Originally published in Stepparent Magazine December 12, 2018 / Revised September 16, 2023
Somewhere along the way we made a conscious choice to preserve ourselves. To cut them loose. To let them go. For good.
No more war. No more deceit. No more what ifs.
It was freeing. And painful. And soul wrenching.
And there are days I can’t begin to comprehend their loss. I’m raw and sad and inconsolable.
I retrace every decision. Every conversation. Every emotion.
I cling to my keyboard and pour my desperation into white, empty sheets. Hoping my words will find reckoning in a pain that has still barely taken hold.
To many it seems incomprehensible, cold and bitter. Some have disowned our friendship, believing the decision to preserve is selfish. Others are compassionate, knowing they could never endure such loss.
To voluntarily walk away from one’s own flesh and blood and leave them in the hands of destruction.
To endure a 10 year race without as much as a consolation prize.
Seems heartless and indifferent.
Perhaps that’s the place one has to come to in order to fold.
The end of what one truly wants. Happiness. Love. Foundation. Family. Memories. Future. Hope.
And still there are many that keep their distance, believing her savage tongue.
I can’t help but wonder had they been pushed to the brink, accused of heinous lies, called vicious names and targeted for destruction if they would still be standing.
I’m sure they’re better Christians than I. Handling all trials with ease, never fretting about imposters eating at their dinner table or spies living in their home intent on betrayal.
Of course, everyone knows their way through your tragedy until it becomes their own.
Never stop fighting, we believed.
It was our mantra. What kept us going. The belief that we were saving them from her trickery and evil. The belief that removing them would somehow convince them to turn a corner.
And then one day, the unimaginable happens. The child becomes the accuser.
The pawn is now the prodigy.
Now, so much pain ahead.
A thousand holidays left to go uncelebrated.
Graduations still to miss. And grandchildren to never meet.
Oceans of tears yet to fall.
And millions of memories yet to forget.
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Photo: Robin Joshua