To My Father’s Church.

To the Church where my father worked,

You held him in such high regard, the man who ruined my life. He became a martyr to you when he died. This archetype of a human being. A Christian man with Christian ethics. The words the pastor uttered at his funeral haunt me to this day. His description of him fell short of the image and character I endured for over fifteen years. 

What a shrewd man to deceive you all.

At his funeral, after his cremation, you approached me. You, the pastor, offered your sincere condolences for my tragic loss. You had been there. You had seen my father in action. He had told you the lies he created about me and you believed them. He asked you to pray for me so that I would not be condemned to hell but prayer was not enough. He would have exorcised me if he could. To him, I was possessed, inhuman, a savage. He could not tame me. I was too wild and broke too many rules. This was a lie. I only ever tried to comply. I just could not meet his endless demands and regulations. 

You humiliated me. I did not need your prayers. I was not a bad person.

As you all wept at sight of his coffin I wept too. I wept out of happiness; out of relief. I sat, staring directly down the aisle at his coffin. I resisted the temptation to kick it over. Nothing would have pleased me more to see it lying, broken, ruined. Just as he left me.

My sister became a beacon of hope, of love and loyalty to you. She honored my father well. He did not deserve honor. He didn’t deserve the audience you all gave him at his final goodbye. He didn’t deserve the tears or the laughs, the empathy or the memories. That room should have been empty. 

My father abused me. Mentally and emotionally, for thirty years of my life. He was the epitome of a bad man.

You were naive to believe his other representation.

You were naive to think he was true to his word.

You were naive to believe he cared about people, that he cared about all of you.

He didn’t.

Believe me.

 

To my Father’s Family,

To my father’s family,

He was your son, Uncle, cousin and nephew. To you all, he was a good man. He pursued a life in England, climbed the ladder in his career, played the loving and later wronged husband, became a doting father and most of all, gave the impression of a well-rounded, thoughtful human being.

Unfortunately, I am about to shatter your perception of this ‘perfect’ man.

This thoughtful being was the most unthoughtful person I’ve ever known. Not only was he abusive to me but he spent the majority of his loveless marriage abusing my mother both emotionally and physically. He beat her. Violently. She did nothing to “provoke” him. He chose to hurt her. What kind of a man does that make him now? Do you still think of him as caring and loving?

To my Uncle who asked whether his brother would be having a religious, Hindu ceremony for his funeral. My sister lied. We never held anything of the sort for him and there was never any intention to do so. My father was no longer a Hindu and had not been for over fifteen years prior to his death. My sister kept up his pretence, his shame, well after his death. She was happy to deceive you and probably would continue to do so to this day. She even wrote to me and asked me not to mention it to anyone, you know the fact that he was a Christian

He was ashamed of his religion and would never have told any of you. 

It was secret for many years.

But it is time you found out the truth.

I cannot empathise. He never fully embraced Christianity. He certainly followed an odd set of beliefs too. I myself, having been to a Church of England Primary School and now working in a Faith School, have seen what true Christianity is. My father’s beliefs were not from the Christian faith that I know. It was evangelistic and critical. It was homophobic and racist. Ultimately, it was frightening.

He had become a robot regularly preaching psalms to me, spouting biblical nonsense at me. His life centred around his church. His funeral took place at his church. This devoted Christian man received a very surreal send off. I watched as they praised him for his integrity and wept at the loss of such a wonderful considerate man.

I did not weep.

I was happy. I am happy. I am happy that he is dead.

This man destroyed my life. He was the soul reason I hated myself for many years. He controlled, manipulated, abused, insulted, defamed, lectured, bullied, threatened, tortured and emotionally battered me for sixteen years.

This wonderful person did not deserve a place on this earth.

To anyone who thinks he is in heaven right now…………….

He is swimming in hell.

 

2013 A review: July – September.

JULY

Summer had truly hit us in London by July. Scorching temperatures reigned over the city and finally the harsh winter had been beaten.

