If you know me on a personal level, you know that I am not one for being told what to do. Even as a child, I was stubborn wanting to do things how I wanted to do them, when I wanted to do them. This still applies to my life now in regard to certain holidays. I find myself more attuned to telling those I love every day versus a particular day of the year; the same can be said for the upcoming Father’s Day.
While this day is so important and absolutely should not be taken for granted as fathers deserve recognition, but because I have personally experienced the death of my father, I prefer to not spend JUST this single day honoring him.
For many of us grieving the death of a father, this day can be a big cloud looming over our heads regardless of time that has lapsed. The anticipation of what our feelings will be—can we block it out, do we want to block it out? All these big feelings and thoughts may come rushing back.
Sadly, grief itself is not linear and so days such as Father’s Day can be a grief trigger even if it has been years since the death, like in my case.
My father died when I was 17 years old. While I won’t tell you how many years ago now that is 😊, I will tell you that many years have since passed. However, even with all that time, not a day goes by that I do not remember him, say good morning and good night to him.
While I do not have a physical relationship with him anymore, our spiritual relationship has never staggered. Yes, it is one-sided, but it is what helps me remember him and honor him daily. See, I don’t need one single day to remember my father, while of course he is more prevalent in my mind on that very special day, I choose to make every day Father’s Day!
I realize this may seem quite far-fetched for some, but time really does help. Was I like this before? Absolutely not! It has taken years for me to be at peace with the idea of honoring my father every day.
My gut/heart/whole body still hurts at times, but when it does, I find myself sharing a little bit of him with my family now. It’s kind of beautiful to think that I can introduce my household to my father in a way only I can. My children never met their grandparent and my husband never met his father-in-law, but through me, I can connect those stories and traditions and keep his memory alive.
On this upcoming Father’s Day and every day, whether you are reading this because you yourself are grieving or because you stumbled here to know how to support someone else, remember that time helps and there is no wrong way to grieve. Each of us is different and so are our relationships with our person who died. It’s okay if you don’t have the words, but find someone who will support you or be that someone to encourage and listen!
Erin’s House is here to support our community through their grief. If you are in need of resources or support, please reach out to us to speak with a Child Grief Specialist: Info@ErinsHouse.org or 260.423.2466. Written by: Cindy Maldonado-Schaefer | Director of Operations & Child Grief Specialist