The cruel truth is that anyone in the world will become a member of this “club” someday; and I have been a member for some days. This is a club you do not want to join. You never want to receive that phone call that tells you that you are finally a member, but, try as you may, it will come one day.
In this article, I want to talk about this inevitable time in our lives, and what I wanted to do before that day. One of the things you are most likely to experience when your dad is no more is regret. A tremendous amount of regret that you didn’t do enough for him, or you didn’t spend enough time with him.
To avoid those kinds of feelings, I will give you some insights on what you can do while he is still alive, and also how to deal with the grief when it finally comes.
In the Post
- Ten things to do for your father while he is still alive
- How can you deal with the great pain?
- Final thoughts
Ten things to do for your father while he is still alive
1. Call him often
Life sometimes can get so busy, that we do not have enough time to keep in touch with our loved ones. You may find yourself taking even a month to call your parents, or even longer.
Call your dad as often as you can while he is still alive. Keep a diary of when you need to call each week, and even put up a reminder so you are not to forget to do this.
It may also be a short conversation of 5 minutes or less, but trust me it will make a world of difference knowing that you called him to find out how he is doing.
2. Take him on holiday
Spend time with your dad. It may be just a weekend you take off from work and go home to be with him, or even invite him for a road trip and go on holiday with him if you have never done this before.
You will feel much better afterward that you took the time to appreciate him and show him how much you love him. Time spent with a loved one is so precious, and it creates memories for when they are no more.
When the time comes for you to join the “club,” you will have less regrets because you spent quality time together, and bonded with each other.
3. Buy him something he likes
You probably know that one thing your dad always wished he owned. It could be a pair of shoes, a classic car, a big screen TV, etc. Whatever it is, if you have the ability to do it, do it for him while he is still alive.
Most people tend to spend a whole lot of money when someone is no more, which is always wasted. I would rather spend money on dad while he is alive.
Most dads have a thing for classic cars; why not save some money and give it to him, you will probably inherit it when he is gone, so, take this remaining time to see that smile on his face and the look of pride.
4. Take him to his favorite ball game
Just like most dads, he has a team he supports; maybe it’s the San Diego Chargers, the Chicago Bulls, the Boston red sox, the Pittsburg Steelers or even the Celtics.
If he is always on the TV watching one game or the other, I think you should sacrifice some time and go watch one of those games live with him, if you have never done it before.
The beautiful thing in this is that it will create the kind of memories that you shall live with forever. That you one day went to the big game with your dad. It must also be one of those days your dad will probably never forget in this lifetime.
Creating these memories will go a long way in helping you cope with him not being there anymore.
5. Clear his mortgage
While this may not be for everyone, if you can do it, go ahead and make him happy. The reason why I have included it is because most parents spend their entire lives paying off the mortgage and they may die without ever clearing it.
If you do this for him, you will make him so proud and happy, that at least he did not die with his mortgage pending. Giving him the deed to the property and clearance papers from the bank will be one of the most significant highlights of his life.
I did this for my dad, and he has never been happier. What I did was taking over his mortgage, and as a result, I was able to clear his outstanding debts and make him debt free.
6. Hire a nurse for him
If he is ailing and cannot take care of himself, don’t allow him to continue living alone. Get him some much-needed help in the form of a nurse or home aide provider.
This will help prolong his life because even loneliness can be a cause for him to leave you sooner than he should.
Make sure he is well taken care of and that he is taking his medications on time and visiting the doctor when he is supposed to.
7. Move him in with you
Trust me; you will be glad you did this. If your dad probably lives alone and he is well advanced in age, living with him in his final days will go a long way in giving you peace once he is gone. You must never let him suffer by himself and yet he has family around.
If you feel that this is not something you can do, then find him a good retirement home where he can be able to interact with other people of his age. It will help in getting rid of his loneliness, and you never know, it may even prolong his life and put back your dreaded membership to the dead dads club.
8. Take him for dinner at his favorite restaurant
It could be his favorite restaurant or a hotel he has admired for long. Take him there and have dinner with him. You never know, it could be his last dinner, and you will be glad you did this.
It doesn’t matter how much it may cost you, do it for your precious daddy. There is no one like a parent, and this is the person who sacrificed everything for you to have a great future, so he deserves it. You will make more money later, for now, let him have one great meal before his time is up.
