I look at the pictures of us painting the play set just six years ago. I remember how happy and full of hope we all were. The kids were so young, and we were all a bit naive. But we had love and I was confident life would be kind to us.
The play set is rotted now and with great sadness the decision to get rid of it was made. What happened? We took it for granted that it would always be there even without our attention and dedication. We allowed outside forces to influence it's stability. We stopped caring for it.
I've wailed, cried, begged, pleaded, bargained and argued. All to no avail. There were nights I couldn't take the thought of the only life I've ever known ending that I considered ending my own life. But that's not me. I am in a kind of pain I never experienced before, but I won't abandon those who do still love me, want me, need me and depend on me. I can't be that horribly selfish to just walk away from a rotted mess. I will find a way to heal the rot.
If nothing else, the past 25 years have taught me that love is a choice. Every day we wake up, we have a choice to make whether to love or not. I'm not going to claim that I chose love every day. Too many days I chose not to allow it. But when push comes to shove, always choose love. Always.
There's a big empty void now both in my backyard and in my life. My heart physically aches when I look at it. It's a big open space and I have no idea what, if anything, can or will fill it.
Most of the old play set sits tonight in the burn pit awaiting a bonfire. A symbolic burning of the old and a hope that a new future will arise out of the ashes. Out of destruction comes a new creation.
A reminder that there was love. And love still exists.