There is park just down the street that is perfect for children. It has a playground full of swings and sand, a pond that is home to many beautiful ducks, and open spaces covered with plenty of green grass.  Despite this, until last week Heather and I had never taken Annabel there. That is because the park is where Heather and I took Maddie on the last Saturday we ever had together.

That last Saturday Maddie had a great time riding the swing, and I had just as much fun watching her giggle and smile.

Once finished with the swing we sat Maddie down on a bench in front of the duck pond…


… so that she could watch the ducks and squeal, “Duckies!”

It was a pleasant, simple afternoon. The kind that, had things turned out differently, would have faded from my memory because it would have been just like so many others.

Last week, when we finally took Annie to the park, we started on the swings just as we did with Maddie. Like her sister, Annie loved it.

However, upon trying to take Annie to the duck pond, we found this:


The pond had been drained for repairs, and it was surrounded by a chain link fence that kept people out.

Heather and I peered through the fence at the bench Maddie sat on that last Saturday. It was now peeling and weather beaten.

We stood there a sad moment before turning away. The irony that we literally couldn’t go back to that happy place with Maddie wasn’t lost on us, but neither of us mentioned it. Instead we choked back tears and took Annie to play elsewhere in the park, hopeful that that day would soon be forgotten among so many others.