How 3 grief professionals find space for commemoration
Ways to commemorate your father figure during the Father’s Day season
After Claire lost both her mother and father, she felt like she needed to reclaim Mother’s Day and Father’s Day as another way to process her grief. She shares that she realized, “I get to do this too, I get to buy a card, I get to talk about my mom or my dad. And so I kind of love the card thing. I buy one - like really go and pick one out that I would get him if he were still here - and then write something to him.”
Claire also shares that sharing stories with or about her dad is important for her to do personally and with her kids. “It's important to me to share stories about him with my kids. So I talk about him a lot with them. We go to a restaurant that he loved or that we used to go to or cook something, or watch a favorite movie of his just something that makes me feel connected to him in some way.”
She shares that in an effort to connect with her dad, she’s even gone as far as to learn how to fly a plane. “One year on his death anniversary, I took a flight lesson. My dad was a pilot and I felt so close to him in that moment. It was this thing that he had done his whole life that I had really no idea about. And sitting in the cockpit and looking at all these controls, I thought, ‘Wow, this was a huge part of my father's life,’ and it made me feel really close to him.”
Mekel has similarly gone to great lengths to connect with her dad during times when she misses him. After he died during the COVID-19 pandemic, her family was unable to have a large service and decided to use Father’s Day as a new outlet for commemoration. “It was very limited. And so like Claire, we decided to sort of deviate beyond Father's Day and think, ‘Okay, what can we do that something my dad would have loved?’ He was a Harley Davidson adventure seeker and so that's sort of what we're doing this year. I'm actually taking off this week, to travel to Texas, and to get involved in some adventure to keep his memory alive.”
Grievers can take a page out of their books by using this kind of bonding with family or community over something that memorialized a part of someone’s life that was special. “Last year, my brothers and I were of course sad that we weren't able to really commemorate my dad's life in a public way. But then it's almost become like the secret society where we're not telling anybody what we're doing. The three of us are going to go do it with our spouses and partners and that's it. It sort of feels sacred.”
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