Hi fellow BYCers. So I've been, more or less, a part of this wonderful community of chicken enthusiasts for over 10 years...over the last decade you have all been a wealth of knowledge and kindness. I've learned so much from all of you. I've always been able to come here to 'nerd out' about my love for chickens or to seek advice about more personal things, both of which has been invaluable. Unfortunately this is one of those more personal times and I mostly just need to vent about it because I'm going through a complicated time right now. My father passed away last night from health complications. Long story short, he's had heart health problems since I was a kid, and to be honest, I've been preparing myself for this day since I was around 10 years old. Every visit with him has been a question of "will this be the last time I see him?" over the last 14 years. It has been a hard thing to grow up with, constantly having that in the back of your mind. What complicates this is he was verbally (and sometimes physically) abusive towards my mom and siblings. He had a wicked temper, and I have a lot of bad memories of being yelled at or him throwing a tantrum or fighting with my mom. He was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, which complicated things further...still, he was my dad and we had a lot of good memories. He positively influenced who I am today from the times when he was 'good,' when he didn't have a temper. He's the one who got me into raising chickens. He's the one who influenced me to become a visual artist. So he wasn't all bad, and part of my is still conflicted about the role that bipolar and borderline personality disorder played in his actions... After my parents divorced when I was about 7 years old, my mom moved out and my siblings and I went with her, which was tough because we had to leave my childhood home and go to a new school. Because I was young and naive, I blamed my mom for making us move. I didn't understand the extent of the situation, or what a real father figure looked like. Once I grew up and learned of some of the stories my mom kept quiet about, I hated him. I learned that he had been in jail for some horrible things before he met my mom and before we were in the picture. I hated him for hurting us, for hurting my mom, for only partially being there to support us. I also hated him for the good memories, because part of me still loved him for those, despite everything bad about him. Even so, over the last 5 or so years I distanced myself from him. His temper mellowed out with old age and loneliness. He was depressed a lot. It was a lot to think about as a teenager. It hurt too much to visit him in my childhood home, where so many memories- good and bad- remained. It hurt too much to see his health decline every year. I felt guilty for not visiting, for not calling or staying in touch. But it was really devastating to visit and to be reminded of such a broken past, a broken family. Maybe it made me a coward to avoid him after everyone left him, after he pushed everyone away, I don't know... But I digress. This part of my childhood has always been lingering, always in the back of my mind. Whenever something good would happen to me, there would always be a voice in the back of my mind to remind me that my father isn't there, that he's alone, to make me feel guilty for protecting myself. And now he's gone. He was brought to the hospital for chest pains a few months ago and we didn't think he was going to make it at the time. It came out of nowhere. So I mustered up the courage to go visit him, thinking it was the last time. I hadn't seen him in several years. I cried a lot that day. He was in bad shape, the meds made him groggy and he didn't really know what was going on or who anyone was. But he recognized me, and he seemed pretty happy to have some of his children visiting him. I mostly went to show that I cared, to make him feel less alone, and to also say goodbye. Even though he made somewhat of a recovery after that and even went home for a little bit after physical therapy, it was the last time I saw him. I'm fine, my friends and colleagues seem to expect me to be in ruins, to need to take time off from work or classes, but I'm fine. I'm sad about the whole situation, and I feel sad for him, but I'm glad he was surrounded by his family (relatives on his side whom I haven't known since I was a child). I think it's mostly because I've been preparing for this for a while, and having not stayed in touch with him has made it "easier" to digest. He never played a significant part in my life after the divorce (and vice versa) so it doesn't feel like much has changed other than the knowledge that he's no longer on this earth, and that my childhood home he stayed in all these years is now empty but for the trinkets and possessions which haven't changed since I last visited...there are a lot of photo albums and things that my siblings and I had when we were little that he held onto, all of which is now in that empty house. I don't know if I want to visit to go through things. I think it would hurt too much, especially considering that the house is apparently quite dilapidated after he stopped taking care of it. Just a reminder of my dilapidated past, dilapidated childhood memories of playing in the yard or building the chicken coop with him during the summer. I don't know what's going to happen with the funeral, whether I should go or not. I think it would about tear me in half to go, but I would want to out of respect for him. Also, several years ago he told me that when he dies, he wants the song "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. to play at his funeral. I don't know why I committed this random conversation between us to my memory, or why I still remember it after nearly a decade, but I listened to the song after learning of his passing and now I can't get it out of my head...I guess I'll wait to see what his side of the family plans for the funeral and decide from there.