Popular Culture Meets Psychology

Understanding ourselves through pop culture.

My Father Died Today

A citizen of two worlds

My father died a few hours ago. He had been restless all day ... couldn't quite find that sweet spot in his bed. Each day since his 97th birthday exactly a week ago brought less and less promise and more certainty that my status would soon be forever changed. My wife and I stepped out to grab a fast bite, and no sooner had we sat down than the nurse called and said "come home".

In that half hour since we briefly left his bedside, my father had, after struggling for comfort, let go. His last words, "I found my spot". 

How did he know? Did he wait until we stepped out to breath his last breath? Did he actually have control until he and only he made the choice to finally die? All I do know is that my father, my dad taught me how to die in that moment. No pomp! No Hallmark moment! No Hollywood ending! He found his spot. 

I am, as Susan Sontag described those who inhabit the liminality between life and death in Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors, truly a citizen of two worlds.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Goodnight dad.

Lawrence Rubin, psychologist and counseling professor, is co-author with psychiatrist Mike Brody of Messages: Self Help Through Popular Culture.

more...

Subscribe to Popular Culture Meets Psychology

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.