• Jill


Updated: Jan 10

I know it’s a tough one. Every year, Father’s Day comes around, without fail. And every year, people sit in my office and ask me what to do.

My answer is ALL or NOTHING .. or something in between.

In other words, doing “ALL” means celebrating. Celebrate your father, the memories, the life that he was a significant part of, the way he enjoyed living, and the way he handed down his values to you – of living life to the fullest. Play golf, throw a barbecue, take a walk and enjoy the day. That’s one way.

Doing “NOTHING” means surrendering to the day. It’s your day, so it’s your choice as to how to spend it. If you are in early mourning stages, (or just find this holiday too difficult every year), you should feel free to take a pass on any festivities that will make you feel uncomfortable or that you do not really want to attend or participate in. If anyone asks why you’re not going, say anything you want. “I’m just not up to it this year”. “I am really grieving at holidays like this”. “Really not in the mood. Hopefully, next year.” “I really appreciate the invitation, hopefully next year”. “It’s too hard for me”. Then, spend the day in a way that would make you feel supported, loved and calm.

Remember, you can choose to avoid putting yourself in the kind of situation which would be upsetting to you. It’s not a cop-out. It’s a way of taking care of yourself and understanding that when you are grieving, you have special needs that are important. (We sometimes call it “The Mourner’s Bill of Rights”). Grief is Hard. Do it your way.

And then there’s “SOMETHING IN BETWEEN”. This is a combination of acknowledging that Father’s Day is a day to honor your Father in some way. You can do it privately and quietly. Do something personally to acknowledge him, even in a small way. Prepare or eat a special food which he enjoyed. Light a candle, Buy a book if he was interested in books. Watch a tv show or movie you enjoyed with him. Just a personal private way of celebrating Dad. Doesn’t have to be a big display. A little can really be a lot, especially if it’s meaningful.

Good luck, whatever way you choose to do it.


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New York City Metro Area

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