At the start of the month, I began recalling a series of events, linked to the exact date one year ago, that looked back on the journey towards the end of the abuse once and for all. It was a painful task. Remembering is one thing but looking back in detail, searching through old text messages and diary entries was hard. It transported me back to a terrible, stressful and bitter summer. The summer after my wedding. The summer my father, the abuser, died.

It was the month that my husband and I were told that our landlord wanted to sell the property we were renting. It came as a surprise as there had not been much of a warning. It was the last thing we needed. We were very settled where we were living. It was in an ideal location for both of us to get to work, there were plenty of shops and amenities around too. It was not ideal to move. I couldn’t bear the thought of moving into some dingy, poky apartment in a rush because we hadn’t enough time to search for somewhere decent. We made a decision. It would be a difficult one, a tiring and patience testing one but ultimately we were thankful she was willing to have us. My mother was our port of call. She agreed the sensible choice would be to live with her until my father’s inheritance was finalised and we could look for a new place.

July would be a very revealing month for me. Although I already knew my sister had begun a “secret” relationship with the abuser, I was not aware of how close they had become. After everything my sister had once accused him of, after all that she had witnessed him do to our mother (not to mention the misery of a life I led with him), I had not expected her to welcome him with open arms into her family unit. A unit she has been fiercely protective of for so many years. A family that she has banned me and any mother from seeing. Apparently, we are bad news, the cause of her depression and misery, the evil ones. Not our father. Not the man who abused me for fifteen years but the two people who spent most of their lives trying to escape his frightening hold. In her eyes, we were the enemy. I found out at the start of July that my father had planned a holiday with my sister, her husband and children. He could not go in the end due to his worsening health. I was flabbergasted. Horrified. The man that my sister could not bear to be in the same room as was now holidaying with her?? It blew my mind.

At work, I finished with a bang, holding our annual school talent show. It was a great success and the kids did me proud.

AUGUST

I continued to recall back to the events of last year on WordPress. I received several comments, mostly from friends who had no idea I was struggling so badly that summer. Even though the majority of them knew about my relationship with the abuser, most never questioned it. They never delved any further. It must have come as a shock to them to read the full truth.

I was well into my summer holidays at this point. The weather was unbelievable in London during August, we were very lucky to have so much sunshine. I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. I spent most of the holiday packing up our flat and surprising myself at how much rubbish we had accumulated over the past two years of living there. It was an endless and tiring job as my husband was at work for most of August. Even on moving day, when David’s parents had come to help, were we still putting items into bags and shipping them off to my mums’.

The end of the month would be very significant. On the 21st I celebrated the anniversary of my father’s death. I did not lay any flowers or sit down and pray. I did not shed a tear or think back to the “good times”. There were no good times. He was not worth my tears and I could not lay any flowers for I do not know what happened to his ashes. My sister only told me recently after a year of me badgering her, that after the funeral she had “picked them up”. So basically she gave me no more information than I had already assumed. I intend on letting her keep playing her childish game on her own.

As I prepared to go back to work, I was invited to a school reunion. Seeing my old primary school classmates after twenty years was incredibly uplifting. It was a wonderful experience and sent me back to a time of happiness. These people made me happy. It was lovely to be in their company again.

SEPTEMBER

Back to work!

I also began making some changes in my life. Some positive changes. I attended a course at City Lit on Assertiveness. It proved to be quite challenging. I enjoyed analysing myself and looking into types of behaviour. The course opened my mind as we explored passiveness, aggression, manipulation and assertiveness. It was very interesting to hold that magnifying glass up to myself and look more carefully at the person I had become. I am now trying to embody more assertiveness. My mother is the only person finding that difficult. For so long she was used to a passive daughter. A daughter who could not say “no” and agreed to almost everything in search for an “easy” life. Well no more. I have never had an easy life! It is time to get what I want and make a stand.

