Father’s Day is a difficult time for those who have lost their dads. Social media floods with pictures of happy families, funny and beautiful memories, and current plans.
Meanwhile, you might get hit up with memories of your own:
Facebook showing you and your dad together 5 years ago.
A barrage of emails about the best gifts for dads, and how amazing they are.
The memory and tinged of pain it brings at those things left unsaid, or plans left unfollowed, in the wake of the loss.
It is difficult to cope. It is hard not to feel as though something was unfairly taken from you. This isn’t the way you wanted to feel. This isn’t the way you wanted this day to go.
All of those feelings are OK. They are accurate, even. The goal isn’t the make those go away.
The goal is to work toward a mindset that remembers your dad’s life, not his death or the way life has changed in his absence.
The goal is to remember the man he was, the legacy he left, and the better person you are for it all.
The goal is not to move on. It is so move forward.
It is not easy, of course, but nothing worth it ever is. Below, you’ll find countless stories and ideas for legacy projects and tributes that can help reframe the unimaginable, and bring light to the memory of a father who made you the person you are today.
Ways To Honor Your Dad on Father’s Day
There are innumerable ways to honor your dad’s memory on Father’s Day and celebrate the life he lived and the legacy he left.
We’ve rounded up the top three ways, we think, to do this, but remember: this is your day. You get to do whatever it is you want to remember you dad.
Read through the following ideas, but keep in mind:
Father’s Day is your day. You get to spend it however you want.
You only need to do what feels right. Discard all the rest.
Let other people help, if you want. It’s a gesture that helps the both of you.
Feel however it is that you feel. Don’t give yourself a guilt trip for having a certain feeling. Each feeling has its place. Let it be.
Talk about it –– or don’t. You get to decide, and can guide others to talk more about it or less based on how you feel.
Take care of yourself, too. Take a long bath. Binge watch that Netflix show. You get to come to first, too.
All right –– let’s dive into a few options for memorialization and honoring that can help you better grieve and give thanks to the man who made you who you are.
1. Consider cremation diamonds as a healing tool.
Cremation or memorial diamonds are a great way to memorialize a loved one, especially a great man like your father, and carry them with your wherever you go so that you can tell their story on your own terms.
They can also be an incredible healing tool through the grieving process, giving you something to look forward to and hope during an often dark time.
The diamond growth journey takes 8-10 months, you get updates throughout the entire process, and finally, your dad’s diamond is hand delivered back home to you.
Here are just a few quotes from folks who have had a cremation diamond made of their dad:
“After 9 months, my dream of having my Dad physically with me all the time has come true. I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to Adelle and her staff @eterneva for all of the support and love throughout this process! You guys exemplify customer service. Adelle – you are now a part of my family. We love you!”
“Eterneva created beautiful diamonds of my dad. I would highly recommend doing this it is such a beautiful reminder of someone you love and you will always have a piece of them. My dad meant the world to me and Eterneva gave me an opportunity to always have him by my side and I can't thank them enough. They are also so incredibly sweet and truly care about what they are doing and their customers.”
“Adelle the owner was amazing! She made me feel secure with my decision and she made me feel like I was a part of the Eterneva family. And that my dad was in good hands. I am very grateful for Adelle and the Eterneva family to welcome me and my dad into the family. Thank you sooo much for everything! I love the diamond. I recommend Eterneva to everyone!”
Many folks even enjoy having a small gathering or party for the diamond’s homecoming, which would coincide well with a Father’s Day activity!
2. Do something together to honor your dad.
Whether it is with friends or family, host a gathering big or small to celebrate your dad or dads in general –– new dads, late dads, and dads of children who have passed.
It might even be helpful to include those who don’t have great relationships with their dads. Father’s Day can be incredibly difficult for them as well, and sharing stories between one another can help shed light on various human experiences and the beauty of those we share.
Make it a barbeque, and a get-together that honors the little things that bring us joy, that taught us so much, and that honors the legacy of those who have passed –– specifically as a Happy Father’s Day tribute.
Or, if a get-together doesn’t sound ideal, start a legacy project. Legacy projects are projects and activities that honor our loved ones, but give our idol hands something to do.
For instance, a testicular cancer awareness run or walk in honor of someone who died with the disease is a legacy project. You do it in their name, you raise money to give to research, and you feel good about the movement, the community, and the camaraderie.
Think about activities your dad liked, and find something to do in that vein. Working at a soup kitchen. Heading to a baseball game. Whatever it is, do it in his honor and memory.
3. Journal About or to Your Father.
Lisa Shulman, MD, FAAN, professor of neurology at the University of Maryland, editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Neurology's Brain & Life Books series, and a member of the Brain & Life editorial board, has a new book out in which she describes the incredible grief healing that came to her through journaling.
That book is titled Before and After Loss: A Neurologist's Perspective on Loss, Grief, and Our Brain, and in a recent interview, she said:
“For months, I didn’t derive comfort from the usual antidotes to grief such as attending a support group or talking to a counselor. They didn’t represent a way forward for me. Then, one day when I was overwhelmed and agitated, I felt the urge to sit down and try to crystallize my thoughts on paper. And for the first time, I felt a lessening of my distress. It was very powerful. I knew right away this was the tool I needed.”
Giving a concrete description to the way you are feeling often makes it feel more manageable.
It is why the first step of most healing programs begins with naming the feeling: grief, anxiety, loneliness. The first step is always identifying the emotion, and then you can begin to make sense of it and move forward.
