Posts by: bhepler

A day without Dad: Getting through grief on Father’s Day

Being fatherless at any time can be tough. But it’s interesting how a commercially-driven calendar event can hammer home feelings that may otherwise remain under the surface.

Greeting cards, TV ads and social media feeds tell us how we’re supposed to feel on Father’s Day. Happiness. Celebration. Togetherness. But if you’ve lost your father or you’re a father who’s lost a child, you might not be spending the day playing catch or wrapping up ties and socks. Instead, Father’s Day can be a harsh reminder of your grief.

When you’ve lost your father

As Father’s Day approaches, lots of people make plans to spend time with their father. Some families will meet up for a BBQ, others may decide to go camping and some will pay a visit to spend time with their dad. For those who are lucky enough to still have their fathers in their life, it can be a great day. But if your father has passed away, the day can be really hard.

Father’s Day can bring up a lot of feelings. Whether you’re young or old, single or married, a parent or not, losing your father is one of the most emotional experiences you’ll ever go through. Or you may have lost your father-in-law, grandfather or other father figure in your life.

If you’re struggling with grief this Father’s Day, know that you’re not alone. Here are some things you can do to help make coping with the day a little easier.

  • Compile your memories. What are your first memories of your father? What are you grateful for? Ask your family for their memories too. Write them down.
  • Take some quiet time. Carve out some time for peace and quiet. Don’t force your thoughts or emotions. Just observe them, letting them come and go as they will. Let yourself enjoy a moment of peace.
  • Write a letter. Take the time to write some words to your father. Think about a favourite time. Recall an important life lesson he left you with. Pour out your feelings on paper or in front of the computer and be honest about everything you’re feeling.
  • Pay tribute. Do an activity your dad loved. Eat his favourite meal. Visit that special place you used to go to together. Remembering times spent together can help you cope with the day.
  • Make plans. Try planning an activity or schedule some quality time with family and friends. Staying busy can help you make it through the day.
  • Ask for help. If you start to feel overwhelmed by sadness and grief, reach out to a family member, friend or counsellor. Help and support can make all the difference.

When you’ve lost a child

Losing a child is one of the most devastating types of losses anyone can experience. No parent expects to outlive their children. It feels unnatural and wrong. Grieving the loss of a child is an experience that colours the rest of a parent’s life. You can’t escape it and on days like Father’s Day, the grief may seem too much to handle. Time won’t heal the hurt, but it will become more bearable.

For a father, facing Father’s Day after the loss of a child can be extremely upsetting. This is especially true when the loss is new, but the pain of the day may continue year after year. If you’re grieving the loss of your child, here are some tips to help you get through the day.

  • Spend time with your kids. If you have other children, spend the day with them. It may hurt to be with them and without the child you have lost, but finding joy in the children still with you is a powerful way to cope with those negative emotions of loss.
  • Surround yourself with loved ones. You may want to hide away and be alone, but resist the urge. Spending time with people who care about you will be more helpful.
  • Keep busy. Living in a state of distraction from your grief is not necessarily healthy, but on difficult days like Father’s Day it can help.
  • Remember you’re still a father. Just because you’ve lost a child doesn’t mean that you’re not still a father to them. Never forget that. You are your child’s father forever.

When kids lose their dad

Father’s Day is often a challenging time for children who have suffered a loss in their life. If you’re supporting a child who has lost their father, grandfather or a father figure, use Father’s Day to help them learn more about who the person was in life.

  • Talk about their Dad. Father’s Day is a great time to talk about the person they’ve lost. Share happy thoughts. Discuss good times. It will help ensure their father remains a real presence in their lives.
  • Listen and validate. It’s important for children to learn how to express grief and adults need to validate their feelings. Help them communicate their feelings and remind them it’s OK to feel sad, mad, afraid, confused or lonely. And help them realise that it’s because of great love that we grieve in the first place.
  • Make a memory box. Put keepsakes and other special items into a box. Tangible, visible items can help children feel connected to the person who has gone. It can be pulled out and cherished year round on birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions.
  • Create a scrapbook or photo album. Young children may not have a large bank of memories of their dad. Family photos and keepsakes can help them remember and reflect on the good times. Having a scrapbook or photo album in memory of their father is a great way to keep memories alive.
  • Build a memorial website. If you’re feeling high tech, you can build a website with pictures, stories, videos and other memories. Depending on your age and the age of your children, they may be 100% better at the project than you!

Supporting others through the day

While you may not have experienced the loss of your father, some of your friends may have. There are lots of things you can do to reach out and make their day a little brighter. Here are some ideas.