The Collins English Dictionary says – 

assertive 

Definitions

adjective – 

confident and direct in claiming one’s rights or putting forward one’s views

The last Goodbye.

My husband and I made our way to the crematorium in the car my father had paid for with my sister and her husband. It was sweltering and in the back seat I began to feel very ill. I hated travelling in cars as it was; it did not help that I was in one with two people who clearly hated me. It was totally silent for the thirty minute journey.

When we all arrived at the crematorium, my first instinct was to look for my mother. She and her friends had travelled up separately but as we walked to the entrance, I could not see her. The entrance was already lined with half the congregation. His old school friends had flocked to my sister’s side as she left the car and ushered her inside. I was totally ignored and followed behind them. I was almost enjoying being the figure of anger and darkness they had created me to be. I had barely spoken in the time I had been at the service, it was interesting how they had developed their judgement of me so quickly. Perhaps, others had been involved in reaching this verdict.

Once inside the crematorium we were led to the front pews. It was unavoidable this time as much as I would’ve preferred sitting at the back. As I looked over to my left I noticed his coffin on a raised platform waiting to be lowered as we said our final goodbyes. Another shorter service took place, again with hymns and prayers in my abuser’s honour. I never sang nor bowed my head. I did not want to pay my respects. I only wanted to witness the atrocity that was his funeral and see his unholy and evil presence disappear.

As the coffin lowered after the final coffin, a tear ran down my cheek.

“Rot in hell” I whispered to myself.

Rot in hell.

After the service had ended everyone left to the gardens to stand by his poor showing of flowers. My father’s pastor approached me as I lingered behind the congregation with my mother and her friends. He passed on his condolences and very quickly I responded by telling him not to.

This was the time to do it. He needed to know.

“This funeral has been an entire farce. None of you know what kind of man my father really was. He was an evil man. You all one day will know the truth, I promise you.”

The pastor just looked at me. I could see he was shocked. After all, I was the abuser’s daughter, I should have been in floods of tears when instead I was describing to him how relieved I was that he was finally gone.

I don’t regret what I told him. My father was an abusive, deceitful and controlling man. Everyone must now know the truth.

I decided there was no point in putting myself any further through the ordeal and chose to leave with my mother and her friends. I told my sister I was going as the rest of his friends looked on. I wanted them to see my disloyalty, my hatred, my hurt.

Goodbye Daddy.

R.I.P (Rot in Persecution).

5th September 2012 – The funeral Part 2.

After a series of prayers, hymns and readings, my sister began her eulogy. She did ask if I wanted to say a few words about our late father but I politely turned her request down. I was far too afraid that my few words would turn into the emotional revelation of my life. I would not be able to find any kind words to say, my anger and hurt would be on display and I was sure I’d be removed from the church. No, I wanted to witness the sham for all that it was.

It was already very clear, from the previous speeches and readings, what these people thought of my father. I was not expecting to be any more shocked than I already was. But my sister’s eulogy soon brought about the horror again.

She stood sombrely at the lectern, resting her pages on the stand. Her voice was gentle; she seemed calm and read her well-rehearsed speech with confidence. She did not appear as the sister I had witnessed over the past few years.

She began by briefly describing my father’s childhood for example: where he grew up, his college years and his role in his family as being the ‘gentle’ one. She gave the congregation an insight into the life they never knew. During this, I had to bite my tongue, stopping myself from giving them the insight into the actual and factual life they never knew he led. My sister however, kept up his pretence. It was her pretence too, her fantasy world that they had both created but I was living in the cold reality, faced with the truth of what kind of man he really was.

In her words he was a “quiet, thoughtful man”, three words that couldn’t be further from his genuine character. I would have never described him as “thoughtful” and he certainly wasn’t a man. No real man would treat their daughter the way he treated me. Mutters of agreement echoed around me as my sister continued to praise my abuser with affectionate words. My mother turned back to me in horror at the realisation of my sister’s devotion and utmost respect for him.

