It's become hard to escape Father’s Day, as the holiday, like Mother's Day, has taken on a commercial spin. You’ll find restaurants touting special menus, stores producing Father’s Day catalogs, and every type of greeting card you can imagine, for dad, grandfather, son, uncle, cousin, friend, or you name it.
So if you can’t escape it, how do you take the sting out of the first, or second or third for that matter, holiday that a friend or loved one experiences without their dad, son, daughter, or grandfather? That’s what a reader asked. He wanted to know, “What can I do for my colleague who is estranged from his wife and is spending his first Father’s Day without his 18-year-old son?”
It’s very thoughtful to think about a friend or loved one when they may no longer feel part of a holiday that everyone else seems to celebrate. There are thoughtful things you can offer and do, depending on your relationship.
You can write a note or send a card, letting them know that you’re thinking of them. You’ll find a wide range of printed greeting cards or you can buy a card without a printed message and write your own.
An invitation for coffee or a thoughtful gift that day from the local bakery or coffee shop may make them feel less alone. If you are close, you can invite them for a meal or a movie or suggest you rent a movie together.
Distractions that day may help, along with your companionship. But take your cues from your friend or loved one. If they want company, join them or have them join you. If they want to reflect and be alone, allow them their privacy. It’s kind and thoughtful to offer but don’t take offense if someone needs to reflect and process the day and their loss in their own way.
Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.
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