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5 ways you can help a friend this Father’s Day

Whether someone close to you has lost a father, a child or another family member, Father’s day can be a tricky one. It’s hard seeing someone you care about carrying the heavy burden of grief and not knowing how best to help.

Here are five suggestions of things you can do to make Father’s Day a little more manageable for them:

  1. Acknowledge that it might be a hard day for them – Grief is hard every day, but some days can feel more overwhelming than others. Special days like Father’s day bring the intense feelings closer to the surface and tend to be jam packed with triggers. There is nothing you, or anyone, can do to make that not hurt, but acknowledging the person’s pain helps to validate it, letting them know that they’ve not been forgotten.
  2. Write down your favourite memory/story about their person and give it to them – One of the biggest fears bereaved people can have is that their loved one may be forgotten. Sharing a funny or touching memory about that person with them, be it via a text, a card or in person, is a huge gift. It allows them to smile (and maybe cry) at the good times, and shows them you remember their loved one as someone that lived, not just someone that died.
  3. Invite them out… and don’t be offended if they say no – It’s hard for people to know how they are going to feel on the day, for this reason we always recommend that they make any plans flexible and explain to others why. You can really help your grieving friend by communicating with them that you understand this may be the case, and that you are happy to be on standby if they do want to do something together, but will not be offended if it doesn’t feel right for them either.
  4. Listen if they need to talk – When grief flares up and the feelings become overwhelming, it’s really helpful to be able to talk it through with someone that won’t try and fix the situation or their feelings, but will just listen and try to understand where they are coming from. Lending your friend an ear if they need to talk, is a simple but priceless gift.
  5. Send them a gift – A small, thoughtful gift can let them know that you are thinking about them on this difficult day, and that they haven’t been forgotten even though others are off celebrating the day with their own loved ones. The gift could be anything and doesn’t have to cost a lot – maybe some flowers, a photo gift of their loved one or even something to help them like a grief journal such as the one we created.

If you would like any more advice on helping a bereaved friend, please do not hesitate to contact Fay Bloor our Bereavement Counsellor on