When Father’s Day is Hard

200295824-001Maybe as you’ve watched the TV commercials or passed by the card aisle at Target, you’ve felt a pain in your gut about Father’s Day. All the sentimental words, and picturesque shots of hugs between fathers and children may bring you sorrow. Families can be complicated, and the holidays sometimes make for particular difficulty.

In fact you may experience grief on Father’s Day.

Grief can come, of course, because your father has died. But it may be that you feel grief because the relationship isn’t what you wish it was. Or maybe, it has been strained for so long that you feel hardened about it. And then, when you feel that stab of pain, you know you are still tender.


Know that you are not alone if this holiday is difficult for you.

Consider doing some things that help you face the pain and gain some strength from managing those difficult emotions.

If your father has died, maybe set aside some time to honor him by writing down favorite memories. Share those thoughts with others—sharing does multiply goodness and joy, and it does divide pain, so that it is easier to bear.

If your relationship is strained or if your father is missing from your life, maybe this is a time to be kind to yourself. Do something for you that you wish your father would have done for you. Think of your strengths and your good qualities, and yes, go ahead and name those and applaud yourself for these gifts. Love yourself.

Some people try to make amends on holidays.

If you decide to do this, be mindful of a couple of things.

1. If you decide to forgive him of something he has not asked forgiveness for, it may be received as an attack. Maybe try to forgive him in your heart if things are not in the right place for a conversation.

2. If you decide on a face-to-face conversation, be aware of your expectations. Expectations are not always met, so go into it with openness, but with knowledge that the only person you can control is you. We can experience great peace by making efforts toward reconciliation even if they are not met with the response we would wish for. We have at least tried with an open heart.

This Father’s Day may be a great day for you and your father, or for you and the memories of your father. If so, enjoy! If not, remember that you are not alone.

May we all remember to rejoice with those that rejoice, and weep with those that weep.


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