I knew it was coming, I was expecting it to be a shocker although most of it still took me by surprise, I was hoping she would erase my worries not highlight them. I also wasn’t expecting the room to be completely full. It seemed as though my father had fooled a lot of people.

My sister had clearly researched my father’s upbringing but only revealed the sweeter moments. There was no talk of how jealous of his sisters he was, or his shaky relationship with his mother, those memories were left out.

She referred to his final years (those with her in his life) as a much more peaceful time in his existence. When she had her second child in 2011 and their relationship had been rebuilding for a year, she spoke of the time her husband had to return to work after his paternity leave had finished. My sister was still in need of support. She wouldn’t have asked my mother who had taken my father’s sorry place in my sister’s heart and become the enemy. She wouldn’t have asked me. We were estranged for several years due to my growing bond with my mother. I was venomous in her eyes, a supporter of the new enemy. So she accepted my father’s sweet, generous offer to look after and visit her every day for two weeks. She described him as a “family man”, looking after the baby so that she could have a nap, reading his grandson bedtime stories, bringing her decadent foods like olives, pate and breads, homemade spaghetti bolognese and sweet treats to satisfy her every craving.

I could not believe it. This was not generosity. This was the way my father worked. I had been in the same position many years ago and I also fell for the act. Money and gifts do not equate love.

Although shocking, the whole eulogy was quite interesting to listen to. Especially hearing such a different character interpretation of the abuser from a woman who once saw exactly what I see now. Some of the quotes I noted from her eulogy were:

He was true to his word – yes, in many ways he was. When he promised that I’d regret speaking to him disrespectfully, he was right. I did regret it. The abuse that followed after my clear belligerence was deserved in his eyes. Was he true to his words when he promised to be my sole carer? When he told the court and gave his word on his honour that he would look after me? No, he wasn’t. He betrayed the courts and he betrayed me.

He had a strong work ethic – do you mean he was obsessed with his work and that he needed to be wealthy in order to gain respect? He had no ethics. To be ethical, you require morals, principles and decency. He had none of those.

He liked the simple thing in life – was the one quote that seriously made me let out a little laugh, the simple things, honestly? He loved extravagance, decadence, he loved luxury. Yet nothing could ever make him truly happy.

She made a good point during her speech; she admitted to be the mirror image of the abuser. She too had his work ethic. She was certainly obsessed with her career; work was one of her biggest stresses and not in a challenging or stimulating way. She struggled in many ways; she was never willing to take any responsibility for any mistakes made in her life, it was always somebody else’s fault. Sound familiar? Of course it does, she is just the same as him.

She also spoke of them both loving order and precision in their lives. His love of order equalled his O.C.D. Order was something that made my life hell during those bitter twelve years. I’m an organised person; I like to know what I’m doing and when I’m doing it. But I can see that events can happen in life that changes order. It shows greater character if you are able to adapt to change. My father could not do that.

Then came the tears, the break in her voice that showed a glimpse of genuine emotion. The abuser had won. He had succeeded in convincing her that he was a decent man. That it was my mother and I who were evil. He had won. She did not fully cry, I looked for it but I could not see any tears. I thought I would see an essence of emotion, I thought I would see an open heart but it remained firmly closed. The barriers went back up as she cleared her throat. As she spoke the words that echo in me to this day, my sister pulled it back together. A week before he died, in the comfort of her presence, my father told her,

“It has been like another life”.

The congregation let out a mutual compassionate sigh while a single tear fell silently onto my lap.

How much clearer could he be than that? He had her back, the one he had really wanted. My sister had finally returned to him.

“You have left me with a precious gift, so Daddy, I thank you.”

I brushed the empty tear away and took a deep breath. He was not worth my tears, he had hers.

Plenty of others spoke in my father’s honour. Laughable comments continued to be made:

  • He was able to apologise
  • Had a very gracious nature
  • Greatly missed by everyone
  • Sense of humour
  • Kept as fit as possible
  • Generous to his friends

I let these comments wash over me. Let them have their false memories!

