My father died on July 10th, 2014. He was 80 years, 2 months, and 26 days old, approximately twice the age I am now. I am told he spent the last year or so of his life living with a female friend in a backwater town near where he grew up, my mother having died in 2010. If you read that post you will see some amount of yearning tenderness toward my mother. I'm less conflicted about my father.
Our relationship was fractured from the start. My earliest memory of him is when I was six years old and he, in a drunken rage, chased me with a fireplace poker. Once he caught me he beat me until I stopped crying. The next decade was less overtly violent but interspersed with threats to place me in a state home and crippling emotional abuse. I attempted suicide when I was 12, and again when I was 16. After my second suicide attempt a family doctor told my mother he was required to report the abuse and she was given a choice: either the state could take me into custody or I could leave my parents' house. My mother chose to have me live with my half-sister, Anita, for the next year. I escaped that world at age 18 and never looked back.
I don't grieve my father's death. I grieve for the childhood I never had. I mourn him never having the capacity to admit the wrongs he did or apologize for them. My goal in life is to never be the kind of person either of my parents were, and while I have a sister, half-sister, and half-brother, none of them are my family. I have chosen my family. They love, nurture, and support me. Some are related by blood. Most are not. I couldn't be happier, or more relieved.