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Father’s Day Without Your Father

Father’s Day without your father.

This will be my first Father’s Day without a father. As I sat down to write this post, I really had no idea what I was going to say, much less how to say it. I felt at a loss for words. What was I supposed to write about as this day, my first Father’s Day without a father approached?

What could I possibly say to help someone else who is missing her/his dad not just today, but every day?

At first I wasn’t going to even attempt a Father’s Day post at all. Not this year. It felt too hard. Undoable even. At the same time, I had to write one. How could I not acknowledge this day, this year, this loss, this grief?

Grief is hard. Writing is hard. So it only makes sense that writing about grief is hard, too.

Yes, Father’s Day this year will be hard, but then again, it won’t be, or rather it won’t be much harder than the Saturday before it or the Monday that comes after it. In a way, every day is Father’s Day now, a day to remember the dad I had and the dad I now miss.

When you’re limping along through grief, there aren’t necessarily stand-out days of grief, at least not so much for me.

More often, it’s the ordinary moments and days that are hardest.

It’s the little things, the big things and the in-between things. It’s all of it.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to not have had such a wonderful dad for as many years as I did. Sometimes I think fewer memories would make grieving easier now.

When I start having thoughts like this, the next one that generally follows is something like, Nancy, what a completely ridiculous thing to think, much less say or write.

My dad died early in the morning on a stormy Saturday in late July. (He was alone, a fact that saddens me, though I’m pretty sure it was what he preferred. At some point, I will share about that).

Now any rainy Saturday morning is, in a sense, a grief anniversary. A reminder.

In fact, any ordinary happening on any ordinary day often is as well. Every memory about my dad is a reminder.

Every reminder brings with it another visit to loss and pain.

But every reminder is also a visit to love. And love is always worth the pain that often comes with it.

This Father’s Day, I will remember my dad, but I do that every single day on the calendar. As others have said, grief is the calendar. You might think this is a very sad thing to say, and in a way, I suppose it is. But not to me. For me, this truth is lovely and comforting, because tremendous grief means there was also tremendous love.

If you are missing your father (or someone else) this Father’s Day, whether it’s your first Father’s Day without him or your umpteenth, please know you are not alone.

And perhaps more importantly, when you are missing your dear one on the Monday after, or on any ordinary moment on any day of the week for some mundane reason, you’re not alone then either. I hope knowing this helps you just a bit.

Grief is part of what unites us all. And love. Grief and love.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and all the men, dads or not, who love and nurture children.

Miss you, Dad.

Love you forever.

Tell me something about your dad.

What is one grief reminder (for any dear one you miss) for you?

Do you miss someone this Father’s Day and every day?

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Father's Day without your father

Around Father’s Day last year

Father's Day Without Your Father  #grief #loss #dads #fathersday #daughters #family


Wednesday 8th of November 2017

I lost my dad, a year and a half ago. It was (and still is) hard. I never met him. I am 18 now. He died when I turned 17. I felt abandoned, like, I was going to meet him when I turned 18. How could he do that? They said he drowned while he was drinking. But it wasn't suicide. I didn't know how to cope with it. Plus, on the day of his funeral after they found his body two weeks later, I met my brother (age:8) and my sister (age:15). It was so shocking to see that we all look like him. I didn't know how to deal with that either, so I turned to alcohol and drugs, I told myself that if I did that, I'd somehow feel closer to him like that, what I didn't realize was that I hurt everyone around me. With my smoking and drugs and alcohol. I saw my life cracking and falling down around me. So, I quit the drugs and alcohol, but not the smoking, I'm still working on that. So, next week, I am going to a Grief and Abandonment treatment centre to get some help. For myself and everyone around me.


Wednesday 8th of November 2017

Brittany, I am sorry you didn't get that chance to meet your dad. It will always be hard. It's like you lost him twice. By that I mean, you were so looking forward to meeting him when you turned 18, and then that was taken from you too. I am glad to hear you quit the drugs and alcohol. They likely only masked your pain for a bit. Good for you for taking those difficult steps to recover. Great idea to go to a grief and abandonment treatment center for help. That is a big step and I hope that experience offers you some helpful guidance and support. You've been through a lot. Take care of yourself and thank you for sharing.

Beth Gainer

Thursday 27th of July 2017

Hi Nancy,

I'm sorry I've been away from the blogosphere for such a long time. Anyway, the first place I went was to your blog. I'm so saddened by the loss of your father, and grief is, of course, normal. Grief and love: they are intertwined.

My dad is alive, but as you know, he has dementia and is in a home for dementia patients. He still knows who we are, but I've been grieving for a few years now because he is no longer the person who was my dad. I don't even know him anymore. My dad is a different sense.

Thank you for sharing your grief so openly, with all its rawness, with us.

xo Beth


Friday 28th of July 2017

Beth, I am sorry your dad has dementia. That's such a cruel condition and a tough situation for your family. It's very sad to watch someone you love decline, no matter what the cause. Thank you for your kind words about my dad and about coming to my blog first following your absence. We've missed you. Glad you're back. Thank you for your continuing support, my friend. xo


Friday 7th of July 2017

My dad has terminal cancer.. his health has really deteriorated recently and his treatment hasn't been working since the birth of my son in January. Sometimes I wonder if he was fighting it so that he could meet his grandson and be there for me when the little man was born and now perhaps a part of him is surrendering to the terrible disease. He gets his most recent scan results on weds..I fear that it may have spread again. Nancy your post about grieving a parent has really resonated with me because I am finding that it's easy to fall in to the thought pattern that because there's warning, because this person is fading before your eyes then maybe it'll be easier when they finally go. It won't be and hear another say that is comforting. I'm dreading the firsts..the first Christmas, the first birthday, the first Father's Day but yes as many of you have said every day will be hard.i'm glad that he has got to meet his grandson. Thank you to people like you Nancy who take the time to put together something like this that reminds people that they're not alone


Saturday 17th of June 2017

Lost my mom in 90 and dad in 95. No holiday or big life event is ever the same. Thinking of you and hoping you will rely upon happy memories to comfort you. ❤️


Sunday 18th of June 2017

Teresa, You are so right, but for me, it's the ordinary days, moments and reminders that are hardest. Thank you for your kind words. It does help knowing others understand.


Saturday 17th of June 2017

My father died in January 1991, so it's been a long time. After many years, I adapted and came to a place of acceptance, but the love never dies. My memory of his funeral was of snow falling on his casket as it was lowered into the ground (in Philly). I could never rid my mind of that memory, but fortunately there isn't snow where I've lived in CA and now HI so that memory doesn't get triggered.

Nancy, thank you for giving me a chance to write about my dad. I still love him like it was yesterday. I'm sorry for your loss. I know how hard Father's Day can be. Peace and love to you.


Sunday 18th of June 2017

Eileen, Thank you for sharing about your father. That is a rather haunting memory, but it's also beautiful in some ways. We'll both be missing our dads this Father's Day and every day. Peace and love to you as well.

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