“When Dad was alive Father’s Day was always significant, but I don’t have specific memories of celebrating it with him. If anything I have stronger memories of him linked with Mother’s Day, as it would be special for us to go shopping on our own, to buy Mum gifts. Every year Dad would take me to a garden centre to pot up a flower basket.”
Hannah Romaine, 18, was nine-years-old when her dad, Stephen, died. She and younger brother Thomas were supported by Jigsaw (South East) bereavement charity. Hannah is one of our Young Ambassadors. She shares what Father’s Day means to her.
“After Dad’s death, on Father’s Day only, my Mum gave up seeing my Grandad, with whom I was very close, as she thought it would help to make the day that little bit easier for myself and my brother Thomas. I didn’t realise this until I was talking to Mum about writing this piece. I felt bad but she said, “It’s just part of being a Mum.”
“My Grandad passed away the week before Father’s Day, and I remember telling Mum that she would be okay and that we would get through it, because Thomas and I had managed to, after Dad died.
“I used to find myself getting angry about Father’s Day, as I didn’t have a dad to celebrate with. However, as I have grown up, I recognise the significance Father’s Day has for others. Some people come from backgrounds with both a mum and a dad, so they celebrate both days. Others celebrate just the one day. Where I find Father’s Day difficult, for others this is a day to recognise all the amazing dads who are still out there, some of whom may be single parents themselves.
“Mum now has a new partner, James, who we show appreciation to on the ‘specific date’ but we do not recognise it as Father’s Day at all. We like to acknowledge and give thanks for everything James does for Thomas and I, so we’ve renamed it ‘Jamesy Day.’
“I think it’s lovely that we have days when we celebrate all the amazing things our parents do for us, but why don’t we have one Parents’ Day where we show our appreciation for all mums, dads, carers and guardians together, rather than across multiple days?”
Childhood Bereavement UK have made a film about how to manage special occasions when someone has died. You can view it here.
Based at East Court Mansion in East Grinstead since 2012, Jigsaw (South East) offers support to children and young people who have a family member with a serious, life-limiting condition. It also provides grief support to children and young people who have experienced the death of a significant family member through illness, accident, suicide or murder (through groups in Reigate, Guildford and East Grinstead).