Father’s Day on Sunday 21 June is a lovely celebration of what fathers give, but can also cause a tidal wave of grief for those who have lost their own father figure or for fathers who have lost a baby or child.

Whether the death was recent or many years ago, the run-up to Father’s Day, and the day itself, can be tough when many others will be celebrating.

Bereavement counsellors from leading Derbyshire hospice, Treetops Hospice Care, have shared advice and guidance on how people and their loved ones can cope with the loss of a dad, or a child:

Acknowledge the day and its impact on you

  • It is likely to be a more challenging day than normal. Some people may want to be on their own being quiet and reflective.  Others may want company and to share memories.  It’s really important to do what feels right for you.

Be kind to yourself

  • Give yourself permission to put yourself first. Do something that you enjoy and remember it is ok to feel happy.  That could mean getting outside to garden, walk, or cycle.   Alternatively, you may prefer to stay in listening to music, reading or having a nice meal and a hot bath.

Remember the person who has died

  • There are many ways to remember your loved one. You could light a candle, plant something in the garden, write your feelings down in a Father’s Day card, or do something you used to enjoy doing together.
  • If the pandemic makes this difficult, then online tributes can be a helpful way of reflecting on how much your loved one meant to you. Perhaps post a Facebook message, a photo on Instagram, or share a video with family and friends.

For children, the same guidance can apply but you can also involve them in discussions about any plans for the day and allow them to have different views and needs from you and from their siblings.

During the current Coronavirus pandemic, we know that bereavement is particularly difficult

Carol Stevenson, Treetops Therapeutic Services Manager and Head of Adult Services, explained why this year’s Father Day may be especially challenging:

“During the current Coronavirus pandemic, we know that bereavement is particularly difficult, whether this death resulted from the COVID-19 virus or not.

“Families may not have been able to be with their dying relative, or given them the funeral and farewell that they would have liked to.  This can have a significant impact on the grieving process and may cause additional distress and anxiety to those who are impacted.

“At Treetops, we appreciate that each person grieves differently.  Our trained counsellors continue to support children, young people and adults impacted by bereavement.

If you, or a loved one, would like to speak to one of counsellors, please call us

“Whilst we can’t hold counselling sessions in our rooms on the hospice site at present, we are still offering counselling via telephone and video calls.

“If you, or a loved one, would like to speak in confidence to one of counsellors, please call us on 0115 949 6944.”

Treetops provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions and their loved ones. Last year, the hospice provided over 4,000 bereavement sessions including over 1,000 sessions for children and families.

Treetops is doing all it can to continue to support those in most need during the current pandemic. However the charity predicts a huge loss in income in the coming months, due to the temporary closure of all their charity shops, and postponement or cancellation of many fundraising events.

The hospice launched an Emergency Appeal earlier this year.