  • Send a card or make a call. It’s a small gesture that means so much. All you need to do is remind them that you’re thinking of them.
  • Be a source of comfort. Be there to listen to them and provide support.
  • Avoid platitudes. Don’t try to rush your friend through the process of grief. This only invalidates what they’re feeling. Be patient.
  • Be mindful of their feelings. If they don’t feel up to visitors, you should understand and respect that. Offer them a rain check.

Treasure good memories

Fathers play an irreplaceable role in life. If you had a good dad, then Father’s Day can be sorrowful and maybe even bittersweet as you remember good times. If you had a more difficult relationship, the day can bring up feelings of loneliness and sadness. Or if you’re a father suffering the loss of a child, it can amplify those feelings of loss and bereavement.

Focus on what your father meant to you and what you learnt from him. What is your father’s legacy? Why was he important to you? And remember, Father’s Day is a special day for celebrating and remembering fathers, grandfathers and others, whether they’re living or not. Take advantage of the day.


Article From



Her partner drowned at 39. She learned that for the young and unmarried, death has no playbook.

By Megan Devine
August 7, 2018

My partner of five years drowned on a beautiful, ordinary summer day in 2009. Matt was strong, fit, healthy — and needed regular doses of the river and the woods to keep himself sane. We used to joke that he was half mountain goat, able to scale the face of waterfalls if need be.

On that day, the first sunny day after several weeks of rain, we went out to the Presumpscot River, our usual place. Matt went in for a swim while I stayed in the woods with our dog. When he called out for help, I turned to see him [Read More]

Make a Difference While you Shop

Christmas is just around the corner! Using Amazon Smile is an effortless way to donate to BTBF while you shop.

Amazon Smile contributes to Behind the Badge Foundation with every purchase so log onto Amazon Smile for all your back to school needs… and make a difference while you shop!

Local Walks & Hikes

As summer wraps up, it might be a good time to head outside and soak up some sunshine. Studies show that spending time in nature can reduce stress and be a comfort to those who are grieving.

Here is a list of some local walks and hikes. Pacific Northwest Trail Association has some great ideas. If you have a favorite spot, take a moment and share it on the private Facebook page so others can enjoy the treasure you discovered!

Purchase with Purpose

Amazon makes back to school shopping a breeze and using Amazon Smile is an effortless way to donate to BTBF while you shop.

Amazon Smile contributes to Behind the Badge Foundation with every purchase so log onto Amazon Smile for all your back to school needs… and make a difference while you shop!

Remembering Officer Diego Moreno

From the Kent Police Deparment:

The Memorial Service for Kent Police Department Officer Diego Moreno will be held on Tuesday, July 31st, at 1:00 p.m. at the Showare Arena, located at 625 W James Street in Kent.

If you wish to participate in the procession, the staging area is at Emerald Downs, located at 2300 Emerald Downs Drive (aka Ron Crockett Drive) in Auburn, WA.

The gates to Emerald Downs will open at 6:00 AM.  Plan to arrive before 10:00 AM if you will be attending.  For all outside agency vehicles, please look for the WSP Troopers and volunteers to assist you with parking.  An overhead map of Emerald Downs is being sent in a separate message to follow due to the size of the file.  The grandstand area restrooms will be available for use.

Marked and unmarked cars are welcome, but please use those with exempt plates only.  Please bring your police credentials in case there is any confusion with the unmarked vehicles.

The procession will begin at 11:00 AM. Once at the ShoWare site you will be directed on where to park.

We understand that people want to help in any way they can, in times like this.  We also realize that they may not have an idea on how they can help.  The Kent Police Department has set up two funds that can accept donations, which is a great way to help.  The first is through US Bank.  It is called the “Diego Moreno Memorial Fund” and donations can be made at any US Bank.  If there is any confusion when speaking to the bank, you can reference the Kent Police Foundation.  The donations to this fund go directly to the Moreno family.

Another way that people can help is to donate to the Kent Police Foundation.  This fund will help pay for funeral expenses first, with the remaining balance going back to the Moreno family.  Public funds cannot be used or gifted to pay for funeral costs, so this fund will assist in making the memorial possible.  Once the expenses are covered, the remaining donations will be given to the Moreno family for their expenses.

Officer Moreno was an avid patch collector, so the family would like to encourage attending officers to bring a patch if they like so that it may be added to the collection that will be passed to his son.  There will be a designated area as you walk into the ceremony where patches can be collected.

The Kent Police Department would like to thank all those that have sent kind words, prayers and assistance during this time.  Please join us in any way you can and celebrate an extraordinary person, Officer Diego Moreno.

Thank you for coming to honor Officer Moreno.

Support BtBF at

Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 13, and many of you are shopping for gifts for Mom. This is a great opportunity to support Behind the Badge Foundation and shop for mom.