Coping with Father's Day: WAY members share their tips

June 2023

This weekend brings us one of the days that many who are widowed dread. Whether you are being a sole parent, bringing up a child without their dad or you didn’t have children, the WAY community is here to support you if you are struggling.

Graphic: Father's Day quote

WAY members have shared some tips for coping with Father’s Day after losing a loved one.

"My advice to other widowed dads, particularly if you have young kids, is don’t be afraid to plan it yourself. It doesn’t have to be a sad day. Try and make it a positive day. As widowed fathers, we should give ourselves a pat on the back. We’ve worked hard to raise our children, and Father’s Day is an opportunity to treat ourselves"

"I’ve found our best way of coping is to be with people who understand so we go on the WAY weekend away in Derbyshire. It helps both my twins and I get through and understand there are others feeling the same way. 

[This Father’s Day weekend], we are looking forward to catching up with some of the families we met last year and meeting new families."

“We use the day to remember them and go out to a place that we used to visit together. We will share stories about them as well.”

“Having the support of the WAY Woc (without children) sub-group helps me know I’m not alone with the ‘what could/should have been’ of a parenthood denied”

"I spend the day doing something fun with my children. They made me handmade cards last year"

“There is no right or wrong; do what feels right for you and your children.”

“In the past I have tended to try and avoid going anywhere I might be reminded on the day itself. It’s not always possible but I have started to recognise my triggers.”

“We remember them every day. Life is hard enough so we don’t need to put ourselves through these days if they are too painful for us.”

"I asked the children what they wanted to do. I found the last Father’s Day cards they had given him and we put those up. We looked at photographs and shared our memories. In the evening we had his favourite takeaway. A very simplistic day, with not too much intensity, symbolic, but also completely led by the children."

“I use it as a day for my kids and I to spend a little time connecting in a peaceful way.”

“We are choosing not to acknowledge it. We can sometimes be our own worst enemies. In reality they are just made up, we don’t have to engage with them if we don’t choose to.”

“For me, life still goes on and it’s how we choose to show the love we have for our lost partners by being able to talk about them, acknowledge them and remember the awesome times we had.”

"We donate the money that we would have spent on presents to various charities in his memory. It feels like we’re still doing something for him."

 “You have to do whatever works for you. You don’t have to do anything, but equally you don’t have to do nothing.”

WAY member Gavin has shared his story and how he will be spending Father's Day with son Magnus:

Read Gavin's story