Despite everything that I have ever read and seen, emotions are never clear-cut. At least for me.
My father died about one year after he threw me out of his flat. I warned him that I would never speak to him again when he threatened it, but he carried on regardless. I went and slept on the living room floor of my mum's flat, already too small for her and my sister and two brothers, but luckily I had a place at University and halls to move into two months later. She had originally thrown my father out about six years earlier for being a drunk, and after a time spent sleeping in his car, he bought a flat a few minutes away from us and I was sent to live with him at about thirteen years old.
It was the drink that led to the fist fight which happened before he threw me out, and it was the drink that killed him.
In books, movies and TV soaps, as well as accounts from friends and family, a situation in which you cut off a family member who dies always leads to you wishing you could have patched things up, that you could have made amends before they were gone, in line with the old cliche that you don't know what you're missing until it's gone, but I have never regretted cutting my self off from my dad. After he had said that he didn't want to quit the booze it was clear to me that he would never again be the father I once knew, and that there was no longer anything to miss.
I cried after I learnt of his death. Not at the time, but a day or two later I slept over with a friend who said I shouldn't be alone, and she was right, I broke down in tears and she held me, taking the edge off the grief. I could never understand why I cried so when I hated him, hated what he had become and had wished him dead on numerous occasions standing in the dark front room of his flat that smelled of cigarettes and cider, looking out at the cross roads outside the flat bathed in a yellow sodium glow.
More recently I have been dumped by my girlfriend of six years. The relationship was always difficult, never flowing naturally but always an effort to try and overcome obstacles, and seemingly involving a lot of effort and sacrifice on my part.
In this situation it is hard to work out what I feel. I am not as devastated as I have been after the failure of shorter relationships, but this is likely to do with the slow, inevitable decline. I wanted to end it myself numerous times for at least the last three years, but was always persuaded to give my one-time partner another chance every time, so the idea of splitting up isn't exactly new, but somehow it still feels like it's out of the blue, a shock, a wrench of the emotions.
Even though I have not been as miserable as I expected to be, I also have a feeling that it hasn't all hit home yet.
The arduous effort put into the relationship led to less time spent with friends and weaker links because of that - it will be hard to bounce back as a social animal, without even taking into consideration the fact that I've never really dated.
So now I'm thirty years old and single, and whilst I'm not sure if I regret the entire six year relationship, for the first time in my life I definitely have regret for my actions (or inactions); regret that I didn't stick to my guns the first time I wanted out, the first time I thought that it wasn't working and that I was sacrificing too much to make it work with too little effort to match it put in by my ex.
That this regret does me little good is of no matter - I have no more control over it than over the tears I shed for my father's death - but what does matter is that I don't know where to go on from here, I don't know how to prioritise friendships and romance any more and I have no idea how to be single.
It might all just fall together with time, but I'm certain that it will help to get some physical distance between this part of my life and the next, so I'm glad I have found a new place to move to and that in one week's time, the majority of the trauma of moving out will be over thanks to a little help from my friends.