Health

Struggling with grief this Father’s Day? Six ways to cope with the heartache


FOR those who have lost a parent, Father’s Day can be a challenging time.

The tragic loss of life experienced due to the coronavirus pandemic has meant many people will have to spend the celebration without their dad by their side.

If you're struggling this Father's Day there are things you can do to make yourself feel a little bit better

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If you’re struggling this Father’s Day there are things you can do to make yourself feel a little bit betterCredit: Getty

Bianca Neumann, head of bereavement at charity Sue Ryder said while it’s important to address your emotions on this day, you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to feel a certain way.

Speaking to The Sun, she said Father’s Day can bring up a whole host of emotions.

“Many clients have said to me how they avoid supermarkets and shops around special occasions like Father’s Day, because they don’t want to see all the aisles filled with cards, chocolates and gifts”, she said.

Bianca has revealed the six ways you can cope with grief today.

1. Talk about your dad

While everyone copes differently, Bianca said one way to get through Father’s Day is by talking about your dad.

She explained: “Grief can feel very isolating, but it is likely that other people around you are feeling the loss of your dad too or have been through a similar situation.

“Talk about your dad with others, light a candle in his memory, or do something with a loved one that reminds you of him.”

2. Focus on time spent

Father’s Day can be a great time to look back on some of the great times you shared with your dad.

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For some people looking back can bring up negative feelings, but Bianca said it’s important to try and turn this experience into a positive.

“Loss can often bring up feelings of regret. For instance, perhaps you feel like you could have spent more time with your father.

“Try instead to focus on the time you did have and how special that was for both you and your dad”, she said.

Thinking back to good time your shared with your dad is a great way to remember him

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Thinking back to good time your shared with your dad is a great way to remember himCredit: Getty

3. Write a letter

Many people find it difficult to express their feelings, one way to do this is to write a letter, Bianca says.

“Sometimes getting our feelings out on paper can help us to process the complex emotions we are feeling.

“Writing a letter to your dad may feel strange but it is a way of validating your emotions and feeling closer to him, even though he is not there with you”, she said.

4. Find a support group

The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for people to meet up in person, and that’s also meant that many people haven’t had access to support groups.

Thanks to technology many groups have formed online. Bianca says finding a group that shares your feelings could help you cope and feel less alone.

She said: “When you are grieving, you may find comfort in talking to others in a similar position. 

“This could be a friend who has also lost a parent, or you could consider joining a support group, such as Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Community, where you will find that many other people are experiencing the exact same feelings as you.”

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Finding a group of people who have similar experiences to you could be helpful

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Finding a group of people who have similar experiences to you could be helpfulCredit: Getty

5. Don’t be ashamed

There is no shame at feeling upset on Father’s Day, just as there is no shame feeling angry or frustrated at not having your Dad around any more.

Bianca said: “When it comes to losing a parent, feelings of jealousy, envy, anger as well as sadness are very common, but not everyone talks about them openly. 

“These feelings often get pushed aside, and the remaining feeling is that of guilt or shame, as an inner voice labels these feelings as ‘bad’ when they are normal.  

“Don’t place yourself under too much pressure to be ‘OK’.

“Emotions come and go and like waves, they can wash over us and seem overwhelming. Allow yourself to feel and experience your grief and know that in time, the waves will eventually recede.”

6. Ignore the day completely

Social media and promotional emails make it pretty hard to ignore Father’s Day.

But many companies now offer an “opt out” button, so that you no longer get emails about Father’s Day cards and gifts.

Bianca said that if you’re struggling with the thought of Father’s Day, then you could ignore it completely.

“Take the day off social media and do things that make you happy – maybe that’s baking, watching a Netflix show, going on a walk or simply having a lazy day”, she added.

Bianca added: “Lastly, if someone you know is grieving the loss of their parent this Father’s Day, remember to check in on them – people can find it difficult to reach out when they are grieving.

“Perhaps you can send a card or care package of their favourite things – maybe a mix of snacks for when they don’t feel up for cooking, some flowers or a game that they could play to take their mind off the day.”

To find out more about Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support, visit sueryder.org/copingwithgrief

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