Managing grief on Father’s Day

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Many people spent Sunday celebrating their father, but Father’s Day is not necessarily a happy time for everyone.

For many people who have lost a loved one, the holiday serves as a reminder of a void in their lives.

“It varies person by person,” said Ashley Huisman, a bereavement manager at Emmanuel Hospice in northwest Grand Rapids. “Some people really want to avoid it and that’s OK. You can avoid the day and you don’t have to feel like you have to participate in it. Others feel left out if they don’t get to.”

She said some people find it comforting to discover a way to honor their lost loved one.

It can also be healing, Huisman explained, to celebrate other fathers in a person’s life if they have lost their own.

“There’s no perfect way to say, ‘My father is not here,’ ‘he passed away,’ ‘he died,'” Huisman said. “No, there’s no non-awkward way of saying it other than understanding that maybe anger isn’t the best. So maybe not being angry in your response, just saying, ‘Hey, my dad passed away however long ago. I appreciate you asking and this is our plans for Father’s Day.'”

Father’s Day may also be difficult after losing a child. Emmanuel Hospice offers free grief support services.

Here’s more from 24 Hour News 8’s Marvis Herring’s conversation with Huisman:

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