“Journaling helps short-circuit the chronic stress following traumatic events,” she also said in the interview. “Reconnecting and becoming more comfortable with suppressed memories calms the fear center of the brain, which is on overdrive during the grieving process. For me, each time I reread a distressing memory, I annotated it with more information and a revised response from a new perspective. The repetition of writing, reading, and re-reading gradually helped me fit these disturbing memories into my life story.”
So, this Father’s Day, begin a journaling habit –– or even just journal for a single day if that seems more manageable.
Write to your father to say I love you or I miss you.
Write to yourself. Just write down what it is you are feeling, even if it is that journaling to heal is ridiculous.
Write to God, even, or to the higher power you believe in.
Get that voice in your head on paper, so that you can better manage the feelings and work with that voice to heal.
12 Father’s Day Quotes To Help Remember Your Dad
Father’s Day quotes abound on the internet, so we hope to bring some of the most impactful here. Better yet, we’ve given a bit of background to each quote including who the person who said or wrote it is, and the context in which they said it.
Hopefully you can use these as comfort, in memorial posts online, or in eulogies as needed. If you have any others you love or would recommend, please send them in! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” – Antoine Francois Prevost
Antoine François Prévost d'Exiles, usually known simply as the Abbé Prévost, was a French author and novelist. His father, Lievin Prévost, was a lawyer who died when Antoine was only 14. After his father’s death, he entered a Jesuit school and eventually was ordained as a Benedictine priest in 1721.
It is clear that his father’s death shifted his life trajectory, bringing him closer to faith. This quote pays tribute to the awe he maintained of his father throughout his life.
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” – Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco was an Italian novelist, literary critic, philosopher, semiotician, and a university professor. His father, who was an accountant and one of 13 children, urged him to become a lawyer. He did not. Instead, he entered the University of Turin to take up medieval philosophy and literature. His father served in three wars.
Though Umberto did not follow his father’s advice in career, this quote certainly says that he honored him and followed his advice about many other things.
“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland
Clarence Budington Kelland was an American writer, though little is known about his relationship with his father. In his New York Times obituary, Clarence – known as Bud – was quoted as having said earlier in like: ““I came from poor but Republican parents.”
This quote suggests that his father was like many of the time, reserved and stoic. Still, he learned much from him by watching his behavior and learning from his success and failures.
“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give another person. He believed in me.” – Jim Valvano
Jim Valvano was an American college basketball player, coach, and broadcaster. He was vocal about how the support of his father led him to believe in himself, and ultimately to success.
Jim himself is now passed, but you can read a beautiful essay about him by his daughter Jamie here.
“When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back.” – Linda Poindexter
Linda Poindexter is a singer/songwriter, author/poet and self-proclaimed literary artist. She began her career penning poetry and short stories at the age of twelve.
This quote speaks to the power of a father-child relationship, allowing your children to go out on their own, but having their back when it is needed.
“My father was my teacher. But most importantly he was a great dad.” – Beau Bridges
Beau Bridges is an award-winning American actor and director. His father was also an actor, Lloyd Vernet Bridges Jr., who starred in a number of television series and appeared in more than 150 feature films.
Beau and his brother’s father played a key role in their acting career, bringing them on separate episodes of TV’s Sea Hunt. Beau in particular played opposite his father in Harts of the West (1993).
From The Oscar’s website:
“Beau and Jeff cited both their father and their mother, Dorothy (“the rock”), as inspirations for them to take up acting, though the brothers also encouraged each other in shared passions like sports (including surfing, of course).”
“This is the price you pay for having a great father. You get the wonder, the joy, the tender moments – and you get the tears at the end, too.” – Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben is an American writer of mystery novels and thrillers. This quote in particular appears in one of his novels titled Seconds Away, from the Mickey Boklitar series.
“My appreciation for my father’s greatness cannot be measured.” – Jennifer Williamson
Jennifer Williamson is a writer, suicide loss survivor, and creator of HealingBrave.com, where she writes words of hope and heart to help people heal better. You’ll see that we have included several of her quotes, and for good reason!
“No matter how old we are, we still need our dads, and wonder how we’ll get by without them.” – Jennifer Williamson
In an interview with the Boston Voyageur, Jennifer said: “My father (my biggest fan) passed away in 2016, infusing life and my writing with new heartache and greater depth.” It is after that event she launched the HealingBrave website, first started as AimHappy.com.
“May each tear and each fond memory be a note of love rising to meet you.” – Jennifer Williamson
She is the author of Sleep Affirmations, Morning Affirmations, and Sleep Rituals. Her books, poems, and words breathe fresh air and courage into the places that need it most. Everything she makes is an offering of light and an invitation to shine.
“There is no expiration date on the love between a father and his child.” – Jennifer Williamson
Her HealingBrave website is worth a visit, and may soon become one of your favorites for finding healing words, rituals, and understanding.
“Deeply, I know this, that love triumphs over death. My father continues to be loved, and therefore he remains by my side.” – Jennifer Williamson
No matter what, Jennifer father was a huge source of inspiration for her, and her thoughts and quotes about him are helpful for anyone who had a close relationship with their dad better grieve the loss and celebrate his life this Father’s Day.
No matter how you decide to spend Father’s Day this year, remember to listen to yourself and trust that you know what is best for your own healing.
If a get-together and a barbeque gathering is what makes the most sense to you, do it! Invite friends over and make a special day of it.
If a calming, self-care day at home sounds better, go for it.
Grieving takes time. It takes patience. And it is a sign of a deep connection you’d never trade in.
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