I wish I could say I understood everything that was happening to us, had happened to us, but, I'm not even sure I understand it yet. It took Abby and I eight years to decide we wanted to marry, and even before we had a chance to experience that new-found joy, fate once again decided the bond between us needed tested. Before we could even embark on our honeymoon I received a call that my father had been diagnosed with Cancer, half a world away his life was falling apart, what could I do but go to him?
I know I didn't hesitate to say I would be there when I received that call, on hindsight, I should have at least discussed it with Abby, but, at the time I never even thought that far. Within hours I had booked my flight to Croatia, there was no choice of Abby joining me, we couldn't leave Joe, and he didn't have a passport so we couldn't take him with us. All I could do was go by myself, after all, how long could it take to make the arrangements to bring him back here and get him the treatment he needed?
I had been away from my father for too many years, forgotten how strong-willed he was, stubborn even, and despite the benefits that coming to the States might bring to him, he refused to leave his home and his friends. I was torn, frustrated, what was I supposed to do, I couldn't abandon him in the condition he was in, but, by staying at his side I was in a sense abandoning my wife and son.
In those first weeks I was away, Abby tried to be supportive, but, as the weeks turned into months and my father's condition worsened I noticed a change in her, the tone of our phone calls changed, and far too many ended in harsh words that neither of us meant. I wish I could have understood what was happening to her during those months I was away, I wish I could have known how difficult things were for her as she struggled to balance her career and the care of our young son. I know she tried to tell me, but, with all that was happening with my father I just didn't hear her, and for that I will never forgive myself.
There was more though, I knew what Abby's past was like, I know how hard things have been for her, why didn't I realize that things might become too much for her? Why didn't I realize that she might look for a way to escape from the stress? By the time I finally came home the Abby I had left was gone, replaced by a woman who was hiding too many secrets, and those secrets were eating her up inside.
I know now that I shouldn't have brought my brother back with me when I came back, but, I so badly wanted Abby to meet him, I wanted to share a part of the family I had been estranged from for almost ten years. If I had hoped to find any measure of happiness in our reunion I was mistaken, I should have come back alone, but, I didn't realize there were so many secrets being kept on her side, and there was so much distance on my own.
The news of my father's death only further compounded things and I'd no sooner arrived home then it was clear that I would need to leave again, this time though I would not be going alone. As difficult as it was, Abby somehow found the strength to confess about her drinking relapse, but, in doing so she created a rift between us that I am struggling to overcome. While I might be able to forgive her drinking, I cannot forgive those times when her drinking endangered thelife of our son, and that in itself is why Joe is returning to Croatia with me while she checks herself into Rehab. We have so much work to do, and I have to believe that our love is strong enough to get us through this, if one thing above all else allows me to rise above the frustration that this brings, that's it.
I will never forgive myself for the years of self-imposed separation I put between my father and I. I will never forgive myself for denying him the chance to know my new wife, and the grandson he thought he would never again have. I will never forgive myself for the pain I caused him because of the words that Niko and I had when I left Croatia for America all those years ago. As much as I cannot forgive myself for in respect to my father though, I know it is not too late for Abby and I, and it is for that reason that I will count the days until she can join Joe and I in Croatia when her Rehab ends. When we spoke our vows to each other, we pledged to remain together for better or worse, I have to believe those words meant something then, but, more importantly, I have to believe they mean even more now, for whatever reason all of this has happened I know we can make this work, we have to.