“Yes, it was. Many of us became obsessed with our achievements in the corporate world. Lily would have to endure many late dinners, single parenting, last minute cancellations and countless hours of office soap opera analysis. When it came to the homestead, I would give some superficial attention to some weekly events. As far as Olivia was concerned, I managed to connect with her on weekends. We always got along well, partly because our personalities are similar and partly because I was a novelty, given her mother did all the discipline and trouble shooting of the daily issues. I guess you would say I was like a Disney Dad, but we were not divorced. You know, for all those years, Lilly was always patient and never complained. Then after Olivia moved out for school and subsequently work, Lilly ended up with breast cancer. The day I heard the news it was like a ton of bricks fell on my head. I was in shock. It suddenly hit me that Lilly could be gone. My foundation, my support, the love of my life might be gone! Then the guilt settled in as I questioned myself as to how much support I gave her. At first I rationalized I gave her everything her heart desired. After spending hours with her at appointments and treatments, we would talk. It was then that I started to question my existence. I had given my family all the money and prestige they could want, but I hadn’t given them what they and I really needed, attention. Lilly had given to me endlessly while I took all I could get. I was so wrapped up in my work ego I forgot about my role as a husband and present father. It pains me to say this, but I sometimes wonder if I was a partial cause of her illness.” Frank’s voice started to quiver as he quickly looked away and up at the sky, hoping to keep any tears from splashing over his stinging lower lids.
Lily’s heart ached for his pain and guilt. She knew that he was a man who thought he had acted his whole life out of love and service to his family. The problem was he rationalized much of his behavior to justify his own ego and need for fulfillment. He realized this too late.