After two hours the service was over. It felt like the longest two hours of my life and unfortunately the day was not over. My friend had to go back to work but David remained by my side. As the congregation mingled with each other, I made my way to my mother. She was both emotional and disturbed. She remarked how she felt like an imposter at a stranger’s funeral, I felt that too. There were faces that we recognised and many we didn’t. A few of his neighbours came to say ‘Hello’. They gave their condolences to me, little did they know my relief and comfort in his death.

My sister and her husband remained at the other end of the hall. My mother and I were definitely at the bottom of the hierarchy. We were happy to be given that position. We received a few polite regards and condolences, some from people we once knew and some from total strangers. His church friends enclosed around my sister, consoling her, hugging her and praising her beautiful words about the abuser. I stood alone with only my mother and husband by my side.

Eventually more people came over. One questioned my relationship to the abuser.

“Are you his second daughter?” she said in disbelief.

“Yes.” I responded, wondering why this woman looked so confused at the idea that he had another child.

My sister had mentioned in her eulogy that my parents had a second child but that was the only reference to me in the entire funeral.

I was an unknown.

Conclusion to follow tomorrow.

5th September 2012 – The funeral Part 1.

I have to blog about this nightmare of a day in two parts as there is just so much to tell you all.

Below is an extract detailing the sequence of events that I endured that day, taken from my autobiography. The beginning of the extract explains the lead up to the day, part of which I have mentioned in an earlier post about the phone call with my sister but as it is part of the chapter and important to the story, I will keep it in.

Part 2 will follow on Saturday.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN – THE NEXT CHAPTER

 

My father’s funeral took place on September 5th 2012 in East London. It was based at his church and fully organised by my sister. I was sent an email confirming the date and time.

On the only phone call after my father’s death, my sister rang to talk about the arrangements. I wasn’t really a part of it but to keep up appearances, she called anyway. It was an awkward conversation, the first without my father present. It was like speaking with a stranger, with someone who knew nothing about the history with Him. Yet, she was well aware of everything. She was just choosing to make every excuse in the book to defend him. She talked consistently about the funeral. I remained silent. What was there to say? I felt I could not speak my mind. That was until she began talking about songs and flowers.

She mentioned that a song, my father’s favourite song, would be played as his coffin entered the church.

That song was, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

When I think about the lyrics,

I see trees green, red roses too. I watch them bloom, for me and you and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

These are not the lyrics that remind me of my father. They only make sense to me in reference to him being gone and me being free. I’m pretty certain my sister was implying the opposite.

It was also a lie.

What a Wonderful World was actually my mother’s favourite song. Somewhere along the line, my sister’s lines had become blurred. My father never really cared for music.

In regards to the flowers, my sister casually asked me how much I would be willing to pay for my half of them. She listed the types of flowers and what would be suitable to surround the coffin. That was as much as I heard before I couldn’t contain it any longer. The tears I had held back for years, the trauma and the stress all exploded and in one breath I made it very clear I would not be contributing in any way. Everything poured out. I couldn’t hide it anymore, she needed to know.

Through endless streams of tears, I mustered the strength to reveal as much as I could. She listened, at best, she was silent. I could never tell the difference. I told her about the last time I had been with my father – the afternoon in the car in July. I opened up about the way he behaved and the fear I felt. Expecting my older sister to understand, I was shocked by her response.

“He was very ill by then,” she said as she began pleading his case, “he was probably tired; he couldn’t help it”.

She wasn’t even there and she silenced me.

Why did I think my father’s greatest supporter would back me?

I left the conversation immediately.

 

5th September 2012

I had been dreading this day for the previous two weeks. It had finally arrived and I had to gather any courage I had left to face it. My friend Natasha offered to come for the service. I accepted her offer, she and David were my protective barrier that day against the people who just couldn’t understand.

His funeral service was held in his church in East London.

