Milestones after trauma and loss can trigger emotional healing even when it doesn’t feel that way. Emotional releases present themselves in so many different ways and the ability to receive the “energy of release” is a process and understanding.
Father’s Day was founded on June 19, 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd’s father was a single parent who raised his six children in Spokane, Washington. Dodd held the first Father’s Day in his honor and for that of fathers and fatherhood at the local YMCA and commemorated that the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.
Just like Mother’s Day holding the possibility of triggering emotions of loss, grief and anger after divorce, Father’s Day can bring up similar emotional intensity too.
Here’s some insights and tips for approaching Father’s Day after loss, trauma and separations.
Grief is a strong important emotion.
What I learned about grief is that there is an energy of release that happens and that energy of release is what we over-judge in ourselves.
Echert Tolle shared a story where the main person uses this line of non judgement “Is that so?”
When the deep seated grief emotions rise up for healing, because that is what’s happening, you are healing the loss of a loved one. Remember to question “Is that so?” and ask it in loving self kindness.
First Father’s Day after divorce
So it’s the first Father’s Day after your divorce. Maybe it was a vanilla “you’ll take this and I’ll take that” kind of divorce, and the divorce agreement was tied up with a nice pink bow. Or perhaps it was high conflict and the turmoil didn’t end when the ink of your signature of the divorce agreement dried.
Either way, both parents need to put on their big boy or big girl panties and do what’s right for their children.
Gift or don’t gift?
Last month I wrote about how I was unaware of the hidden stress that my children had around the first Mother’s Day after their parents were divorced because my daughter was concerned about who would take them to get me a gift.
Seven years ago, for the first Father’s day after our divorce, I purchased my ex a gift and got it ready for them to take with them for their time to their dad.
The intensity of the turmoil didn’t diminish for our children after the divorce. I would purchase my ex’s favorite candy bar and some other little things that he liked and have these gift ready for the children to bring along with their visit.
I purchased a gift card from Dunkin Donuts put the gift card into the cup and encouraged them to make a card.
The first can be a challenge for all.
Our first is in the rearview mirror and when I inquired my children as to what they remembered about their first Father’s Day after the divorce it was their uncertainty.
Another person in the mix
My ex had moved on pretty rapidly and with the OW in the picture, back then it was a challenge for my children.
Without notice, our children went to their father’s home for Father’s Day and the OW had purchased a boat for their dad and indicated their plans were to take their new boat to an island for a picnic and there wasn’t room for our son. I was surprised when our son appeared home with the intended gift for their father in the car.
The new normal of another person celebrating Mother’s Day or Father’s Day with your ex should be discussed and agreed upon prior to the day.
Counseling or a third-party safe space
Children need a safe space to share feelings about their current life situation. They need someone other than their mother or father to talk to. For example, a private counselor, school counselor or peer support group.
I booked counseling sessions with their own respective counselors to discuss yet again another rapid new normal for them.
The big takeaway about a change in family dynamics is healthy awareness of what the children’s needs are and what is in their best interest.
What the relationship has been in the past and what is the new normal for going forward.
Sidebar: I realize that when you’re discussing personality traits or types that are without empathy the philosophy of what is in the best interest of the child might not be a shared belief or it might be polar opposites.
Keeping consistent and reassuring children that they are heard and validated, even if the other person’s action are in violation of their clearly stated boundaries, does MATTER. Stay grounded and be that safe haven for your children.