Father’s Final Words Not the Last Word

holding persons hand in hospital final words


Psychotherapist Kevin Anderson offers advice to S&H readers. “As professionally prepared as you were for your father’s dying process, there are no credentials or letters after our names that can fully prepare us for losing a loved one.”

During the last two weeks of my father’s life, I took a leave from work and was with him constantly. Dad was grateful for my presence, referring to me several times as his “right-hand man.” Near the end, I stepped out of the room to talk with a sibling for a while. When I came back, Dad, with a look of deep disappointment in his eyes, said: “You left me!” He died during the night, so those ended up being his last words to me. I’m finding it hard to accept that I tried to be so present during his dying process and now am left with those difficult final words. How do I get some resolution with this? Kevin: Thank you for your letter and for our ensuing email exchange. As soon as I read your father’s last words, the part of my brain that is addicted to playing with words lit up. I wondered what would happen if you allowed your father’s final three words to be the beginning of a reflection rather than the last word on your relationship with him. In our email exchange, I learned that your relationship with your father was essentially positive. He had coached you and your siblings for many years and mode …

About the Author

Kevin Anderson PhD, Psychotherapist

Kevin Anderson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, poet, and writer who lives in the Toledo, Ohio area. His two most recent books are...

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