When your Dad is coping with serious illness, Father’s Day can be an emotionally charged time. It can seem heartbreaking, because Father’s Day should be a time to celebrate Dad and all the things he loves: golfing, Monday night football, or maybe just a simple cookout with the family. But It’s hard to celebrate when you’re watching his decline or facing a serious medical condition. But, while you may not be able to celebrate like you used to, you certainly can still celebrate. Just change the focus, you can still find ways to make this a special day. These 7 tips to help celebrate Father’s Day when Dad is seriously ill can help you truly plan a special day.
The first step is to keep the day’s activities within Dad’s capabilities. After all, the goal is to keep the day feeling as normal as possible so Dad will be able to enjoy it, and reminders that things aren’t like they used to be won’t help. Remember, the most important thing is togetherness, and keeping the focus on enjoying being together instead of worrying so much about making it a perfect day.
7 Tips To Help Celebrate Father’s Day When Dad Is Seriously Ill
You can still celebrate Father’s Day this year. Here are a few thoughts on Celebrating Father’s Day when Dad is seriously ill:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Why not just ask Dad what he would like to do? He’s likely to tell you it’s about being together instead of what you do. Probe for favorite memories or remember some of his favorite activities. You can recreate favorite memories with photos or stories – and you can always incorporate some favorite activities refocused to be within his ability to enjoy them.
Accept Reality. Plan the activities around Dad’s current health condition. If He’s confined to a chair then going out to the movies probably isn’t a great idea. But consulting the ‘best picture’ winners by year and having an ‘Oscars’ movie night at home probably is. It’s also a good opportunity, remember tip one – ask questions. Was going to the ball game a family tradition? Outdoor projectors and screens are easy to get. Show the game outside, or stream a game he missed or a classic showdown. Just refocus what you know about him to celebrate in a different way. Create an easier version of the same interest.
Take Him Down Memory Lane. Gather photos and memorabilia to create a snapshot of the great times in his life. Help him focus on a life well-lived instead of the illness. Finding joy in all those great memories can help you both realize all he has gained in his life and what really matters – the love that filled his days.
Really Spend The Day Together. Don’t get so caught up in “what if” that you miss out on really being present for this special day. Dad is here now. Try and be in the present as much as possible. Don’t exhaust yourself in trying to make it a perfect day. The most important memory will be this time with him. Say those words we all should say, let him know what he means and will always mean to you. Make this day perfect by simply being together without worrying about tomorrow.
Capture History. So many times we wished we had learned more about our loved ones who passed. Even someone as close as our dads. Preserving your dad’s life history can help you better understand this man who has meant so much in your life. What better way to truly honor and celebrate him? It will be fun to learn things you never knew about him- his first crush, what he wanted to do when he grew up, what his childhood was like, who his heroes are, his proudest accomplishment, his first job, his nickname in school, places he has been to, stories about relatives you never met. This will let you learn interesting things about your dad’s life you may not have known before and give him joy in telling this story. It’s a way to pass on family stories and traditions, and preserve family history and cultural heritage.
Plan ahead. Don’t let, ‘had I only thought of that’ be the slogan of the day. New angles on old activities might take preparation. If you are going to a venue, go there yourself and make sure he’ll be able to handle the access. If you are going to a restaurant, make reservations so there won’t be a long wait for a table. Check it out in advance, make sure it’s easy to navigate in a wheelchair or with a walker. Your reconnaissance when you’re planning will help assure everything goes smoothly. And making things go smoothly is what will make Dad feel less held back by illness.
Be Prepared, Have a Backup Plan. If Dad doesn’t feel up for your special plans – that’s OK. Afterall, you have a backup plan… right? It will either be that, or ‘had I only thought of that.’ Don’t stress out, serious illness will present good days and bad days. Bring the celebration to him. Restaurants have take-out – concerts can turn into CDs or streaming, you can cook the same thing at his house as you can at your house. Remember, it’s not about what you do, but about enjoying time together. Don’t stress out because you get a curve ball, be flexible.
Celebrating Father’s Day when Dad is seriously ill can still make a memorable and perfect Father’s Day.
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