Another Father’s Day is coming without my dad. My third one since he went home to Jesus. I still think of him so much every day. I’m not as emotional as I was the first year, but memories tap my heart daily. And I still wish I could call and talk to him or get his advice about things. And I still would so love to press my face to his chest and feel Dad’s arms around me in a big hug.
Three years ago I made a plan to survive my first Father’s Day without Dad. I’m tweaking it a little to fit my life this year and sharing it in hopes it will help others.
I know some of you struggle with Father’s Day for other reasons, like you had an absent, neglectful or even abusive father. My heart goes out to you if this is your situation. Maybe you need to make your own plan to survive the day. Maybe some of these ideas will still apply.
No matter what your Father’s Day weekend looks like, I hope it includes some kind of warm fellowship and some kind of cold ice cream!
Here are seven things I hope to do, to survive (and even maybe celebrate) Father’s Day without Dad…
1. I want to take some time to honor Dad’s memory. I want to share stories and remember him with others. I’ll likely shed some tears, but that’s ok. I’ll probably laugh, too. I’ve come to believe that grief is like that. It’s a mixture of laughter and tears. They both reflect the beauty of blessings gone, but never totally lost. Of a love that lingers and doesn’t let go. And that love echoes on in our lives through heartache and smiles and stories and whispers of the past.
2. I plan to watch our church service, even though they will probably talk about dads there. (I have health problems that are still keeping me from physically being there, but I’m thankful the service is online and hope to return to in-person worship soon.) Dads should be talked about. Their role is essential and important and invaluable and it needs to be held in high esteem. And dads need to be encouraged and praised and taught and trained by our churches.
It might choke us fatherless ones up, but it’s worth it. The children of our world need quality fathers. Too many of them have neglectful and even abusive ones. And if I need to wipe away some tears while dads are built up and blessed and challenged to grow and improve then it’s a small sacrifice for our mutual future.
3. I hope I will be strong enough that day to do something to bless the father of my children. My husband is an outstanding dad and I’m forever grateful for him.
4. And I’d like to encourage three of my sons who are young fathers now. I love seeing them love their children! They are blessed to have the legacy and example of a faithful, loving dad themselves. And of their grandfathers before him.
5. At some point during the day, I will either have to make homemade ice cream or make a dash for the Dairy Queen. My daddy was an ice cream guy. It just feels like the right thing to do.
6. I hope to also take a drive out in the country and roll down the windows. I could smell the dirt and sing “You Are My Sunshine” and “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “Amazing Grace”. It’s been years since Dad’s eyes were clear enough for him to drive, or even to enjoy things when he was driven, but he used to revel in the beauty of nature and a country drive.
And while I’m doing that, I can remember the words of one of Dad’s favorite hymns. “…was blind, but now I see…” And I can picture him walking, hand in hand with Mom, enjoying a paradise too beautiful for me to imagine! How he must be marveling over it!
7. I can take time to thank Jesus for dying on the cross and taking the punishment for our sins so that all who believe in Him can be saved now and for eternity. And I can be grateful that Mom and Dad did both believe in Him and are enjoying His presence now!
This Father’s Day will have it’s challenges and tears. But God will give grace for this, too. With His help I will survive. And I will be grateful I had a daddy that loved me so well. And I will be extra grateful that I will have an eternity with him and Jesus!
Well, that’s my plan. What’s yours? Do you still have a Dad on this earth to love and treasure? Or one you need to forgive or make amends with? Or are you “fatherless” this year, too?
All who belong to Jesus have the comfort of a Heavenly Father who is perfect and always loving. How incredible is that?!
“See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children — and we are!”
I John 3:1a (CSB)