Grace, whose dad died from cancer when she was eight years old, shares how she remembers her dad on Father’s Day and her advice for other children and young people whose dad has died.
I find myself feeling super down around June time. I have Father’s Day and the anniversary only a week apart, but I know there are things I can do to remember the lush memories and times that I had with my dad.
One key thing I do is act like he’s still around. I find it helpful to talk to him as if he were right there next to me. You find yourself missing the little things. Sometimes I might be making a cup of tea and end up talking to dad about what’s happened that day or what my plans are this week. It helps to think that he might actually be able to hear me.
The next thing I do is cry. I let it all out because I know that I’m going to feel better afterwards. I sit in bed and cry. Looking through photos, listening to music and crying is usually my routine on a day like Father’s Day. It helps to release pressure of having to be ok.
It’s okay to just sit and cry and sometimes my mum and I do it together. It’s nice to have someone who knows when I’m sad and when I want to cry. It makes me think of times when it was the three of us and not just me and mum. It is helpful to remember that crying is a good thing. Not embarrassing or ugly. It is key when letting out your emotions and expressing how you feel. Never be ashamed to cry because its natural and it can help when you don’t have the words to say how you’re feeling.
My dad wasn’t buried so I don’t have a grave to go and visit but I compromise. Every Father’s Day and anniversary, my mum and I have my dad’s favourite food – curry! It is something that was a staple part of our diet and my dad embedded the love of it in me from a very young age. Food and learning how to cook is something that my dad left me with when he died. I love to cook and bake the recipes he taught me and also explore new things to try.
When I’m cooking is the time when I feel closest to dad. Just knowing that he would be right there next to me, guiding and teaching me. It sparks the best memories and I end up reminiscing instead of actually cooking! Doing things that you would’ve done together can be sad because they’re not there but it can also show you the good times that you had doing these things.
Since my dad died my mum has become my rock. She knows exactly when I need a hug or when it’s best not to say anything. She is the person I go to, to just talk about dad. What he was like before I was born, how they got engaged and things like that. It is comforting to hear someone else’s thoughts and feelings on someone we both love so much.
My dad is still a massive part of my life he’s just not here. That is something that keeps me going. Talking about him and living life like he is still here. Telling people what he was like and what he liked to do shows others that it’s okay for them to mention him or ask me questions. It keeps his memory alive and I never feel like I have to hide my bereavement or grief.
Remembering my dad on Father’s Day isn’t something I can do by myself, it involves the people I love and those who loved my dad, but it’s okay if you want to be by yourself and do something for just you, something that allows you to remember that special person.