As the burning sun beat down on me, I wiped the nervous droplets from my brow and entered the church. My sister and her husband were stood in the corridor greeting everyone. I hugged her, reaching out for some kind of emotion but I received nothing so I continued my way through to the church hall where the funeral was taking place. My brother-in-law did not acknowledge my presence.

I looked around the barely decorated room. It was filled with people, friends of my father’s, family and neighbours. Everyone was smartly dressed, paying their respects. I was wearing loose black trousers and a bright green peplum top. I needed to wear something bright. I needed to show them I was not mourning. Green was the colour that calmed me; it was the obvious colour to wear. My eyes immediately met with my mothers’. I headed straight to her. A man appeared by me as I struggled to keep my emotions together. He gestured for me, as my father’s daughter, to sit at the front. My breathing quickened as I placed my hand tightly on my mother. I could only muster one “No”. The man didn’t understand my refusal. I looked at my mother. She understood. She knew I was not going to pretend nor be part of the farce I was about to face. She told me to sit where ever I wanted. That turned out to be the front of the back section of chairs left out for late arrivals behind the congregation. I positioned myself directly ahead of the aisle.

My mother turned back to see if I was okay. I smiled. I was glad she had come especially with the support of her close friends. It was important for her to witness it.

My sister entered with her husband and a band of people followed her. She was being comforted by his friends. I watched as she made her way to the front row. She hugged one of his pastors, a man who thought very highly of my father.

Music began. Thankfully, it was not What a Wonderful World. Heads turned as his expensive, wooden coffin was carried in. It was placed on a stand directly ahead of me. I stared at it; I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

I was determined to get through the charade. I had brought a notebook with me. I focussed on putting all the feelings I was going through into it and wrote down a detailed account of the following two hours. Writing was the one thing that kept me going through that horrible, deceitful service.

The boss of me.

I have to be honest here. I lack majorly when it comes to standing up for myself. If questioned, I feel backed into a corner. I hesitate, show anxiety, panic and doubt myself if questioned in a bossy way. My father was so demanding and his level of questioning was always challenging towards me. He made me feel like no answer would satisfy him and that nothing would appease the situation.

When challenged by my peers now, I react similarly to the way I did with my father. I do not like to be bossed yet I respond well to clear and respectful orders or requests. I notice it the most in a working environment. No matter where I have worked through my career, it has always been the same. I appreciate being talked to not talked at. I appreciate communication and cooperation. It makes for an easier life. I am not good at second guessing or acting on assumption, I like to know in advance and feel prepared for something. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t be spontaneous. I just leave that for the other parts of my life. At work however, I want to know where I should be and what I should be doing. 

My father was always the boss of me. 

He gave himself that role and I allowed him to have it.

Thursday will be an important day with an important post. It will be exactly one year that I watched my father’s body be cremated. It will be a time to look back on what I consider to be the most surreal moment of my life.

It was a hellish day, an upsetting day and most of all, a very revealing day.

It was my father’s funeral.

29th August 2012 – A long two weeks.

Between the day after he died to the day of the actual funeral, was a very long two weeks; almost endless. I was on my school holidays still and aching to get back to work (that’s pretty unheard of!) but staying at home and dealing with the aftermath of his death was getting too much.

My sister, as executor, was in charge of organizing the funeral. She rarely spoke to me in this process often using her husband to deal with me via text message. It was completely inappropriate and inconsiderate. She was well aware that my relationship with my brother in-law was non-existent yet she could not face me. She had no reason to be so distant instead it would’ve made more sense for me to want to keep away from her. However, I wasn’t in need of attention or a spotlight. I didn’t get a kick out of making things difficult.

The only contact we had was one phone call.  This was where she talked in detail about the lead up to the funeral. She was very well spoken almost putting on a fancy accent. It was another way of raising herself above me and appearing to be ‘together’. Clearly, the pressures that had been put on her were getting too much. As much as she held the pretense of being cool it was backfiring. I could hear the tension in her voice.

