Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are held each year on the first Sunday in September and on the second Sunday in May respectively. For many people, these occasions are meant to be days where we celebrate family and parenthood. For those who have lost one or both parents, though, it can be a difficult or sad time.
Missing a parent
Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are big commercial occasions for many companies. Retailers sell more products and gifts while restaurants and venues take more bookings. In the lead-up to the day we are bombarded with advertising and promotions. You might feel like it’s impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced that loss what it feels like when you’re seeing all those messages on social media, on television, and on signs in your local shops, all reminding you that this special day is coming up.
This may make you feel frustrated, sad or even jealous. You might even ask yourself, why do they still get to spend time with mum or dad? You may miss the good times and what you will never get to do together. As painful as it may feel, this is a normal response.
As anyone who has lost someone close to them will know, grief doesn’t have a chronological timeline. The grieving process is personal and people react in different ways.
You may be surprised by your grief, by how intense it may be at times, or by how long it lasts. Even if you have family and friends around you, you can still miss a parent.
Dealing with loss
Try to not withdraw if you’re feeling sad or overwhelmed. Instead, talk about it to family and friends. Remember the good times you had together and look back at the positives.
Another way to deal with it is to write down your stories and anecdotes. Reminiscing about the best times can help you work through your grief.
You could even spend the day doing an activity that mum or dad used to enjoy. That could be going for a walk, fishing, watching their favourite movie, or having dinner with the family.
Remember that you don’t have to go through grief alone. Let someone help you and don’t be afraid to ask your loved ones for support.
Need help with coping? Need to talk to someone? If you are concerned, you can talk to a professional counsellor on 1300 096 269. It’s free to people in north, western and central Melbourne and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The CAREinMIND blog is delivered by On the Line. The views in each post do not necessarily reflect those of North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.