Serving the Grieving  in Our Community Through the Impact of COVID-19

Missing Someone Special on Father’s Day

While each person’s journey of grief is as individual and unique as they are, there are certain milestone days throughout the year, that are usually particularly hard for the bereaved, such as anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays.

Sunday is Father’s Day.

It is usually celebrated with outdoor activities, BBQs and family gatherings. Unfortunately, it is not always a happy holiday for those who are grieving their fathers on this very day.

Father’s (and Mother’s) Day is a holiday that we anticipate we know our grief will be particularly strong. We picture that empty place at the table, and our hearts feel especially empty. One of the hardest things about Father’s Day is knowing it is not going to be the same as it always was without our dads there. Spring holidays, with their underlying themes of hope and renewal, are especially difficult when you are feeling sad and empty.

While we know that Father’s Day is not easy, especially when the loss of a father is recent, there are things we can do to help ourselves, and other loved ones who are grieving during this particular day. If you are spending Father’s Day with other family members, it is important to acknowledge to yourself and others in the family that things are not the same this year, but even though they are not the same, the holiday can still be meaningful. Talking to other family members about how they feel about missing dad and discussing a way to honor dad during the day can become a new tradition. It’s important to also include children in these conversations. Kids can be very creative!

Dad can still be part of the holiday. Ways to honor dad during Father’s Day can include: 

  • Creating a collage together of pictures of past holidays with dad, and hanging the collage in the room where holiday gatherings usually occur
  • ​​Saying a special prayer before a holiday, or sharing special stories or memories about dad around the holiday table
  • Creating and naming a special dish to serve on Father’s Day in honor of Dad
  • ​​Planting seeds in a garden or flower pot in honor of Dad
  • Be gentle with yourself and make space for yourself to do things that you find comforting and nurturing
  • If you are trying to help a child who lost his/her Father or Mother, pay extra attention to the child. Children have trouble expressing and naming their feelings, so pay attention to nonverbal cues, and help them understand what they are feeling. Validate the feeling and acknowledge any way they are feeling is OK and offer a constructive way to manage their feelings, such as creative writing or drawing together, playing sports, listening to music, or taking a walk
  • If you are grieving, make plans in advance for friends to either call or text you to see how you are doing. If you know someone who is grieving, check in with them prior to the holidays and on this Father’s Day to see if there is anything they need. Sometimes, all they need is a little understanding and to be included.

-Emma’s Place (and Stacey Cohen): In Honor Of Father’s Day 2021

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Our Mission:

Emma’s Place is Staten Island’s only not-for-profit, non-denominational Mental Health/Bereavement Counseling and educational program committed to supporting grieving children and families. Located on Staten Island, Emma’s Place provides community-based support services throughout the five boroughs of NYC, offering individuals access and the support they need to discover hope and healing through a much needed Mental Health and grief support services niche. In addition, we provide school-based group and individual counseling throughout NYC public and private schools, presently on Staten Island. We receive ongoing requests for professional development/training for teachers, administrators, community organizations and other licensed mental health providers.

We Are:

As a free-standing, independent grief and loss center, supported by the compassion and generosity of community funding, we are dedicated to having the capabilities to support the growing needs of the community. Emma’s Place is the primary resource for local grief and loss education.  

Grieving a loved one during the Spring holidays
Sharing feelings during COVID-19
Dr. Carolyn Taverner introduces Emma’s Place