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When Father's Day Is No Longer Happy...

by Henry-Cameron Allen

LTC Founder, Papa Peregrine

Father's Day is a day meant to celebrate fatherhood. For some of us, it can be a day of grief and remembrance. If you are a Peregrine, a term for a parent who lost a child, Father's Day can be a minefield of triggers, and extremely tough to navigate.

On such trigger days, we Peregrines experience a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness. We may also be feeling a sense of loss, emptiness and, the worst feeling for me... helplessness.

It is important to allow ourselves to feel these emotions, and to have expectations of those around us at home, work, and in our social circles, to allow us the space to do what we must to endure these trigger days. There is no right or wrong way to mourn. There is no right or wrong way to grieve.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, it may be helpful to talk to a therapist or grief counselor. They can help you to process your emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms. June is PTSD Awareness month, so I also suggest taking the self-evaluation survey linked to on our home page. It is not a diagnostic tool (only mental health professionals can diagnose), but it may give you a sense of whether or not you might have access to tools and services that those without an official diagnosis don't have.

There are also many resources available to help fathers who have lost children. These resources can provide support, information, and guidance.

Here are some helpful tips for getting through Father's Day if you are a Peregrine:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. It is important to allow yourself to feel your emotions, even if they are painful.

  • Reach out for support. Talk to a therapist, grief counselor, or other trusted friend or family member.

  • Do something that honors your child. This could be anything from planting a tree, starting or supporting a charitable cause in their memory, to simply writing your child a letter.

  • Take care of yourself. Make sure to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise.

  • Be patient with yourself and others. Set healthy boundaries and tell people what you need. Sometimes we must be our own advocates.

It is also important to remember that you are not alone. There are many other fathers all over the world who are Peregrines like you. There are local and national support groups, online forums, faith groups, and other resources available to help you cope with your mourning and grief.

One resource is The Lost Travelers Club.

The Lost Travelers Club (LTC) is a non-profit project under United Charitable, which provides a supportive and empowering community for parents who have outlived our beloved children. Through charitable work, travel groups, and retreats, we aim to break through isolation, cope with grief, and honor the memories of our children as we step back into the world with purpose and power.

In May, 2023, the LTC launched our Fellowship of Fathers weekly child loss circle, a fraternity of men from all over the world who are looking to renew our sense of self, sense of purpose, a way to companion one another on the grief journey, and together develop new coping tools through acts of service in remembrance and honor of our beloved children. Together we can channel our grief into service. Join us!

LTC has collaborative relationships with other organizations that are great resources for Peregrines:

  • Shadow & Light Coalition LLC, helping to integrate spiritual practices with psychology

  • From Grief To Hope, assisting bereaved parents, individuals and families who grieve the loss of a loved one, with support and resources to aid in the healing process.

  • If you prefer an interesting virtual experience, the LTC has a partnership with NPC (Nonprofit Commons) in Second Life, a community-led project, providing space to meet and network, all to create a cooperative learning environment and foster outreach, education, fundraising, all in a virtual environment. Come visit The Lost Traveler Project's Peregrine Lodge, a beautiful place to chill, ponder and imagine possibilities.

If you are not yet comfortable talking to other people about your grief, there are countless other resources available to you. You can find books, websites, and even hotlines that can provide you with information and support.

In the USA, please dial or text 988 if you are experiencing a mental health crisis and need to talk to a professional.

Remember, you are not alone. There are people who care about you and want to help. Please reach out if you are a Peregrine in need of help getting through Father's Day,

or if you have a Peregrine in your life that you are struggling to support though their emotional triggers.

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