If you are grieving the death of your father you may be dreading Fathers’ Day on Sunday June 16.

But, with a little preparation and some careful thought, this celebration of the love we feel for our fathers and how they have shaped our lives, can still be a special day say the Family Support team at Tynedale Hospice at Home.

“For what seems like weeks now, Fathers’ Day cards have been appearing in shelves in shops all over Tynedale,” says Family Support Practitioner Val Jewitt. “When you are grieving, these cards can seem like a stark reminder of everything we lose when a parent dies. But the love we feel does not die – and taking time out to remember them and celebrate how they shaped your life can be a huge comfort.”

The Family Support team has a few ideas that may help grieving families on Sunday, June 16:

  • Share stories: Sitting down together to talk about Dad/Grandad and listening to each other’s memories can feel very special. Lots of families worry that if they start to talk about their memories, they may upset each other. But it’s OK to cry together, and to laugh. You never stop thinking about the loved ones in your life who have died – and you can still learn things about them from others after they have died.
  • Buy a card: Many people like to start a memory box after a loved one has died – and continue to put things in it for years after the death. Cards to celebrate special days that particularly remind you of them can help you keep those memories alive. Treasure them. Buy a card that captures your feelings or describes your relationship with your father. Thoughtful, serious or funny, the card you choose can help put your emotions and thoughts into words.
  • Listen to Dad’s favourite music: Whether it’s Frank Sinatra or the Sex Pistols, listening to Dad’s favourite music can make you smile – and even dance – in his memory. Music is incredibly evocative. You may even have a recording of Dad playing the guitar or singing which you can share with loved ones.
  • Do something that Dad would have loved: A family game of rounders or football, a barbecue in the garden or a Star Wars movie marathon – spend the day in tribute to your father by doing something that he would have loved.

“Whatever you do, make sure you listen to your heart and allow yourself to do as much (or as little) as you are able,” says Val. “Don’t put yourself under any pressure. And please remember, that if you need support, the Family Support team is here.”