A holiday that honors parents is supposed to be a happy occasion. But for many children whose parents are gone, it’s one of the worst. Father’s Day is just around the corner, and I have heard so many stories from grown children who take issue with the holiday because it just isn’t a day they want to celebrate. One person on my blog talked about how the death of her father in her infant years shaped the person she is now, how it grieves her that she has no real memories of her father. Both of my parents had strained relationships, at best, with their fathers when their parents divorced, and little to no relationship with them at all when they died years later. A father I know has teenage children who won’t speak to him any longer because of their parents’ divorce, even though he was a good dad when the marriage was intact. One mom I know must keep her daughter away from the kid’s father because he is not a good man. Another friend is anticipating the whole day being done with, as this will be her first Father’s Day since her dad passed away. Another friend doesn’t think she’ll ever get over her dad’s untimely death, and Father’s Day only makes it hurt that much more. And then there are the dads whose children have died, the children who miss their dads while they’re away at war, the dads who have no access to their children due to tumultuous custody battles, and the children who have been physically or sexually abused by their fathers.
Yesterday I wrote a blog article on Father’s Day, celebrating the fathers who are making it a point to be in their children’s lives. And while I still celebrate that, I recognize that there are many who find no joy in this holiday for some very real reasons. I am so sorry. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a father, or to not have my dad in my life. And that is something I dread ever experiencing. But being that I have never experienced this, I have no real advice or words of wisdom on how to handle this.
But I know plenty of you out there do.
What makes Father’s Day a hard day for you? How do you cope? Do you do anything for Father’s Day, or do you just lie low until the day has passed?