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Thread: Before yesterday I had not seen my daughter in five years

  1. #1

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    May 2019
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    Before yesterday I had not seen my daughter in five years

    Hello please forgive my writing as English as not my first language.

    My name is Peter, I am 26 years old and have a 5 year old daughter. I live in Asia and want to give some background. In my last year of high school I began dating my wife. I am sorry if I get wordy now as I can feel the overwhelming pain washing over me. When I started dating my wife my world was very empty. My mother died when I was a child and my father fell into a deep depression and alcoholism. My life at home was very unstable. I was not dealing well with my mother's death in my own way and by the time I was 17 it seemed inevitable that I would be a loser. I was not doing well in school (there is very lots of pressure to be a good student where I live), I had no close friends, and I would go months at a time without accomplishing a single goal or having even 1 productive day. When I met my wife she was repeating her final year due to illness she had experienced. She was very kind to me. She introduced me to things I am passionate about today like music and ice hockey and she introduced me to many eventual friends who made my last year of high school the best one by far. My grades even went up.

    My dad was arrested shortly before graduation and I moved in with my wife's family for the next few months. I was able to find work as an electrical technician (because of a connection my wife introduced me to in high school!) and eventually rented a nice place and moved out. My wife and I married the next year and a couple years later she became pregnant. We were overjoyed. As the pregnancy progressed my wife became more and more ill and our doctor recommended terminating. We discussed it at length and I tried to persuade her but ultimately she recovered her health somewhat and decided to birth my daughter. My wife died shortly after giving birth.

    I am not proud to admit that when my wife died I succumbed to a deep depression. I became the person I was before we met. The only thing I was able to grind myself through every day was work. In the last 5 years I have seen my daughter only a handful of times as she lives with the parents of my wife. I saw my mother in law a couple weeks ago and she persuaded me to go on a family trip with her, her husband and my daughter. After she invited me I actually went home and cried because for a moment it felt like I was back in their family, with my wife and all. I took a day off work (yesterday) so that we could take the trip. When I arrived at their home they were not there, only two train tickets and my daughter. They said they would meet us there but I had my doubts.

    The train ride was very awkward. It pains me to say that I do not know my daughter very well. When we arrived in the countryside I bought her a small toy at the station as she seemed a little bored and I thought it might help end the awkwardness. We went to a nearby bay, I had been to the same one with my wife and our friends in high school. My daughter loved it. I taught her how to swim, we built sand sculptures, we even caught some frogs in the nearby fields. I had a great time as well. As I rested on the sand watching her play I noticed her become confused and run back to me. She lost her toy. We looked and looked but could not find it, I think it must have fallen into the ocean? When I told her I would buy her another one, she wanted to keep looking. We looked for a while longer but still nothing. I assured her I wasn't mad and that it was ok. She told me that's not why she wanted to find it, but rather she wanted to find it because it was the first thing her daddy had bought her. It was the first time she had ever called me that and I don't have the english words to describe how it made me feel. At this moment I realized just how horrible and disgusting I am. I am no better than my father. I am failing my daughter the same way he failed me and that is not fair to my daughter, my in-laws, but especially to me and my wife and the promises and dreams we had made.

    When we got back to our room she began asking me about her mother. I could not stop the tears from flowing here. We cried together and I let her know that sometimes it is ok to cry and apologized if seeing me cry had scared her. We talked about her mother for hours, watching her face light up as she learned about her gave me a fulfilling feeling stronger than any one I had ever had before. We got back home today and I dropped her off with my in-laws to go to work. I am having tea with them tomorrow as I feel I need to talk to them.

    My whole life feels wasted. I cannot believe how blind I have been. I cannot believe I have become exactly what I vowed to never become. I am financially stable and there is room for my daughter where I live. I want my daughter to live with me (I'm sure my in-laws probably do too) but I do not want to do this too fast and appear reckless. Tomorrow I am planning to ask them if it would be alright if I started to see my daughter every day but how do I progress to eventually asking them if I can have custody again? I am not sure how to know when the time is right? I am not sure how long I should wait before they trust me?

    I am at a loss and do not know what to do. This is very hard on your own afterall. I know I only have me to blame for my circumstances though. What do you think? Should I just make my intentions known and allow us to move at their pace? Or should I not even bring up the word custody in the foreseeable future?

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    For now, I would just spend every day with your daughter and enjoy her company. Over time their trust will build with you.

    I wouldn't want to panic them. You have all been through an ordeal. Remember, they lost their daughter when you lost your wife.

    Prove to yourself you can be the man your daughter needs you to be before asking them about custody arrangements. Who knows, they may even offer after some time without you asking.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I'm sorry for this terrible loss of your wife. What matters is what you do going forward. I would consider moving closer to your in-laws so that you have their support and help looking after your daughter when you need to go to work. This is if you aren't living close to them yet. I believe your bond with your daughter will help you heal. You are right that she needs you. She deserves having a father or parent in her life. This comes with time.

    I would not bring up any big or drastic moves/decisions right now. A lot of emotions are going through you and this outing just happened yesterday. Build on your relationship with your daughter in close proximity and let it come naturally in the next year or so. I would speak with your in-laws about how you feel and see what kind of arrangements you three can come up with. They may have better ideas and options on how to work things out with you so that you can spend more time with her. Make sure you are truly ready even in terms of work commitments and vacations and where you stand regarding your dating/love life - stay away from big ups and downs and if your dating life is volatile or unpredictable or you're fresh out of a relationship this isn't a good time. If you're seeing anyone right now, you might want to think over it a bit carefully in terms of the logistics. Go over the reasons why you felt you weren't able to raise her in the beginning as painful as it may be. This may cause you to revisit painful issues but I think it's necessary and your daughter deserves 100% of you. It would be difficult or her to lose you again a second time if you choose to let her stay with your in-laws again at some point in the future. Kids don't just eat, sleep and go to school. She'll want to be with friends and play with you and eventually she'll make friends and there'll be play dates. She'll be ill and cranky sometimes and hate you other times and some days you'll roll your eyes and wonder what the heck you were thinking when you decided to bring a child into the world or what living hell this is when she tests your patience. She won't be good at everything but it's your job to help her feel good about herself and comfortable in making something of herself. Being a single parent is difficult- no lie there and I wouldn't sugarcoat it for you. If you're ready to give your life to raising your daughter, put your heart and soul into it. Don't be afraid to speak to your in-laws. I'm not feeling any ill feeling on their part and you're right - it seems like they are more than willing to see you rebuild your relationship with your daughter.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
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    Your story is heart wrenching. I am so sorry that you have had to deal with so much.

    I suggest that you spend time with her on a daily basis. Give it some time, then discuss your desire on having your daughter live with you.

    Focus on the future. This is what is best for your girl.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member shellyf62's Avatar
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    Your Parents in Law are amazing for organising the meeting for you with your Daughter.
    It sounds like things will come together over time.
    Dont rush anything, just get to know your Daughter & let her get to know you.
    Take care

  7. #6
    Bronze Member WaywardKiwi's Avatar
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    Hi Peter,

    Firstly, your English is fantastic and your post very well written.

    Second, you are not horrible or disgusting. You have regrets. Thats ok. You have honestly been things I personally cannot imagine, and your desire to stand back up and build something better is inspirational.

    Finally, I really have nothing to add to the very good advice above, other than I deeply and truly hope that you can continue on this brighter path and have an opportunity to be the man you want to be for yourself and your daughter (and I feel in your heart you truly are).

    Best of luck,
    T


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