Saturday, June 20, 2015

Father's Day Without A Father

           This Sunday is Father’s Day. Most people will celebrate their dads, give them signs of affection, gift a golf lesson or new tool, take them out to dinner, and find ways to show their dad- I am grateful for you. If you have this in your life, enjoy every single minute on Sunday. Relish and delight in the time you have with your father.
           There are others on this day, who will wake up with anxiety, hide in their covers under the roof of their houses, try not to move, and try to run away from the pain. You see, for those who do not have a father to celebrate, this day is a painful reminder of the struggle of being without. 
           In the psychology world, we tend to tell our patients to pay attention to behaviors and thoughts during holidays because people get easily triggered by the loss of their loved one, whether it be the birthday, death anniversary, wedding day, national holiday, graduation day, etc, etc, etc. Do you see? This is a constant hamster wheel. The year is jam packed of holidays to run from. Most people who have lost someone move through the motions of the first year of their loss. Thoughts tell them, “if I can just get to the next place, if I can just make it past my dad’s birthday, father’s day, my graduation…” But what happens on this hamster wheel is the reality that you exhaust without ever being able to get off.
           When loss and grief set in, the five stages of grief- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are used as tools by a person to cope, they are processed, they are moved through, but they do not bring an end. That is the most difficult thing about loss and grief- there is no end. 
           There is a new change, a new direction, a new normal. But sometimes, as you finally start to feel like you are moving into a new normal that you can function in with your loss, a new trigger pops up. The pain of the loss of your dad tumbles straight forward, directly back in your direction. And you find yourself back in the memories of the day you got the phone call, the moment your mom showed up at work to tell you that he was no longer around, the time in your life when everything stopped, and you no longer had him. It was gone, all of it. That is what these type of holidays can do to you. They have the capacity to knock the wind out of you, and leave you running back to your hiding spot from the world.
           For those of you wanting to hide under your covers tomorrow- you are not alone. Your pain is real, it is true, but it does not have to define you. It does not have to be who you are. You are more than the pain you keep. And your dad is proud of you, wherever he is, for becoming the person you’ve become. I am thinking of all of you, those with and those without, on this holiday in which we celebrate by saying, “Happy Father’s Day.” 
           Sometimes refusing happy is exactly where you need to be. You are in my thoughts. And you are not alone.

Shine On,

Dr. Kate

If you are interested in connecting with Dr. Kate to learn more about being a patient in my private practice, please contact me,
Information from this blog post is meant to improve your education and understanding, this is not treatment or clinical work.

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