She talked about the funeral programme, the order of service and the people invited. She asked me if I wanted to say a few words about him at the funeral.

I paused. For a split second it occurred to me that this was my chance to reveal it to all of them, all of his worshipers, that he was an abuser, a tormentor and the man who ruined my life. It would be sweet revenge and satisfaction and my sister would never see it coming. She genuinely and naively believed that I wanted to praise my deceased father.

I refused her offer.

It wasn’t the right way to do it and I could not risk letting emotion get the better of me. When I eventually told my story and the truth about this horrible man, it would be on my terms and to the whole world not just the confines of his church.

My sister also had the audacity to ask me to contribute to the payment of the flowers for the funeral. I was shocked that she was able to justify spending one hundred pounds on the fact that simply, he was our father. I did not want to spend money on a man who monitored the flow of mine for years. I would’ve happily scattered some dead wood and rotting flowers around him if I could. She knew about the abuse and how he tortured me mentally but last summer she chose to forget it all. He had become a martyr, an idol and in her eyes he ‘saved’ her.

He never saved me.

I saved me.

22nd August 2012 – The funeral home.

Sorry this post has been delayed, what with moving this week, it has all been a bit chaotic but I can finally return to the story of my father’s death last summer.

During the day of my father’s death, I received a text from my brother in-law detailing the plan to meet together the next day at the funeral home to discuss arrangements for my father’s funeral. It was all still very raw and as I had spent most of the morning feeling overjoyed and released, it came as a surprise that I needed or that they wanted me to be there. Perhaps they were his wishes.

I did not want to go.

It wasn’t local, instead near my father’s church in a part of London that only reminded me of him. I didn’t want to be anywhere that reminded me of him. He was no longer here, let me mourn, grieve and most of all – move on. The funeral was not something I really wanted a part of. However, as my sister was organizing it, curiosity got the better of me.

In the last few weeks of my father’s illness, it had been revealed that my father had made my sister executor of his will. It was a deed he had once forced upon me several years back when I was living with him.

I remember being called to his bedroom one day to find a heap of papers laid out with a pen beside them.

“Sign it,” he ordered without even a glance in my direction.

“What is it?”

“Don’t question me, rude! It’s to be the executor of my will. Sign it. Someone needs to do it.” His gaze centred on me, “Why are you being difficult?”

It was futile trying to reason with him. I had crossed the line and dared to question my father. I was causing conflict in a simple situation. There was one problem though, I did not want to be executor of his will. I did not want that sort of thing put upon me. I didn’t want to have to deal with him even after his death. Could I voice this? Of course not. So, I had no choice. I picked up the pen and without any knowledge of what I was signing, my name began to appear on the lines he was pointing to.

I never heard about it again. He clearly thought he’d never die.

The next time I would hear it would be the moment I found out he had drawn up a new will. One that my sister was now executor of. I had been dropped in place of the prodigal daughter. She, unlike me, was happy to take on her new role. She enjoyed control and power much like my father. They were the same in almost every way.

At the funeral home, my sister took charge. I was horrified to find out that they had invited a woman along. A woman who was a friend of my father’s but in the situation that it was, it seemed inappropriate for her to be there. They weren’t confidantes, he never saw women like that. In fact, this was a woman he had taken great pleasure in criticizing over the years. A woman that I have heard some appalling things about from my father’s mouth. He was disgusting. The way he spoke of his so-called friends was shocking. It felt odd to see someone I knew irritated him at the funeral home the day after he died.

She seemed devastated. Why wouldn’t she be? My father may have insulted her behind her back but to the outside world he treated her like his daughter. Her child even called him “Uncle”. He was worshiped and respected by many and my sister – his new found disciple – did not want others to see him in any other light.

I sat and watched as the three of them took charge.

I sat back.

I was only there to show face.

My mind was elsewhere and judging by the strangeness of the day, I was anticipating the upcoming funeral.

I was right to be worried.