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Father’s Day When You Don’t Have A Father

It sucks.

There is no escaping that, and there is no way around that. It hurts. It sucks. It’s lonely. And it’s all around you. We enter the month of June and BOOM! Father’s Day stuff is surrounding you, and you cannot run away from it. It is yet another painful reminder that your father is missing from your life — a reminder that you likely do not need.

I lost my father back in 2009, and Father’s Day has not gotten any easier. I’m not sure it ever will in all honesty. Just the other day I received an email from a company promoting Father’s Day gifts with the subject line “Dear Michelle, From Dad” and it was literally a punch in the gut. It hurt so bad. I felt the tears in my eyes.

Father’s Day weekend truly is not easy.

But, I have gotten through many of them without my father. It sucked, it really, really did, but I got through them. And you can and you will too. Here are some of my tips for how I have coped and gotten through it. Please note though, that different things work for different people. Not all of the below may work for you. But if you have not tried them yet, please do so. You may just find one or two things that will help you more than you think they will.

What To Do On Father’s Day When You Don’t Have A Father

Stay Off Social Media

You know that social media is just going to be flooded with everyone posting pictures of their dad’s, saying how their dad is the best dad in the world, or sharing videos together with their dad. Why subject yourself to seeing all of this, especially when you do not have to? Delete the apps off your phone for a day. Stay off all applicable social media websites.

If you want to post something in honor of your father (which I do still do, personally — why can’t I share something about my dad just because he’s no longer here?), go for it. But, do not let yourself get lost in the endless scrolling you can then do on your respective social media channel. Post, and then log out.

Don’t Stay Home Alone

Try your best not to spend the day alone in your room. Being alone will just make things harder for you. Think about it — it’s much easier to get lost in memories or get overcome by sadness when you are by yourself.

Whether you surround yourself with loved ones (which would be my personal recommendation) or you surround yourself with things that just make you happy (whether that be some retail therapy, going to the park and people watching, whatever floats your boat) go ahead and do just that.

Know It’s Okay To Be Sad

You will cry on Father’s Day. That is okay. It is normal, it is expected, and it is nothing you should feel bad about. There is no reason for you to feel guilty about this, and there is no reason for you to feel like you need to suppress these feelings. Let them out. But, do not let them consume you. Let everything out, and then take a deep breath, and move on to something you love.

Focus on Something Else

If you are fortunate enough to still have one or both of your grandfathers, focus on them. If you have a stepfather, father-in-law, uncle, or great family friend who you love, cherish them on Father’s Day. Or, make this celebration a family celebration and celebrate your mother, your siblings, or any loved ones. Make an effort to see people you care about, and feel some happiness that you are still able to celebrate this day with a loved one.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out

Unfortunately, unless someone has lost a father themselves, people do not always realize how difficult Father’s Day Weekend can be for someone who has lost their father. I cannot stress this enough – do not be afraid to reach out to people and tell them how hard this weekend is for you. Vocalize it. Ask for their help, and their shoulders to lean on. They will be there for you, whether it’s checking in on you or making plans with you. And if they’re not? Well, then you know who your true friends are.

Start a New Tradition

Why not give yourself something to look forward to on Father’s Day? Of course, nothing will ever fill the void that has been left by your dad, but you are allowed to still have fun and enjoy yourself on Father’s Day. Start a tradition with your family where you go to one of your dad’s favorite places. Or start a tradition that you all go to the movies together, or take a trip to the beach, or whatever will make you all happy.

Father’s Day Weekend sucks when you do not have a father. There really is no hiding from that. And it really is okay to not be okay. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad. And it’s okay to be angry. But you do not need to let it consume you. You can still smile during this difficult time, and I’m sure that’s exactly what your father would have wanted you to be doing.

About the Author

Michelle Ioannou

Michelle graduated from Fordham University with a Bachelors of Arts '13 and a Master of Arts '14. She's currently working in corporate America with a side of freelance writing. She wants you to learn from her experiences and mistakes so your 20s can be your best decade. When she's not working, she's likely planning her escape to a tropical island.