My father was a good man, though he had many faults. I’m probably describing 90% of the world’s population, but it’s the first line that comes to mind when I think about him. He was at least partially responsible for the person that I am today, and, for that, I will always be grateful. I will always thank him for the good, the bad and the horrible.
Last year, he died. Though we all saw it coming eventually, it still blindsided me. I’d only seen him once, the month before, after seven years. Yes, seven years. In order for you to better understand my mindset now, I need to give you a speck of personal history. I promise it won’t be boring. Bear with me.
The First Twenty Years
I was always daddy’s little girl. His only child, and my mother’s second. I grew up being worshipped by my father, though that took a dark turn after I turned twelve. By all accounts, we were, for a long time, a somewhat normal and healthy middle-class family. But my father’s alcoholism eventually oozed out and festered, infecting everything in its path.
Combined with untameable pride and titanic stubbornness, it was a recipe for disaster. It came in episodes, most of which I didn’t notice until I was the only kid left in the house. Maybe it was because my brother had taken most of the brunt, or maybe it was because I grew up and was able to see what was really going on.
My parents made mistakes, and they spent their days blaming one another — my mother stayed at home, looking after me and constantly complaining, my father would say, while he brought home everything she wanted and spent so much money on us; my father drank too much and made piss-poor decisions because he was inebriated throughout the day, and his terrible choices and inability to admit his mistakes would eventually leave us homeless and in misery, my mother would say, in return.
When I turned twelve, a series of changes rocked my world. My brother got married and moved out. The rift only widened afterwards. My father got himself wrapped up in so many layers of debt that he was forced to sell our apartment. We had no choice but to rent afterwards, because we could no longer afford to buy a new home.
Over the years, it got better for a while, but then it got worse. Way worse. His…