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Father’s Day Musings: Thoughts On Remembering Dads Gone Too Soon and One Exceptional Idea for Celebrating Fathers Still With Us

This post was created in partnership with NFDA.

Ten years ago on The Huffington Post, I shared the eulogy I gave at my father’s funeral. The speech was unusual – a Top 10 List of our most unusual father-daughter relationship quirks. I was moved to share my reflections because I hoped they’d stir future conversations with my children. When my dad died, just three days after September 11, my son was 18-months-old. My daughter wasn’t born.

In my book, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, I reveal 85 ideas for remembering and celebrating the family and friends we never want to forget. Writing stories down (and making sure to share them, too) is just one powerful tool. My son and daughter, now teenagers, have read my reflections and have a better sense of their grandfather as a result. Other strategies include Building a Refuge and Turning My Father’s Ties Into a Quilt.

With Father’s Day upon us, here are a few more creative and uplifting opportunities for remembering and honoring our dads.

1. Use the day to celebrate your father’s memory. Rejoice in what your dad still means to you. Prepare his favorite meal. Enjoy his favorite dessert. For me, this involves making a grocery run to buy lemon ice cream. My father loved lemon ice cream, lemon ices, lemon meringue pie – anything lemon! The smell and taste of lemon make me smile. They make my dad feel especially close.



2. Listen to music your father enjoyed. Every time I hear The Hustle, I’m immediately transported to a wonderful and warm memory from my wedding. My dad was a great dancer (think a wannabe John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever), so he chose that famous 1970s tune for our father/daughter dance. Consider putting together a playlist of your father’s favorite music to spark joyful memories.



3. Remember your dad through his handwriting. Emily Jane Designs is an innovative jewelry company that takes your father’s handwritten words and engraves them onto bracelets, necklaces, and cufflinks. Custom pieces are wonderful conversation starters, especially useful (and sentimental) on Father’s day.



A final important musing as I end today’s post:

If your father, grandfather, or father-in-law is still alive, I urge you to use this Sunday for a singular purpose: have what the National Funeral Directors Association and the Funeral and Memorial Information Council call, The Talk of a Lifetime. The NFDA created the Have the Talk of a Lifetime Conversation Cards, each card printed with a different question, to get meaningful conversations going. Topics are silly and serious, prompting short answers or longer responses. Questions like: If you could have only five possessions, what would they be? What was your first job? What does your perfect day look like?

Too many of us think we’ll remember all our dad’s funny reflections, or we’ll have ample time to listen to stories he’s yet to pass along. Make this Sunday count. Take advantage of Father’s Day to celebrate dads gone too soon. And use the moment to strengthen the connections you’re fortunate to still have.

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