Written by the Winston’s Wish Youth Team
If your dad or father figure has died, Father’s Day can be a difficult time. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first Father’s Day after dad died or it has been many years. As with other special days, it can be a time when your grief is brought to the surface, your emotions are heightened and you are constantly reminded that your dad is no longer there.
Remember that you are not alone. Four young people from the Winston’s Wish Youth Team have shared their memories of their dad and their tips for others coping with Father’s Day while grieving for their dad.
I think my favourite memory of my dad was his ability to be not just my best friend, but others’ too. He had one of the biggest hearts I have ever known, always putting others before himself. He had the largest capability to be caring towards everyone and everything. He truly was a real life version of a cuddly teddy bear.
He had such an amazing natural expertise to connect with others, regardless of the conversation or situation. He never failed to make others smile and laugh, even his laugh was contagious! He had that cliché ability to light up a room whenever he walked in. He was the soul of the conversation, party and our home. When he died it was like the world had gotten a little less bright.
My dad was a big rugby fan and when I was a child we would cycle to our local rugby club together to watch my brother play and he would buy me some sweets. As I got older, I got more into rugby and me and my dad got the chance to travel to Cardiff together so we could watch Wales play. We got Welsh dragons painted on our faces and I love looking back at that time we got to spend together.
Father’s Day is a particularly hard day for me and for a lot of people who have been through a similar experience to me. My dad died two and a half years ago, when I was 18. Since, I have found little things that help me cope better on days like this. I like to think of fond memories and scroll through my photo albums looking for pictures I haven’t seen of him since he died. I always buy tulips and roses in his memory as they were his favourite flowers and at a glance on dark days they make me smile. I also write him a card, I tell him what I’ve been up to, what challenges I faced and I how grateful I am for him. Even though he’s not here, I try to make the day feel as normal as possible because I want to celebrate his memory and I think that’s important.
When I’m asked for some of my favourite memories regarding my dad many spring to mind but the majority are from our family holidays to Spain.
This place was our home away from home and I spent many a summer here: learning how to swim, playing cards, reading books and listening to music.
My dad used to take me away from all this fun for naps and a break from the summer sun and at the time I wasn’t a fan but eventually in the safety and comfort of his arms I would be sound asleep. Looking back, I treasure these moments and the memory of Grace and Dad time whilst my mum was sunning herself.
Now every time I look at this view and hear those waves, I remember and think about my dad, his love for this place and how much I miss him.
Whatever you do this Father’s Day, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be joyous. Look after yourselves and do whatever you need to get through.
Winston’s Wish are here to help. We offer one-to-one and group grief support sessions. We also have lots of online resources and a Helpline, email and live chat service where you can talk to bereavement professionals. You can call us on 08088 020 021 (open 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday), email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our live chat (open 3-8pm, Monday to Friday) and find out more on our Get Support page.
If you need urgent support in a crisis, you can contact the 24/7 Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger by texting WW to 85258.