have said, actions you felt you needed to take, or maybe you feel that you need to apologize for something or to someone. While it’s good to be self-aware of these aspects of grief, everyone has regrets, and sometimes time is just not on our side.
Greenlawn encourages you to work through your grief at your own pace and to reach out if you need assistance finding a mental health professional in your community.