I was notified this morning by my half-sister than our father had passed away night before last. I have not had any contact with him in over 20 years. She has had some limited contact and seen him a handful of times (mostly out of feeling obligated, she said). He was never really a father to me. My parents divorced when I was just a baby, thank god! He was a mean alcoholic who treated my mom like crap when he was drunk and she was smart enough to get the hell out of dodge...not to mention the fact that he was cheating on her with my half-sister's mother. After a hellish night of my drunk dad trying to choke my mom (I was apparently in the room when it happened, less than a year old, but have NEVER been able to stand to have my neck touched and have always wondered if it was related to this episode...) she left and divorced him.
I did not even meet him until I was around 11 years old. My mom was getting ready to marry my step dad (who ended up adopting me for obvious reasons - there's no way my mom would have wanted me to go live with my dad if something happened to her). For some reason, I guess because my mom was feeling secure in life, she decided I should meet my dad and grandparents, so we all made a trip to meet them. I did bond with my grandma quite a bit, but never him, really. I would go visit for a week or so every summer for the next few years, but stayed with her, if he wasn't living on the ranch. But, he was a binge type alcoholic, who could go months, even years without it and then go on a binge for days/weeks. He did this on my last visit when I was 14. My grandfather had died the first year after I met them, so my dad lived on the ranch with my grandma and helped her take care of it. She had to have some neighbor I didn't even know drive me the 4 hours to the airport when it was time for me to return home. I kept in touch some with him via phone and letters over the next 10 years or so, but after the drunken episode he pulled when he came out here with his equally drunk girlfriend (she had family in my area, too). I just cut off all communication with him. My son was a baby at the time and I just decided there was NO way I was subjecting him (or my husband) to any of that in the future and that was that.
I knew I had a half-sister, who I had met when I was 11 and then saw again when I was 18 and our grandmother died. I might have saw her the summer I was 12, too. I think she and her sisters (not related to me) came for a few days. I finally reconnected with her a couple of years ago on Facebook (she ended up growing up in Canada) and we keep in touch all the time. She is the executor of his will, so it sounds like she will be making the trip to figure out how to take care of everything. She doesn't know much, if anything, of his financial status, or if he even has enough money to pay for his own funeral. Eek! This is scaring her because she has no money (single mom, etc). He's basically had odd jobs most of his life and been self employed as a bookkeeper the past 30 years or so. I know he inherited my grandma's old house when she died 30 years ago and he still lived there. In a very small town out in the middle of nowhere, basically.
Turns out, after my half-sister called and talked with the funeral home director (which happens to be right next door to my dad's house) that dear old dad didn't even own the home anymore. He lost it in 2000 due to unpaid taxes. The funeral home owner purchased it, allowed my dad to live there all these years for $100/mo rent and he had to pay utilities. Apparently most times he had trouble coming up with that money each month, so the funeral director isn't holding much hope that there is even any money for funeral costs. He quoted a cremation and services to my half-sister at $3500! She of course doesn't have any money and I told her just have the most basic, cheapest cremation she can have done (my step dad's was $700 a few years ago) and go spread his ashes out on the ranch land or something. If his few friends (he has no other relatives) want a service they can just have a small get together at the house he lived in or somewhere it doesn't cost anything. Good grief. The funeral director did tell her he would do everything he could to not make it a financial hardship on her and if they had to they would just try to auction off his personal possessions (which will be lucky to be worth $3500). I think he is eligible for VA benefits, so maybe she can get some reimbursement of his cremation costs through that. I did some online research and gave her to local VA phone number to call and look into it.
What a sad life. Hopefully, he will find some peace in the afterlife that he never was able to find in his life here on earth.