Saturday, 16 June 2018 06:58

Fathers' Day: A playlist for dads who have departed is very appropriate

Written by  Tracy Bowie, Column
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If life has a soundtrack, this Sunday we will be hearing a lot of Twitty’s “That’s My Job”, Sawyer Brown’s “The Walk” and Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have To Be.”

Emotion invoking, heart-warming sentiments set to tune. Less likely, although just as fitting, Lonestar’s “Not A Day Goes By” or Diamond Rio’s “One More Day,” because they reflect on someone who has left us.
 However, did you know that Father’s Day is rooted in grief and loss, yet has become a holiday where the bereaved are left out?
The first written record of the holiday was in 1908, when a woman, Grace Clayton, asked the local church to observe a special day in honour of all fathers and in remembrance of the 360 men who had been killed in a horrific mining accident just prior. 210 of those miners had been fathers, leaving over 1,000 children grieving.
 Ms. Clayton, who was still mourning her own beloved father, chose the Sunday closest to his birthday for the service.
If Father’s Day is a difficult day for you, please keep these things in mind:
If you have lost your father, you can observe the day by writing a letter to him, to express gratitude, thoughts left unsaid or provide a family update.
You may also wish to take a moment to reflect on your relationship.
Or, you may celebrate him by spending some time in an activity or hobby he enjoyed or by eating his favourite foods.  Busy can also change the focus from what “should be.”
Finally, do not be afraid to ask for help if it makes the day easier for you.
If you have lost a child, you can spend time with your other children, continuing to make memories for them to treasure.
Surround yourself with the strength and support from loved ones.
Keep busy with activities that are meaningful for you.
Finally, remember that you are still that child’s father.
Say his name.
Talk about her.
Recognize the person and the loss.
We grieve because we love.
If you will be spending time with kids who have lost their dad, talk about him. Share memories and anecdotes. Tell stories about him for the first (or thousandth) time.
Listen to their thoughts and memories, validate their feelings.
Create something together - a memory book or a scrapbook featuring their dad. Light a luminary in his honour, make his favourite meal and enjoy it together.
Grief is a journey, it is not a one-time event.
It is always okay to seek out information, resources, an ear willing to listen or further support. Regardless of whether this is your first Father’s Day or one of many since a loss, take the time to honour and celebrate in a way that is fitting for you.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, the experience is unique to each individual including children and teens, for whom it can be especially difficult.
(Tracy Bowie heads The Good Foundation Inc. which is a support for grief, bereavement and loss)

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