...I was leaving work and had the most amazing feeling of good energy running through my very soul. It was like having infinite power, like the yoke of a burden I had been carrying around for my entire 33 years life had been lifted in one second.
Then not five minutes later, my cell phone - a big clunky work issued bag phone - went off.
It was my eldest half brother calling.
Our father had died alone, by a pool in Florida.
And suddenly, I was lost.
I got home, parked the car and got out, got into the house and took BBWT, my Jack Russell for a walk.
And thus began my life without out being held captive by my emotional terrorist.
And these have been the happiest 20 years of my life, bar none. Well, the time around my mother's death is the exception.
When I tell people that I hated my father but loved him, most people can't grasp that concept.
Yes, I loved him. But he was extremely manipulative, he could be very cruel and violent. And we did not enjoy being in each others company. I despised him from the first time I remember him hitting my mother onward.
Yet I always wanted his approval.
What I try to explain to people is that relationships are complicated. It's hard to be honest about how we feel, but being honest with yourself is the first step in the road toward sanity.
So when they hear these stories about him - they become very uneasy. Especially if they knew him. He was terrific and would do anything in the world for you if you weren't his son. But he was a real piece of work if you were his family member.
What I tell people is don't say you're sorry. I know you are sorry. Every child of a madman (or madwoman) knows you don't know what to do when you hear of these horrible things that went on.
We never really imagine where we will be when an anniversary swings around. In those dark days that followed his death, I was certain that I would never be sane again. But twenty years is a lot of time to put between you and the man who loved you in every wrong way, every day of your life.
For me, be happy that he is gone. I am.
Life with father was was a confusing, emotional rollercoaster of all sorts of bad things.
Life without father is much better.