06/17/2013 09:58 am ET Updated Aug 16, 2013

Daddy's Arms

Daddy I want to say thank you for being the best dad
I know I made you happy and at times I made you sad.
Daddy you are the very best dad a girl could ask for.
Thanks for welcoming me home and opening your door.
Daddy I wanted to be with you on my final days on Earth.
It is your arms that I recall that have held me since my birth.
Daddy I want to remind you that I am never very far away.
God will send you angels and guide you each and every day.
Daddy I will miss your touch, your arms so big and strong.
Remember me when you hear the music we loved in song.
Daddy I did the work God called me to when I was with you.
Now it is your turn to continue what we both know to be true.
Daddy I will always be your little girl who loved your arms.
God is now my protector and I will be kept from all harm.
Daddy continue to reach out and be a reflection of God's love.
Peace is truly possible, God's symbol is found in the dove.

This is a poem I wrote for a man whom I now call a great friend. Just over a year ago I attended a Celebrate Recovery meeting in Venice, Florida and I was introduced to Jon Priestap. One month earlier he had found his 26-year-old daughter dead in the shower due to a drug overdose. I had never met Catlin, yet I felt as though I knew her. A couple of nights later we met and he shared some of his experiences with Catlin and her journal, as she had always wanted to be a writer. He wanted to be able to share her dreams with someone who understood the path of becoming a writer. He wished I had been able to meet Catlin in person. Neither of us had any idea of what the future might hold for either of us.

The next day I went to Starbucks to write as I often do, and suddenly I heard this voice in my head say "open a new document." You have to understand that I was raised fundamentalist Baptist and as far as I was concerned this didn't really happen, especially to someone like me. Several times I ignored the voice and then I finally gave in, opened a new document and the above poem flowed freely from my fingers on to the keyboard. I was both shocked and surprised. That evening when I got home I was guided to call Jon and ask permission to share the poem. You have to remember, I had never met Catlin. I read the poem to him and there was silence and then crying. I held a space of love and allowed him the time to share his thoughts and feelings about the poem. He was in awe and comforted. Since then I have been gifted with eight poems from Catlin that always seem to arrive at just the right time for Jon, who gives the greatest hugs with his loving arms. Jon, thank you for coming into my life and for giving me permission to share Daddy's Arms with the world.

For more by Trina Hayes, click here.

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