Friday, June 1, 2012

Fathers Day for the Fatherless

Honestly? I wish there was no Fathers Day. Or Mothers Day. They've turned into commercially exploited obligations in my jaded opinion. I'd much rather create my own surprise days to tell my parents and in-laws that I love them. And I'd rather receive surprises than obligations from my kids.
But, here in America, these holidays come like a train at a railroad crossing. We'd better wait with caution at the crossing gate! For widows--especially widows with children, Fathers Day is coming like a train.  We need to prepare. Here are some ideas for coping with Fathers Day. DO NOT TRY THEM ALL! Just pick one to adapt to your own situation.
  • Try to relax. You're going to be glad when it's over, but it might not be as bad as you think. Often, the anticipation is worse than the actual event.
  • Prepare. I hate to say this--(if you knew me you'd know I'm a big supporter of going to church even when it hurts)--but this might be a good day to skip church or Sunday School. Especially if you have little kids who will be making "I Love You Daddy" pictures in Sunday School. Remember? They do that every year, don't they? Think ahead and plan ahead.
  • Do SOMETHING. If family traditions will be comfortable for you, go ahead and plan on them. But if you need something different, like if you've been planning to go to a theme park sometime this summer, maybe Sunday, June 17 would be a good day for it. Look for something to do that eats up a lot of hours. The goal for this day is to get it over with! :)
  • It's OK to make just a small acknowledgement of the day--don't feel guilty and don't treat it like the elephant in the middle of the room that no one will talk about. Start the day with a quick prayer to thank God that your children had a good father--two sentences at the most. That's plenty! You don't have to talk about it or think about it all day long.
  •  Fill up on gratitude for experiencing love, marriage, and parenting -- those good things are not the norm for many people now days. Appreciate your life story and the good experiences and blessings you've had. More will come, I promise!  
  • Give your kids "A Hug From Above." Hug them and say something like, "Today is Father's Day and here's a hug from above: your dad loved you so much!" Tell yourself that, too: "He still loves me and I'm grateful for the time I had with him."
  • Give in to the little cloudbursts. If you feel a cry coming on, let yourself cry. Crying is a physical release of stress. It might not last more than five minutes. Deep breathing helps, too. Then --(I'm saying this kindly)-- put your big girl pants on and help  your kids by focusing on them and how glad you are they are still around.
  • Accept grace. God showers it in unexpected moments. Watch for it
  • Be flexible. Roll with the waves of grief. Don't build up your negative expectations too much--it's not going to be the worst day of your life. (You've already had that one!)
  • For more ideas, check out these articles from Griefshare: http://www.griefshare.org/holidays/articles/holidaysspecialtimes
How do you feel about Fathers Day? Do you have some ideas that have worked for you? I love to hear what you've discovered, and I'm sure your comments with be a tremendous help and encouragement to others. Please be sure to leave a comment and I'll publish it asap.
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4 comments:

  1. On the one hand, I'm blessed to have my dad on this coming Father's Day and he deserves to be honored.

    On the other hand, it is a sad reminder that Michael isn't here with us.

    We will spend the day with family and make the best of it. That's kind of my M.O. - make the best of it. It's okay to feel sad, though. I know I did last year.

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  2. My heart aches with the thought that my two children have to deal with the fact they lost their daddy at a young age. Reading the article helps to realize I can't avoid the subject. I need to love on my children.

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  3. Last year was our first Father's Day without Daddy. For all my ten children it was hard, even though 3 of them are married... but for my 7 at home, my heart was broke, and so was theirs. The headstone had been set just a couple weeks before, so we went out to the grave after Sunday dinner, and the children wrote notes to Daddy saying what they appreciated about him having been their Daddy, attached them to helium balloons, and let them fly off into the sky. Sweet. ... We had also decided that to go to our church was a bad idea, so went to a local town festival where they had gospel music in the park - it was refreshing and different- and I could cry without anyone making a big deal out of it. We are planning to do the same this year. :)

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  4. this was a great post!!! Fathers day was very hard for my girls and I it was our first without Daddy. We stayed home cuddled watched movies did anything but talk about dads. We were pleasantly pleased to find the day wasn't as hard as we were thinking it was going to be.

    ReplyDelete

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