My father and I haven't had any type of relationship for twenty-five years.
Today it came as a surprise to me that I was saddened when I received the news that he had died. He was around 70.
He wasn't the nicest guy, although later accounts from those that knew him before I was born suggest that he was very funny and fun to be around. I never met that guy.
Most (all?) of my memories of my father are related to his abilities as an intellectual or an asshole. Some encapsulate both elements very well, e.g.: Pops was very good at trivia, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, etc. One of his favorite activities (as near as I can recall) was watching the evening game shows and ridiculing the players because of their intellectual inferiority. He had a particular talent for the Wheel of Fortune puzzles; it didn't extend to personal relationships.
When I knew him Trivial Pursuit was in its Big 80's heyday and we would all gather round together to 'play' together. The teams were always him vs. whoever wanted to read him the questions. You'd figure out who got to go first and then you would do your best until it was Pops turn. Then he would answer every question correctly until he had filled his little pie with those wedge-shaped pieces and you lost.
In retrospect it was a great learning opportunity, and I don't mean about trivia.
Traditionally you're supposed to write something flattering about the recently deceased. I prefer the truth: he was a difficult person that handled our relationship poorly. I forgave him a long time ago so that I could keep the best parts of him (I am also pretty good at Trivial Pursuit) and let go of the rest. If I ever have a child I hope that our relationship is better.
Thanks for reading.