The 12 Promises #5
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
I haven't been up to blogging since last month. During the interim, a good friend of mine in the fellowship passed away. She died a couple of days before I drove to South Carolina to visit my daughters and play a few gigs. I was unable to attend her memorial and funeral. She was 34 years old. My inability to pay my last respects saddens me. I last saw her and her 10 y/o daughter together and enjoying one another's company. The same daughter she fought so hard to receive unsupervised visitation with and was finally granted not long before she departed. I remember sharing my experience of jumping through hoops and being under the scrutiny of a magistrate that didn't know me nor the depth of my love for my children. Previous to meeting her, I had thought the whole justice system had it in for all fathers. I had never known a mother that didn't have primary and/or residential custody of the children. Especially a daughter. I shared my experience in dealing with the court system and I learned that we both had similar feelings of despair and unworthiness associated with the ever multiplying requirements to see our own children. I could only tell her what my sponsor had told me during this difficult time in my life. He simply told me to continue following the magistrates requests and conditions even if I didn't agree with them. Most importantly, he told me to Stay Sober! He told me that he couldn't tell the future or whether or not I would ever have visitation with my daughters but he guaranteed that if I picked up a drink or a drug then I might as well forget the whole thing. He told me to pray, practice patience and to work on being the father my daughters would be proud to have. I followed his direction and in 2003 I was granted unsupervised visitation with my daughters. My ex-wife left Cleveland with our two daughters in 2001 during one of my weekend stays in Cleveland Hts'. jail. I didn't know where she had gone or where she had taken the girls for over a month or so. I cannot begin to describe the mental anguish and resentment I felt at that time. Little did I realize that my experience would help another; years later. No matter how far down the scale I had gone, I eventually saw how my experience benefited another.
Rest in Peace, Shay...