How to Prepare for Father’s Day After Losing Your Dad

Father’s Day is a day to commemorate and honor fathers from all walks of life. Many families enjoy celebrating husbands, fathers, and grandfathers. But for some, particularly those who have lost their fathers, Father’s Day is a difficult holiday that brings the pain of their loss to the forefront of their minds.

Since grief is a force that responds at will to specific memories and circumstances, it can be hard to know exactly when we’re going to feel its sting. But you can almost bet that significant holidays are going to be challenging, at least in the months and years immediately following a death.

If you’ve lost your father, then you know how painful that loss is. You also know how hard Father’s Day can be. So this year, we’re sharing some practical and easy steps you can take to prepare for Father’s Day after losing your dad. Let’s take a look. 

Know That It May Be Hard 

After losing your dad, significant milestones and holidays will be difficult, especially for the first year.

For many people, anniversaries, birthdays, religious observances, and days we observe as a nation bring fresh grief to the surface. If this is something you’re facing, you’re not alone.

Father's Day after loss

If you’re actively grieving or dealing with trauma, consider making a therapy appointment immediately before or after the day you’re going to be observing. Having a trusted professional you can talk to about your experience will help you feel supported, and will also allow you to process what you’re going through in a healthy, nonjudgmental, and productive environment. 

Take Time For Yourself 

Take time to practice self-care as you prepare for Father’s Day without your dad. Self-care is unique for different people, so embrace whatever you need to do for comfort and healing during this time. Set boundaries around what activities you feel comfortable engaging in, and what you don’t.

For example, if your partner plans to attend a Father’s Day lunch or dinner for their father, don’t feel pressured to go. It can be hard to celebrate someone else’s parent when you’re struggling with the loss of your own, and they'll understand that. 

Opt out of activities that remind you of your loss and focus on what you need in order to manage grief. You may want to do something that reminds you of the relationship you had with your dad, like going to one of his favorite places or cooking his favorite meal.

Stay Off Social Media 

Social media is a highlight reel for many people.

You may choose to use social media on or around Father’s Day, and if so, that’s truly up to you. But consider taking a break around holidays, since there are often many posts on social media from people who are joyfully and gratefully spending time with their fathers.

There may also be people sharing their grief over losing a father. While, in some cases, this can help us to not feel so alone, it can also be triggering and may cause us to relive our own grief.

So sometimes, it’s best to abstain from social media for a few days so you can miss some of these posts.

Consider Bonding With Siblings or Your Mother 

Depending on the nature of your relationship with your mother or siblings, it may be beneficial to consider bonding with them as Father’s Day approaches. Meeting up with your siblings, cousins, mother, aunts and uncles, grandparents, or anyone who loved the father you lost can be helpful.

Father's Day after loss of dad

Even if you don’t want to be sad and mourn, your family understands what the day means to you.

You can do something together to honor your father, or simply spend time together, sharing memories, looking at photographs, or watching home movies. If possible, you might put your heads together and recreate a family outing you remember fondly, or share a meal that holds special memories. 

Do Something to Honor Your Father 

Sometimes, when we’re experiencing grief, it can be helpful to keep ourselves busy and channel our energy and thoughts into something that is more within our control.

Whether on your own or with friends and family, do something to honor your father’s memory. Spend some time considering what might be the most appropriate way to honor him, and then take action. 

Father's Day memorial

  • Consider adding a memorial bench to his gravesite. Benches can be a comforting addition to a loved one’s resting place.
  • Create a donation campaign in his name for a charity he might have chosen while he was alive. 
  • Plant a tree in his honor. We offer a wide variety of seedlings you can plant to remember your dad. 
  • Hang memorial wind chimes at your home (or even his). Chimes can be a gentle reminder of a loved one’s memory after they’ve passed on. Take a look at our Fathers Hold Our Hearts Forever wind chime, which is an excellent example of a chime you can hang in your dad’s honor. 
  • If your children lost their father, give them gifts in honor of their dad. Our Remembrance Bear is a soft, snuggly gift that’s perfect for children who are facing grief. 

Final Thoughts 

Although Father’s Day is a tough reminder for those who have lost their dads, there are ways to continue honoring your father’s legacy on this holiday even after he’s gone.

Focusing on the relationships you’ve built with your family and close friends will help you on the most painful days.

Being aware of and preparing for the hurt, taking time for self-care, taking a social media break, and doing something to honor your father can help you to not only prepare for Father’s Day; it can give the holiday an entirely new significance, even in the wake of loss.

 We offer a number of personalized remembrance gifts that comfort loved ones who are grieving loss. Click here to take a look at our gifts we’ve curated specifically for someone who has lost their father.