I was on a “high” on my drive home Sunday afternoon from Camp Erin…a grief camp for children in Mount Potosi outside of Las Vegas. The camp had been extremely successful in that 50 grieving campers ages 6-17 from the Las Vegas area were able to make great progress on their grief journeys and also have a fun time at camp. Filled with hope, I turned on the radio, Country 95.5, and instead of country music there was a breaking news story…five people shot and killed in an ambush in Las Vegas, including two police officers. Immediately my heart sank as I thought about the families that would be grieving these deaths.
Monday’s paper reported that both police officers killed were husbands and fathers. In that same paper, ads for Father’s Day were everywhere. I couldn’t ignore the irony.
Families across America will gather to celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, June 15th. There will be barbecues and baseball games. It will be a day full of love and celebration.
But for those whose fathers have died, Father’s Day can be a difficult and painful day; a day when the death is brought into the spotlight.
Often times the anticipation of Father’s Day is more challenging than the day itself. Similar to a birthday or anniversary, I encourage you to make a plan for this special day. You can still “celebrate” your father even though he is not with you. Take time to remember your dad and the special times you had together. Look at photos and tell stories. Write him a letter stating how much you miss him and appreciate what he taught you about life. Perform a ritual in his honor such as planting a tree or flower, lighting a candle or releasing a balloon. You might want to eat his favorite meal or listen to music he enjoyed. Partake in his favorite hobby such as golf, hiking, cooking or working on cars.
Remember you will always be his son or daughter, death does not take that special relationship away.