Celebrating Father’s Day when your dad has died can be very difficult and emotional. If it is a recent loss, this holiday may feel like too much to bear. If more time has passed, the occasion may inspire you to do something special to honor the memory of the man who played such an important role in your life.

Father’s Day Tribute Ideas

  1. Buy Dad a Card

    In the month of June, it’s nearly impossible to escape the in-store displays of Father’s Day cards. If the greeting card aisle makes you emotional, go ahead and buy one 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. Tap into those memories and write a note to him inside. You can bring the card to your father’s gravesite or keep it in a special place at home.
  2. Share His Stories

    Many fathers are known for the stories they tell, whether they are life lessons in disguise or colorful tales of a past era. On Father’s Day, keep your dad’s stories alive for future generations by recording some of your favorites in a journal or retelling them to your own children. Or, at the dinner table, ask each family member to share their favorite Dad or Grandpa story before beginning the meal.
  3. Bring Flowers

    Taking flowers to your dad’s gravesite on Father’s Day is a nice way to pay tribute to him, and you can do so with a “masculine” touch. Choose flowers in the colors of Dad’s favorite college or pro sports team, like red and white carnations with blue irises for a Chicago Cubs fan or bright yellow daisies with greenery for the die-hard Green Bay Packers fan. If Dad’s gravesite is some distance away, ask a nearby family member, friend, or the cemetery about placing a floral arrangement for you. Many funeral service providers have relationships with local florists to make ordering flowers easy. You can also buy a bouquet for yourself and place it in a prominent spot at home. Every time you look at it, you’ll be reminded of him.
  4. Visit Another Father

    Father’s Day might feel lonely if you can’t visit or call your own father. Consider visiting a senior in a nursing home or senior center who might not have any guests on Father’s Day. If appropriate and permitted by the facility, children can also come along to brighten up the senior’s day. Instead of feeling alone with your memories on Father’s Day, use the holiday as an opportunity to bring joy to another father.
  5. What Would Dad Do?

    Spend the day in tribute to your father by taking part in activities he would have enjoyed. Take the family to a ballgame, barbeque on Dad’s grill in the backyard, go fishing, or watch a movie marathon of his favorite flicks. Whether it’s John Wayne or James Bond, these activities can help you feel connected to dad, even though he’s gone.

It’s especially hard to deal with grief during the holidays, and missing Dad on Father’s Day is natural. However you decide to spend the day, experts agree that it’s most important to listen to your heart and allow yourself to do as much (or as little) as you are able. Giving yourself permission to grieve for and honor Dad in whatever way you need is essential to coping with a parent’s death.

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