Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Coming: Father's Day for the Fatherless

Honestly? I wish there was no Father's Day. Or Mother's Day. They've turned into commercially exploited obligations in my jaded opinion.

But, here in America, these holidays come like a train at a railroad crossing. We'd better be alert! Don't let Father's Day hit you like a train. We need to prepare. Here are some general ideas for coping. Don't try to do them all---just pick one to adapt to your own situation. Tomorrow you'll hear from some experienced widows about how they handle it.
  • 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. You're not alone. This is a tough day for a lot of people. 
  • 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, maybe Sunday, June 16 would be a good day for it. If you've been planning to go to a theme park sometime this summer, maybe this would be a good time to go. 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 acknowledge the day--don't be silent and feel guilty like its the elephant in the living room that no one will talk about. But you don't have to go overboard. 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 your experiences of 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!)
  • If you've been invited somewhere, carefully decide if you're comfortable with the arrangements. Graciously decline, or offer an alternative if it'll be too much for you. Realize though, that the invitation is offered with love, and you might have a much better time with a group of people than with being alone.  
How do you feel about Father's 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 check back tomorrow to hear from other widows.
ferree

4 comments:

  1. Thank you Ferree for this, I too always struggled with Mother's Day since I never had any memories of a mother of anykind....it was very emotional and painful, but Father's Day.... with Thomas (was always special) as he was the best husband and father a wife or child could ask for......so after much thought and prayer.....
    I have decided to buy some beautiful roses as a tribute to him. Tom always and not on any specific days or occasions would just bring me or our daughter (myra)roses...just because "I love you"

    I have read the symbolic meaning of a rose is that which is of beauty, grace, perfection and my favorite definition is a rose symbols that which is of warmth, friendship and joy. Thomas embodied all those qualities. So as a fragrance of love and tribute to him. Myra and I will have a vase of roses this Father's Day.

    dodi ~

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  2. Dear Dodi, That's a beautiful idea! I hope the enjoyment of your roses will be boundless for you and Myra, and will be a precious symbol of Tom and your Father God's infinite love for you.

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  3. I remember last year's Father's Day when my beloved husband was slipping away from us. This will be the first one without him. He was an exceptional dad. He stood above other men I have known. I have not asked my adult kids what they are thinking, but I have an idea. There'a a big void. On Saturday 6/15 it will be 11 months since he passed. His one year anniversary to heaven is coming up. Then Sunday, it's Father's Day. On Monday, 6/17, it's my mom's birthday and she passed away last year too. It will be also the first birthday that she will not be with us. This year, I will sit with my dad and one of my sisters, at his church to celebrate Father's Day. I haven't done this for over 5 years since my husband's illness. I know he will be missing my mom not being there. Afterwards, he wants to go place flowers at the cemetery, so I will do that too, as well as for my husband. Then we will have lunch. It's simple and uncomplicated.

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  4. Perfect. Simple, straightforward. Lucy, may the Lord bless you as you honor your dad with your love and support on Sunday, and all the while remembering your husband and mom.

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