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Dean Koontz: Angels, Demons, and Our Mysterious World

The best-selling writer talks about why in the short-term evil wins, but in the end, good usually triumphs.

Continued from page 1

Has a situation in your life ever tested your faith to the point where you wanted to let it go?

There was a time in my life after losing my mother, who had a very difficult life, [where] she was ill. She was married to a man who later in life was diagnosed as sociopathic. I was in my 20s when she died. 

That seemed to me so unfair [and then I began to] question whether things had meaning. But, it was a sophomoric kind of questioning. It wasn't anything that was intellectual in its nature. And time passed, and that doubt passed.

Your father tried to kill you a few years before he died. How has that incident affected your life and your faith?

The attempt came before he was in the home. When [my wife and I] moved west, one of the benefits of it was [we were] 3,000 miles from my father. I thought, "At last, I've got some distance here. The phone calls won't come at 2:00 in the morning that he's in some kind of trouble or he's too drunk [and] they won't let him leave a bar and get in his car and somebody has to come get him.

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However, his health took a turn for the worse, and we had to bring him west and support him for 14 years. It was really toward the end of that [time]—I guess he must have been about 80 [with] the first attempt. He pulled a knife on me on two different occasions. The second time was in a retirement home. The first time made it necessary for him to go on anti-psychotics. He didn't need to be in a nursing home, but he needed to be under some supervision where we could be assured he was taking the anti-psychotics, that somebody was monitoring this. He was taking them in that retirement home. He couldn't drive anymore, but he could walk to the shopping center across the street. It was not a facility to which he was restricted. What nobody knew was that he was developing an immunity to the drug, or it was having the opposite effect, as sometimes these things do.

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The second attempt was in front of a lot of witnesses, and that ended up—after he was committed to a psychiatric ward— requiring that then he spend time thereafter in a restricted facility.

It certainly affects your life. What more affected the life was his presence in it up until that moment. In my childhood he—especially when he was very drunk—would threaten to kill us all, my mother, me and himself. As a kid I assumed sooner or later that would happen. Then, I grew up and it hadn't happened, and I felt guilty about that. I felt like, as awful as he is and all the terrible things he's done, I was putting upon him a heavier weight of evil perhaps than he actually carried.

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By Dena Ross

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