When Abby told me that she had relapsed I excepted that a portion of the responsibility for that should rest on my shoulders. When we spoke our vows we agreed to be there for each other and yet, here had come a time when clearly, neither of us had been there for the other at a time when both should have been.
In an ideal world when I first received the news of my father's illness I should have taken both my wife and my son back with me to Croatia to be with him. I had no idea at the time how severe my father's illness was, I had no indication of what might be required of me, but, I do know it was unfair of me to just up and leave Abby and Joe alone, especially so soon in our marriage.
I wonder too if part of my guilt in having left Abby and Joe behind is in knowing that my father never had a chance to meet my wife, or his grandson. If I mourned the loss of my first wife and children openly, my father did the same privately, it was simply the kind of man he was. The rift that their death's had caused between my brother and I was one that I thought would never heal, and I think that too was something that my father agonized over.
In those first months of being alone in Croatia with my father and brother I found we were finally able to resolve many of the differences that had been built up over the years of separation. In a way, it was as if my father's illness made us realize just how important the ties between us were, and I suppose that also made me realize just how much I missed Abby and Joe.
There are never any easy choices in life it seems and when I made the decision to remain at my father's side I think I realized it could cause problems between Abby and I. I knew though that whatever difficulties might come out of my decision, Abby and I would have time to work through them. That it was not something I would have enough of with my father became clear when Niko and I returned to Chicago.
I should have realized that it was too risky for us to leave him, but, I missed Abby and Joe, I guess too that I wanted to share my new life with my brother. After all those years of my telling him I would never find anyone who made me feel like Danijela did, after all those years of being a father without a child, everything was falling into place, or so I thought, if only I had realized what was waiting for us in Chicago. If only we had known that the good-byes we had said to our father were the last we would ever say to him.
I can only hope that these things, like those before can be resolved, that all that is wrong can be made right. At the moment all I can do is reassure Abby that we will be here for her when her treatment is finished, and once we are reunited, then, our work as a family can begin.