Grieving the Loss of a Father – On Father’s Day

Father’s Day can be a difficult time for someone grieving the loss of either parent. It also can be awkward for friends and family wondering what to do with—or say to—the grieving person on this special day. We hope that you will join those who have found the following suggestions helpful in similar circumstances.

Ways to Remember Your Father

  • Take part in an activity that your father would appreciate
  • Go to a location that holds special memories of him
  • Remember your father with a special meal
  • Was there a tradition that he especially enjoyed on Father’s Day? If so, is there a way you can take part in that in some way?
  • Use the day to share stories of your father with other members of the family, especially younger generations that might not have known him well
  • Make a financial gift to an organization that he supported
  • Take flowers to your father’s gravesite
  • Give flowers to your faith community in his memory
  • Listen to music that your father enjoyed
  • Support a community cause that was important to your father

Support for You

  • Consider how you would best like to spend this day: Alone? With family? With friends? At home? Going to a special place?
  • Share fond memories of your father with other family members
  • Talk with friends who also have lost their fathers
  • Spend the day participating in a hobby, sport or other activity that you enjoy
  • Read a book that is uplifting and encouraging
  • Spend time with a pet
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Invite family and friends to share a meal with you
  • Watch a show or movie that you enjoy
  • Spend some time outdoors
  • Treat yourself to a special meal at a favorite restaurant

Support for a Friend who has Lost a Father

  • Recognize your friend may find this to be a difficult day
  • Offer to spend time with your friend on Father’s Day
  • If your friend wants to talk about her father, listen attentively and without judgment
  • Tell your friend that you are available to join him in an activity to remember his father
  • Let your friend know you are available for a “fun” day if that is what she prefers
  • Send a card recalling a special memory of your friend’s father
  • Go with your friend to a religious service where his father is remembered
  • Be open to supporting a wide variety of emotions from your friend
  • If conversation with your friend is open, consider sharing a fond memory of her father
  • Tell your friend that you see an admirable trait of his father living on through him
  • Offer to take your friend to one of her father’s favorite restaurants
  • Offer to go with your friend to place flowers at her father’s gravesite
  • Make a donation to a favorite charity of your friend’s father
  • Invite your friend to your home for a meal
  • Sit with your friend as he reviews photos and other memorabilia related to his father
  • Assist your friend with a project that honors her father
  • Provide childcare for your friend so she can have time alone
  • Offer to care for your friend’s pet(s) and/or plants so he can spend time away from home for a day or two

This article is used with permission from Hospice Foundation of America (HFA). For more information about HFA, visit

About Hospice of the Red River Valley
Hospice of the Red River Valley is an independent, nonprofit hospice serving more than 30 counties in North Dakota and Minnesota. Hospice care is intensive comfort care that alleviates pain and suffering, enhancing the quality of life for patients with life-limiting illnesses and their loved ones by addressing their medical, emotional, spiritual and grief needs. For more information, call toll free 800-237-4629, email or visit


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