Anniversaries and key dates

Anniversaries and key dates in the diary can be a difficult or isolating time for people experiencing bereavement, whether their significant person died recently or many years ago.

On Father’s Day, our Just ‘B’ team shares some useful ideas on how people can look after themselves if they are experiencing grief for a dad, step dad, grandad, or important male role model in their life, and suggestions for families to mark the day.

 Sometimes we might wish to find different ways to mark the day: 

  • Visit dad’s favourite place or somewhere special to him
  • Read a book or poem that connects you with dad
  • Have some quiet time
  • Hold, wear or carry something in your pocket that connects you to dad – an item of clothing, a watch or piece of jewellery.
  • Write him a letter or a poem or a song. Maybe you could start with something like ‘If you came back for just 5 minutes, I’d tell you….’

Sometimes it’s helpful to do something together as a family; eg

  • Take a special card to his grave – or to where his ashes were buried or scattered
  • Blow some bubbles and send him your love on the wind
  • Plant some bulbs, seeds or a shrub in a place that holds special memories *
  • Cook his favourite meal – Risotto? Roast dinner? Curry?
  • Begin to make a memory box in which to keep things that remind you of him – photos, shells, holiday snaps, glasses, silly tie etc. Or a scrapbook with similar things.
  • Make or buy a new frame for your favourite photograph of him – what was he doing?
  • Talk about your dad with your family, what memories does everyone have of him?
  • Above all, be kind to yourself and do what feels right for you.

Sometimes our relationship and memories of the person who has died may be harder/more complicated.

  • Embracing the memories of the person who has died can be comforting and painful; talk about them and give yourself permission to cry as and when you need to.
  • Try to let others know how you are feeling and how you would like to be comforted – whether that means giving you space to be alone, or being there to listen and give you a hug.”
  • Make time for yourself. Doing something for yourself that you enjoy, no matter how small, can be a great psychological break.
  • Above all, remember it’s OK not to feel OK. Do what feels right for you.

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