Monday, June 13, 2011

Fathers (Remembrance) Day

This Sunday wil be Father's Day and my avoidance of it has perfected to the point of almost forgetting it exists. But then I noticed Carol M. posted this on her Gathering Place facebook group:
~With Fathers Day approaching, I just want each and every one of you to know that you are in my prayers. I know how difficult this day can be especially when you have children. I thought it would get easier since I married Chris, but its still a little difficult for me. The kids, however, are thrilled to be able to celebrate with him, and he's also excited to be able to celebrate his 1st fathers day. So I will celebrate with them! God is so good!
Her goodness woke me up about the upcoming Father's Day, and once I scuttle away a bit of guilt and "should have's," I'm glad for her reaching out, and I'm glad for the reminder. It would have been awful to sail into this week without seeing this "holiday" looming ahead.

This photo is from a secular website
that's loaded with helpful info about grieving:
 http://www.hellogrief.org/
Father's Day, like I've said, has dulled over the years for me. It's become easier for me, almost forgotten, a non-event; I send cards to my own father and my two father-in-laws; I get Tom an L.L. Bean shirt. I don't recall that I did anything with my kids during our first years without Bruce, and they were nice enough to give Tom a card or a little something while they were still at home. I doubt we'll hear anything from them this year, I'm afraid I've taught them how to avoid it very well. Honestly, it's a day that can really sting if you let it. But if you ignore it, well . . . it'll just come around again. The adult in me is OK with that, but the mom in me wishes I would have worked it through with my kids in a better way.
 
This led me to wonder exactly what I could have done with my kids? And what could I find to suggest for you? So I've been filling Google search boxes with combinations of key words: fathers day without a father, death of father, grieving for father . . . The articles I found just made me cry.
 
Then I checked websites of a couple well-known ministries for families. I'm so ashamed of their ignorance that I won't even tell you their names.
 
The best thing, some actual "How to's" and practical help was right here:
Fathers Day--OH NO! How Will We Get Through?
It's last year's post about getting through Fathers Day. I think I'd add one thing to it, though. Like Kelly C. said in the comments, change the holiday to Fathers REMEMBRANCE Day.
 
How to do that without cutting out your heart? It'll be different for each of you. Take a look at the suggestions on the link and see if any of the ideas ring true for you. Looking back, I wish I'd have made an annual event of Father's Day. Instead of ignoring it, I should have done something with the kids. Like, for us, a day at Cedar Point would have been great; that's something their dad would have relished! Even though he was a pastor, he loved to have fun and that would have been a great tribute . . . But back then I didn't have the advantage of finding a blog like this and learning from other's experiences or regrets. Yep, I wish we'd have gone to Cedar Point. It would have taken up the whole day, embedded some good memories, and worn us out enough for a good night's sleep. But the attitude projected on the day is also key. If we were going to the theme park on Fathers Day driven by any of the following--
Avoidance
Compensation
Pity
--We'd be better off to save the money for therapy. :(

Make Fathers Day a time to bless your kids with what their dad would have loved for them.  

It's not too late. You've got six days to plan.

What are some of your possibilities, ideas, feelings, fears? How would dad or grandpa have enjoyed this day? Try adding your comments below, email them to me or put them on Facebook for me so you can get some feedback.
That's what we're all here for. ferree
P.S. If you're interested in Carol's Gathering Place on Facebook, let me know and I'll send you an invite.

3 comments:

  1. Ferree, your ministry to widows touches my heart. In many ways you are preparing me for the day when I could become a widow. Thank you. This Father's Day post was tops. Have a great day celebrating your hubbies on their special day.

    Elaine W. Miller.
    www.SplashesofSerenity.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Ferree, I am a 'new' widow, less than a year, so I am going through all the firsts yet. While the initial pain has lessened, I still have 7 children of our 10 at home- with the youngest at 9 yr. old. I came searching for some ideas for to what to do on Fathers Day, as I have been dreading it since I fell apart on Mothers Day... and determined that I will not subject my children to Sunday School to make Father's Day cards... Your post has been a balm to my torn heart. Thank-you.~Sheri N.

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  3. Dear Sheri, I remember that first year. I locked myself and my two children who were too young at the time to even know what day it was in our home. I refused to participate in Fathers day festivities even with my own dad. I didn't want my children around other children who would be honoring their dads. It wasn't the best attitude but with raw pain it was the best I could do. If my children had been older I would have let them chose, I think. I would explain to them that we cannot stop this day from coming every year. Its hurts, it stinks, but we can't stop it. See how your children want to remember dad. If its something totally selfish, so be it. And its ok to cry, to feel that pain. It actually helps. There is no quick fix, no band aid for this situation, unfortunately. You must do what you can handle. Take a trip to the cemetery. Go to dad's favorite restaurant, or write a letter and send it in a helium filled balloon. There is no right or wrong choice. May Gods peace fill your hearts. You and your children will be in my prayers this week!!

    ReplyDelete

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