lonely woman

Father’s Day can be a difficult day. There are a number of disappointing scenarios that contribute to the grief and heartache that this day can stir up. If you’re one of the many people effected by Father’s Day heartache, you are not alone. Like many holidays, Father’s Day can be rough. Here are some of the situations that may have contributed to a difficult Father’s Day.

  • Father abandoned family
  • Mother abandoned family and the father is left to fill both roles
  • Father is widowed and is left to fill both roles
  • Mother is widowed and is left to fill both roles
  • Abusive parental relationship
  • Estrangement
  • Child is left an orphan
  • Father not an active participant due to work obligations, mental health issues, or other obstacles
  • Divorce
  • Addiction
  • Miscarriage and infertility

You see? If you or a loved one is facing a difficult Father’s Day, you’re (they’re) not alone. The reality is all of the above (even the things not listed) are part of life; however, the difference is how individuals choose to handle the situation. There are ways individuals can appropriately handle their pain associated with Father’s Day.


Talking about your grief is the best way to identify a healthy solution. Everyone should have someone to communicate with on a regular basis. This can be a family member, friend, counselor, neighbor, pastor (worship leader), or teacher. It’s important for your mental to openly discuss your feelings. In many instances, communicating your feelings can provide you with a fresh outlook on a difficult situation and get you closer to a peaceful mindset. Let go of what you believe is “normal” and find a way to make sense of your situation.

Find Joy

Author John Green, in The Fault in Our Stars,” says it best. “Without pain, how could we know joy? This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.”

If human beings didn’t experience difficult situations, we would never know what true joy feels like. Not only would we not know what it feels like, but we wouldn’t appreciate joy when it occurred. The hard times help us build for the good times; however, if you wallow within those dark scenarios, you’ll waste away. When you’re feeling grief stricken consider doing things that bring you true joy. This could be reading, hiking, walking, running, enjoying your favorite drink at your local coffee shop, cooking, watching your favorite TV show, or simply watching the sunset. Joy doesn’t have to be overly grand. In many cases, joy is simple and minimal. There is joy surrounding your every day; however, you must be willing to see it.

Stop the Comparison Game

Jealousy is an evil thing because the world can feel like it’s totally against you at times. When it comes to dealing with a rough Father’s Day, maybe you’re wondering what you did wrong or why your father is no longer in your life. The reality is everyone is dealt a different deck of cards. No scenario is the same, despite how glorious it may appear. Some people get dads who go to every school play. Some people get the dads who walk out. Some people get dads that stand by while their child is abused. Some people get a dad who is taken away too soon.

There is an infinite amount of possibilities, but the thing is you can’t control any of it. While you may be able to forgive someone or change the course of a scenario, you cannot make things what they are not. When you feel compelled to compare your situation, practice the habit of not comparing by listing something you’re grateful for. Practicing gratitude can change the trajectory of your overall mindset. If one thing isn’t enough, try listing at least three things you’re thankful for.

Choose to Celebrate You

 As a society, everyone tends to get caught up with the way things should be. Whether you’re scrolling through filtered images on social media or abiding by cultured holiday specifications, opt to not participate. In this case, you have permission to not celebrate Father’s Day. Give yourself permission to feel sad about Father’s Day because of your situation and choose to celebrate you despite the absence, loss, or challenge of your father figure.

You are remarkable and worthy of praise! Do something that brings happiness into your life and make it a tradition. Do something that’s trademarked especially for you and ignore the cultural pressures the rest of the world places on this designated day.

Seek Out Healing

Healing is different for every individual; however, healing should be proactive versus reactive. It’s important to remember healing is a process and not something that can be accomplished in one fell swoop. Also, sometimes we don’t know what our source of healing can and/or will be. Healing can come from performing a hobby we enjoy, attending a retreat, praying, reading, or taking a vacation.

Before Father’s Day, take the time to identify what healing looks like for you. Ask yourself and be honest. Jot down your honest responses and revisit them because as the process progresses, healing actions may change. Allow your healing to be an unending journey.

Father’s Day can be a hard 24 hours. In most cases, the events that led to the grief associated with Father’s Day are complicated and the year-round emotions are ever changing. It’s important to take the time to acknowledge how you are affected by Father’s Day and the measures you can take to change your feelings. Life is way too short to allow yourself to be crippled by grief. Even though your grief will be likely to reappear in unexpected times, your mental health and well-being relies on your ability to appropriately handle your sadness.


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