I have always had an uneasy relationship with my father, I remember being frightened of him from an early age but also admiring and loving him a great deal.
He was always a heavy drinker, a bottle of vodka a night and lots of prescription drugs, Valium, Librium, Temezapam and Mogodon (this was in the 70's and 80's when doctors in the UK handed these drugs out like sweets) when the doctor stopped giving him prescriptions he switched to recreational drugs, vast amounts of dope, and I mean VAST amounts.
The rot really set in when he tried to punch me when I was pregnant with my son, I was working for him in the nightclub he owned and he took exception to something I said, I don't remember what it was. I never felt the same way about him after that.
His moods were very cyclical; intense paranoia (which could last for a week) terrifying rages, normality, over the top bouts of happiness and then the slide back into paranoia and so it continued. Looking back I'm fairly sure he was suffering from some sort of mental illness or it could have been the drink and the drugs who knows? He was truly terrifying and if I could have become invisible I would have done.
Eventually I decided to cut all contact with him and he moved overseas with his wife and my half brother. He passed away in April of last year and I found out from my step mother that he had declared his intention of drinking himself to death some 18 months ago and had duly done so - my step mother said he was drinking two litres of vodka a day towards the end and was on oxygen for emphaseema.
I was very shocked at how truly devastated I was even though we hadn't had any contact for over ten years, I did get to say goodbye, privately, the funeral was overseas and was done and dusted by the time I found out about it.
I miss him but I don't regret breaking off contact with him when I did.