Sunday, March 8, 2009

Prompt 39.3. Burn the midnight oil/ On The Couch

One of the issues that has repeatedly posed problems in my relationship with Abby, since the very beginning have been my feelings toward my first wife.

Danijela and I met when we were both very young and we immediately fell in love. As far as either of us were concerned we knew from that first moment that we were destined to spend the rest of our lives together and as soon as Danijela turned 18, we were married. I entered medicine because I not only wanted to help people, but, to give my family the life I felt they deserved. When first Jasna arrived, and years later, Marko, I knew that the sacrifices we'd been forced to make for my career were the right ones. All those hours I'd spent burning the midnight oil, my nose deep in text-books while Danijela was forced to handle the day problems of raising the children, as hard as it was, we knew it was for our children, for our family. How were either of us to know, that those same goals we had for bettering our family would instead be the means for it's destruction? That my doing what I thought was best for my family would instead end in their deaths?

It took me eight years following the loss of my family before I even thought about dating again, and even then, it was because of how much I missed being a father that led me down the path. When I started seeing Carol, I told myself it wasn't for her, it was about Kate and Tess, they needed a father in their lives, as much as I needed to be one again. I told myself I could make myself feel what I needed to feel just to be a father, but, in the end, Carol knew the truth. She knew that her life belonged with their father and I had to understand because what she felt for him, is what I still felt for Danijela.

In a way, I guess you could say Abby was a rebound the first time we got together. She made the first move. Maybe I should have taken what happened that night as a sign that we weren't ready to be together, but, I didn't and we prolonged things for over a year. I tried to tell my left I was feeling something for her, but, the truth was, I couldn't help feeling that I was cheating on Danijela when I was with her and it was only a matter of time before she saw it too. When we finally broke up, we said the ugliest things to each other, things neither of us meant, things that were only meant to hurt.

I guess it took being away from Abby for me to realize that we had more between us then I realized, because once she was gone, I missed her friendship so much. I was lost, and as a result my life began to fall apart in every sense of the word. I became someone I no longer recognized, and even worse, someone I hated. As if all of that weren't enough, I was forced to watch Abby move into another relationship and I found myself bitten by the bitterness of a jealousy I didn't know I was capable of possessing. When my attitude and my behavior began to affect my care of my patients I knew I had to do something, and that decision very nearly cost me my life.

When I returned from the Congo, I came back a different person, or, I thought I did. I learned too late that the mistake I'd made with Carol and the twins, was one I would revisit with Sam and Alex. Despite all of the changes I'd made, all of the lessons I'd learned, I still wanted to be a father, and I was willing to do whatever I needed to, in order to make that happen, or so I told myself. The truth was, I again with Sam, revisited my mistakes with Abby, and I allowed my continued love for Danijela, to affect how I related to her. I couldn't explain to Sam, anymore then I'd been able to explain to Abby, why I needed to continue to hold my feelings for Danijela so close, and in the end, it was too much for her.

My return from the Congo marked not just a transformation for me, but, for Abby as well as I brought back the news that Carter was ending his relationship with her. During the time I was recovering and later as Sam and I entered into our own relationship, we found we were able to rebuild the friendship we had all but lost. When Sam decided that what I wanted and what she wanted were too different to make things works, it seemed only natural for Abby to be there to pick up the pieces as my grief at once again losing my hopes at a family threatened to undo all of my gains.

That Abby and I are now married and have a son of our own shows just how far we both have come. We've both found ways to balance not just our lives together, but, those parts of our pasts that we know we can never let go. It's not easy, and I know we will always have times when one or the other of us may falter, but, we're trying, and I can't help but feel that this time will be forever.

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