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6 thoughtful Father’s Day activities to do when you’ve lost your dad


Holidays can be tough when you’ve lost someone you love. The celebrations, family photos, and whatnot serve to remind us of those we’ve lost. These holidays can be particularly challenging when they’re centered around a single figure, like Father’s Day.

Just because he’s gone, of course, doesn’t mean you can’t observe Father’s Day. There are all sorts of opportunities to do that if that helps you work through grief and share happy memories, helping you get the most out of a day that otherwise might feel long and painful.

Below we’ve compiled six options for self-care so you can celebrate your father, even in the face of his absence.

Enjoy the day, his way

If your dad liked fast-food French fries, head over to his favorite joint and chow down. Did he like snoozing in front of the TV during the final day of the U.S. Open, the prestigious golf tournament that typically culminates on Father’s Day? Relax on the couch and enjoy, even if you aren’t a fan yourself.

These small activities can unlock strong, happy memories. When you’ve lost someone you love, often it’s the little things you start to miss, like Saturday morning coffee or an evening card game. Keep the memories and traditions close to you and engage in some of those things that he loved, especially if they’re activities you did together.


Volunteer or donate to a cause he cared about

Giving back in someone’s name is one of the best ways to honor their memory and passions. He filled your life with love and joy, so pay it forward so your dad’s activities, joys, and interests can continue, even if he isn’t there.

Did he like to fish? Volunteer for a stream cleanup. Was he passionate about his alma mater? Donate to the school in his name. The list of possibilities is a long one, so don’t hesitate to reach out to other friends and family for ideas, too.

Write him a letter or visit him at the cemetery

A simple but powerful gesture, writing a letter helps you process your own feelings and engage with your memories in a more tactile way. It doesn’t need to be anything deep or upsetting if you don’t want to focus on those feelings. You can simply write about what you’ve been up to, things you remember about your time together, or anything you’d like to share.

A visit to the cemetery can also be an opportunity to further process your grief. Bring flowers or a favorite object (maybe a large order of those fast-food fries), take a seat, enjoy the weather, and have a discussion.


Get together with friends and family

Chances are that other people in your life are feeling his absence too. Find those people and gather in his honor. If a meal is involved, consider including some of his favorite dishes. Family is more than blood relation, so if you have space and time, try to gather immediate family as well as friends and community members looking for an opportunity for remembrance.

On the other hand, if you think being around other people will be too hard, it’s okay to decline an invitation, too. You have to do what’s best for your mental health, and your loved ones will understand.

Look through old pics

Old photo albums may not be as common as they used to be, but there’s still a decent chance your dad or other family member kept a few for old time’s sake. Whether you’re in the photos or were even alive when they were taken, it’s powerful to see moments in history that brought you all to where you are today.

While photo albums bring a bit of nostalgia, your phone may also be a great repository. If you have a large collection of digital pics on your phone or laptop, take this opportunity to comb through them, order some prints, and make your own album.

Teach your children something he taught you

Perhaps a quiet Sunday in June is the perfect time to hit the water and practice baiting a hook the way your dad taught you. If you have children of your own or are close to any young ones in your family, take the opportunity to pass on some of your dad’s knowledge to the next generation. Read an old storybook, watch his favorite movie, or maybe recycle one of his famous dad jokes.

Your relationship with your father was unique, so it’s worth uniquely celebrating him on Father’s Day. Use these six tips as guidelines to help you keep your father close on this holiday, taking time to grieve but also celebrate the good moments.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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Scott Harris
Scott Harris is a freelance writer based near Washington, DC, with more than a decade of experience covering health…
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