This was the year my family exploded.
This spring, my brother called me, which is unusual for him -- he usually sticks to email -- and opened the conversation with, "Have you ever noticed our parents are crazy, and kinda racist?" To me, that was where the saga began. Because we are geeks, the conversation also ranged over ASoIaF (he was unfamiliar with the pawn-to-queen!Sansa theory, and liked it, but like me, has doubts she'll succeed, since she lost her direwolf) and superhero cartoons, but "man, our parents were nuts" was a major feature of the conversation. I found it kind of cathartic, and started watching Young Justice because of it, but I had no idea what was brewing.
It was actually in late 2011 that my father opted to quit his anti-depressants cold turkey, after which his behavior -- which had always included a stubborn insistence on being right, a tendency towards harsh teasing, generally being inconsiderate of others, and juvenile crudeness -- took a turn for the worse. He got unpredictable, mean-spirited, and more inappropriate than ever. Mom, meanwhile, had never really called him on his behavior and wasn't about to start now, and she's always been reluctant to talk about mental health in any way: "It's great that you're getting help, honey. LET ME TELL YOU MORE ABOUT OUR DOGS."
For me, seeing the parents once or twice a year, it was frustrating but not all that distinguishable from what might normally happen as they age. For my younger brother and sister, working at the family business which my parents hadn't completely retired from, it was a nightmare, compounded by issues about the running of the business, money, and the fact that my brother's marriage was secretly miserable.
Sometime this summer, my brother stopped talking to my father, refusing to deal with him at all unless he went into therapy; Dad finally went ahead with it, though I have my doubts as to whether he'll address any of the stuff that was making things difficult between him and my brother.
Meanwhile, my brother left his wife, and my evil grandmother is getting senile, apparently forgetting that my aunt is dead and having difficulty recognizing Dad. This is apparently really getting to my father, who is probably the only living person who still cares about her good opinion.
So yes, here’s to 2012: Nobody I loved is actually dead of missing a limb. May 2013 be better than this asshole of a year was.