Father's Day can come with many emotions. Most celebrate their fathers by expressing sincere gratitude and creating heartfelt gifts. But there are some who consider the holiday a painful reminder of a damaged relationship or a heartbreaking loss. A storm cloud of grief, anger, or sadness can arrive and hover this time each year. You may not know how to face another Father's Day without wearing a mask of positivity or isolating yourself from the celebration.

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So here are four ways to help prepare for a fatherless Father's Day:

1. Give yourself permission to feel and grieve.

Don't force yourself to be a pillar of strength. Ignoring such strong emotions does nothing but give you more to deal with later. Give yourself permission to release negativity and make space for positive reflection or needed healing.

2. Write an open letter to your father.

Maybe your father passed away before you were able to receive closure or say goodbye. There could still be things left unsaid. Or maybe you have been hurt and need a safe way to confront your father. No matter your circumstance, an open letter is a great way to overcome emotions that hold you captive. Heartfelt words can set you free and can be a positive way to celebrate an otherwise difficult holiday.

3. Take care of yourself.

Whether it's honoring your father's memory or honoring yourself because of unpleasant memories, choose an activity that will give you the self-love you need. Look through old photographs, watch home movies, or read the birthday cards he wrote you over the years. If positive memories don't exist, make some of your own! What is it that makes you happy? Make it a Father's Day tradition to do something you look forward to each year.

4. Reach out to someone who understands.

Although it can feel isolating when everyone around you has something to celebrate, many are just like you. Reach out to someone who understands and make plans. Let him/her know you are choosing to approach Father's Day differently this year! You can share stories, support one another through the grieving process, or just be present so you're not alone.

Make an intentional decision to prepare yourself for a more positive Father's Day experience.

You deserve it.


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