Father’s Day is a celebration of Dad’s and many families are making plans to make it special for “the old man”!

But when your father has died, it can actually be a painful day of remembering what you have lost. This short article simply says to all those who have lost a father, you’re not alone.

I was in my mid-twenties when my Dad died after 4 years of debilitating illness. I had wonderful memories of our family life when he was well, but always regretted not having the “adult” relationship many develop as both father and child mature into adulthood. I wish he had known that I managed to graduate, far less any achievements I have had in my life. He was a great Dad, and I have modelled my own fathering (and now grand-fathering) on many of his principles.

While loss is difficult at ANY age, I feel for teens and younger on this day, when all the kids around them have a Dad to celebrate (or MOAN about!!) We all need a “father figure” in our lives, so is there a young child who has lost their Dad who we can try to help make this day more special?

Just because Dad is gone does not mean we have to stop honoring him on this special day. Try to start a tradition or find different ways to think of him each year. Here are a few suggestions:

* Write Dad a letter.

Tell him about your feelings. Let him know how much you miss him, how you are coping, or even that you are angry at him for leaving you. For just a few moments it will seem like you are communicating with him again. Then, if you are really into this, write “the reply” that Dad might send back to you if he could.

* Look at photographs and letters.

This is a wonderful way to tell children about their father or grandfather. They may have been too young when he died to remember him well. If they did know him, encourage them to talk about the pictures and share the things that they remember about him.

* Invite friends and family.

A positive activity is to invite friends to an informal get-together to share their memories of Dad. You will hear stories and learn things about Dad you never knew. You and the other guests will learn about the impact your Dad had on other people’s lives.

* Go to your Dad’s favorite place.

If your Dad had a special place he liked to go to, visit that place. You will feel closer to him, no matter if it is a beach, a cabin in the woods, a park bench, a museum, the opera, or his front porch.

* Do his favorite thing.

Maybe your Dad liked to go golfing, or perhaps he was into movies. Spend the day doing whatever it was that gave your Dad the most pleasure in life and it will bring you closer to him.

Some Great Father’s Day Quotes:

 He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.

Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a Dad.

Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.

And may we discover, in the words of mark Twain: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”