Coping with loss around Father’s Day

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A grief specialist from Emmanuel Hospice is offering tips for dealing with Father’s Day when struggling with the loss of a loved one.

Ashley Huisman, Bereavement Manager at Emmauel Hospice, says days that are typically reserved to celebrate family members, like Father’s Day, can become very trying times for those mourning the loss of a father or father figure.

She tells FOX 17, “Throughout the rest of the year, we can often avoid certain things or memories. But fathers day we get hit with it from everywhere.”

The most important thing, Huisman says, is to reach out to those that may be struggling.

“A lot of it is just being open and asking. Some people want to talk about it, some don’t. So start it off by asking ‘hey, I know this may be a difficult time for you. Do you feel like can we talk bout him? Or do you prefer we don’t?'” she said.

Everyone experiences grief a bit differently.  Huisman says it is important to understand that something that worked for one person, may not work for another.

“Rarely does one size fit all for grief. What worked for your friend or other family member, might not work for you … Coming into it, you might have one mindset that you want to spend the whole day thinking about your father and you’re going to do all the traditions you did with your father on that day, you’re going to do them again in honor of him. But you might find when the day comes, you don’t want to do that,” she said.

A common practice on Father’s Day is to post on social media.

Huisman says we should be considerate of those struggling when writing up posts:

“We love to say ‘hey, we love you and we thank you for all that you’ve done’. On the other hand, we can also in the same sentence say, and we also want to remember those that are hurting today because they don’t have their father around and lets remember how wonderful of people they were.”

Huisman says the most important thing is to be gentle and understanding with people.

“Try different things out. See what makes you feel good or what makes you feel better. And just remember that it can be hard but we can also find a lot of joy and memories in Father’s Day as well,” Huisman said.