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How to Celebrate Father's Day When Your Dad Has Passed Away

Updated on June 13, 2014

Father's Day Without a Father

It's hard to not feel sad when your Dad has passed away and Father's Day comes around. However, there are things you can do to turn around the day and make it brighter for you by celebrating his life.

I've lost my Dad, so I know what it feels like. I also know there are ways to feel better and learn to rejoice and honor the memory of your Dad. I would like to help you to do that.

Now ask yourself, what do you think your Dad would wish for you to do? Most likely, he would rather see you be happy on his special day.

Dove image by oddsock at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Father's Day for Deceased Dad

Heart Light
Heart Light

It's hard for anyone to lose their Dad. What made it even harder for me is that I lost him less than a year after I lost my Mother. Combine that with being single, having no kids and being an only child, I really felt alone in the world.

Then, I started to think about how my Dad lived his life. He was pretty low key and not very emotional. He had a real love for life. I knew in my heart that he wouldn't want to see me in tears, but rather remember him for all of the things that he loved. This was a turning point for me.

I decided instead to try to celebrate his life and the things that meant so much to him. This made it so much easier.

Heart image by CatNguyrn at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Father's Day Dad Passed Away

Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth

What were your Dad's favorite things to do? Perhaps you do one of them in his honor? My Dad loved the Mexican culture and always listened to the Hispanic radio station and watched the Hispanic TV shows. For me, listening to this kind of music brings back fond memories. If your Dad had a favorite type of music, how about listening to some of it?

A lot of dads love sports. If your Father had a favorite, how about playing it or perhaps watching it on TV? Did he enjoy being outdoors? If so, why not spend some time outside doing something that he liked to do? Perhaps playing some ball or going on a bike ride?

Lots of fathers like to barbecue. If your Dad was liked to do this, how about planning a family barbecue. Not only would you have people around who knew your Dad, you could comfort each other and hopefully share some happy memories of him.

Image by Ian Sane at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Memorial Picture Frame

Memories of Dad Matte Frame
Memories of Dad Matte Frame

Here's a sentimental and beautiful way to remember Dad.


Dance With My Father - Celine Dion

If you feel like you need a good cry before you can move on, "Dance With My Father" is sure to bring on the tears. The lyrics are so emotional and beautifully written.

I've included two different versions. Females will probably relate more to Celine Dion's version, while males will most likely connect more with Luther Vandross's version. In either case, get some tissues ready as it's a real tear jerker.

Luther Vandross

Remembering Dad

Dad Quote
Dad Quote

Try to remember some funny stories about your Dad. These can really help to bring a smile to your face. Here's one of mine.

My Dad was bald. My Mom decided that he should get a wig. Imagine the horror I felt when as a teenager, out in a public place with a bunch of friends, when my Dad suddenly showed up with a full head of hair!

I was so embarrassed at the time, but now when I think back on it, it makes me crack up. You must have some funny memories of your own. Try to think of us many as you can to make the day brighter for you.

Image by Celestine Chua at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Father's Day Quote for Deceased Dads

Perhaps an inspirational quote might make you feel better. Here is one that I particularly love. It offers hope. I find a special meaning in this as I believe our souls live on after death and I still think my Dad watches out over me. Do you ever think you feel your Dad's presence? If so, you are not alone.

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."

— Thomas Campbell

Has your Dad passed away?

Has your Dad passed away?

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Father's Day Memorial

I don't know about you, but my Dad was always the one who worked on the yard. If you have a yard or garden, you might be interested in adding this in memory of your Father.

Remembering Your Father

Lion Dad
Lion Dad

Sometimes people live with regrets for not telling a loved one something before they passed away. If this is the case with your Dad, Father's Day is the perfect day to speak out loud and tell your Dad whatever it is you wished you would have told him while he was still alive.

Whether you believe he can hear you or not, it's almost like a form of therapy to get the words out of your mouth and system. Yes, it will probably bring some tears, but mostly you'll feel better afterwards as you were at least able to speak the words. I still talk to my Dad every Father's Day and always wish him a happy day.

It's been many years since my Father passed away and the pain does get easier. In fact, these days Father's Day is more about celebrating it with my kids for their Dad.

It doesn't mean I don't still miss my Dad. In fact, my eyes have teared several times while writing this. However, I have followed my own advice and each time this happened, I would just recall another good memory of my Dad and that would put a smile back on my face.

Lions image by Tambaco the Jaguar at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Father's Day Poems For Deceased Dads

Sometimes poems can express the words we can't seem to find. If you would like to offer a poem for your Dad, I have some listed below you might enjoy. Just click on the link to be taken to the different poems.

Happy Father's Day to My Late Father

Swan Heart
Swan Heart

It's easy to want to mourn the passing of your Dad on Father's Day. After all, it's hard to let go of one of the most important people in your life. If you need to cry, go ahead and do it, then please try to turn things around and celebrate his life.

Don't forget to remember some of the fun things you and your Dad used to do together along with the funny stories. As parents, we want to see our children happy. I'm sure your Dad would much rather see you smiling than crying. It's also a way to keep his memory alive through the good times the two of you shared together.

Image by mozzercork at Flikr through Creative Commons licensing.

What's a special memory you have of your Dad? Please feel free to answer even if your Dad hasn't passed.

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    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      This article got me thinking. I never really knew my dad - he was hardly in my life at all, and I rarely think about him. But maybe I should. Should I find a way to celebrate the father who wasn't there? I don't know, but as I said, you got me thinking.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      @georgepmoola2: I really appreciate you telling me this. I know what a sensitive subject it is.

    • georgepmoola2 profile image

      georgepmoola2 3 years ago

      A difficult subject which you have dealt with very sensitively.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      @asereht1970: I know how hard that can be. Sending you some hugs. I hope when you think of him you are having happy memories.

    • asereht1970 profile image

      asereht1970 3 years ago

      Just reading your lens makes me teary-eyed. It's been more than 7 years since my Dad has passed away and yet, not a single day passes that I don't think of him. It still hurts especially when we all get together and he's not there.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      @takkhisa: Love you little brother. (For anyone who read this about me being an only child, takkhis is my adopted little brother I met as an adult.)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      @Kim Milai: Thank you for stopping by.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 3 years ago

      You can create new ideas and this is the real example of it! I loved the way you have expressed this lens. Well done my big sister.

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      Beautifully written article. Thank you for your thoughts and ideas.