Celebrating Father’s Day with Your Dying Father

For family members whose fathers are in hospice care, dealing with a terminal illness, Father’s Day can be a painful occasion.

Last month, family members of mothers who are receiving hospice care and facing death may have had difficulties experiencing Mother’s Day.

As with Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays that are major milestones in our lives, these “special” days can have extraordinary meaning. When we think that next year on Father’s Day, our father may not be with us, it can be overwhelming.

Hope Hospice chaplain John Wilson agrees that, for some, the prospect of a loved one’s yet-to-come passing may be as hard to face as the grief that follows death.  For a caregiver and other family members, anticipating what lies ahead can be stressful.

To those individuals who may be thinking, “this will probably be dad’s last Christmas (or Father’s Day),” Wilson urges family members to “enjoy these moments and involve and engage that person as much as possible.”

Spending time with your father is something a loving son or daughter should do when dad is in good health. Sometimes work and other priorities prevent our being able to be with him. But as death approaches, the effort must be made to spend time with one’s father as often as possible—even if he is hundreds of miles away.

Try not to avoid that Father’s Day visit, even if you fear it may be too much to bear. It’s okay to be sad and even to shed a tear. But while you dad is still around, your Father’s Day visit is one to be savored and remembered. If you think it will cause sorrow, consider the disappointment if you choose not to visit.

If you have concerns about visiting a dying father on Father’s Day or about the approaching death of a family member, call chaplain John Wilson at Hope Hospice at 314-984-9800.







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