9. Name a grandchild after him
If you haven’t done this yet, and you are in a position to do it, then go ahead and name a grandchild after your dad. There is nothing as great as this. Most grandparents feel like they finally received what they have been waiting for all their lives when they see the next generation.
10. Make every day – Father's Day
What I mean by this is, you don’t have to wait for the actual Father’s Day to show your dad how special he is. If especially you know he is ailing, and these could be his last days, before you join the dreaded club, make him feel special.
It could be just ensuring he is okay, or telling him how much you love and appreciate him every day, but whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to give back to this great man, whom you owe everything to.
So, that is my list of 10 things you can do for and with your dad before you join the lifetime membership of dead dads club. There are many other things you can do with your precious daddy, so take time and dig deeper because you know him more than anyone else.
How can you deal with the great pain?
Losing a parent is such a great pain in our lives. I cannot even begin to imagine how you can be able to deal with something like that. But most people have gone through it, and they have been able to handle the pain.
Here are a few points you or someone you know can use to help you through this difficult thing called grief.
How does grief help you to heal?
You need first to understand that grief is not experienced in a straight line, but rather in circles. One minute you may feel better, and the next you are a complete mess. This is normal. You may speak to friends or a counselor who will make you feel better, but once you go home, you may become overwhelmed all over again.
It is important just to allow this process to take its course. Don’t try not to feel the loss; don’t try to hide your feelings. Grief can sometimes be compared to climbing a spiral staircase. Where it looks and feels like you are going around in circles, but you are making progress. Be patient with grief, and you shall make progress in the end.
If you are currently dealing with the loss of your dad, be strong. You will find a way through. As the adage says, time really does heal every wound. You may not want to hear that now, but take one day at a time. It will get better.
The 5 Stages of Grief
This is the other thing I want to talk about, what you are likely to experience as you go through your grieving period. The five stages of grief – Recovering from a tragedy doesn’t happen in a predictable or linear way, and you will have had your own reaction to the loss.
Having that said, there are some particular emotions that many people experience on their journey through grief and towards healing. We will now take a brief look at these to let you understand the full spectrum of emotions that you might be experiencing right now.
As a result, you will hopefully feel better about where you are, and accept the process as just that; a process.
You might experience all of these things, and you might not experience any, it’s a purely individual process, and you will still heal in the end.
Of course, emotions are also messy things with plenty of overlap, so you can’t ever properly fit them into convenient little packages, but this framework does help us to understand the forms that grief can take.
This is the first stage. It concerns your shock response and the numbness you might experience as a result of the tragedy. Perhaps you may deny your feelings or even isolate yourself from loved ones to try to cope. Maybe you just can’t believe that it has happened at all.
There is so much to feel angry about when it comes to tragedy. Why me? How dare he leave me like this? Why couldn’t something have been done? Why did he have to die? And so on.
When you suffer a tragedy, you’ll feel like you might be able to try a little bit harder and make the world adhere to your begging and pleading.
This is a time of ‘what ifs’ and ‘If only I…’ and you find yourself trying to bargain with the world or with your god to just repair the damage and let life go back to the way it used to be, before this pain.
At some point, your sadness and internal pain can overwhelm you, and you plunge headfirst into a deep depression. Your situation feels hopeless, and you simply cannot imagine how the world could possibly ever feel okay again.
You might struggle to get out of bed, struggle to face the world, struggle to live your life. This stage can often reappear at a later date, long after you think you’ve survived your suffering and emerged battered and bruised out of the other side.
The final stage is acceptance. Accept that your life has changed forever, that your daddy won’t be coming back, and that life will never return to how it was before.
It’s not about ‘getting over it.’ I don’t think you ever really can get over a tragedy, not really. But little by little, you learn to accept the thing and move forward with your life.
The worst thing in this life is regret. I don’t want to be regretful, and I know you don’t want to be either. To avoid this terrible feeling once your dad is no more, try to spend as much quality time with him as you can. It will go a long way in easing this burden of regret.
Create as many memories with your old man as you can.
Now, if you have lost your dad already, and have joined the “club” like me, here is what I can say:
The road to recovering from tragedy is long and arduous. But it can be done. Remember, you are not alone, and one day in the future you will understand how far you have come on your journey, even if you never completely recover.
Even though it has already happened, do not lose hope, things will get better, and soon, you shall look back and remember all the great times you shared with your dad. You will be filled with memories.