Just days after 12-year-old Taylor Smith died, her parents found a sealed envelope containing a letter she had written to her 22-year-old self.
Taylor Smith died of pneumonia on January 5.
“To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023 only unless said otherwise,” Taylor Smith had written on the envelope of the letter in April 2013.
“Sorry, baby, we opened it,” her father, Tim Smith, told WJHL TV station, before reading it aloud with a sometimes-quavering voice.
“Dear Taylor, how’s life? Life is pretty simple 10 years in your past. I know I’m late for you, but as I’m writing this early, so: congratulations on graduating high school! If you didn’t, go back and keep trying. Get that degree! … Do you have your own place yet? If we’re in college, what are we majoring in? Right now I wanna be a lawyer.”
The letter also addresses the importance of prayer and religious missions (Taylor Smith was, like her family, a devout Christian), Dollywood, her iPad (with a drawing of it attached) and the show Dr. Who.
The last, heartbreaking line reads: “Well, I think that’s all, but remember it’s been 10 years since I wrote this. Stuff has happened, good and bad. That’s just how life works, and you have to go with it.”
Tim Smith talked with WJHL about his feelings of grief.
“Initially it’s shock and waves of depression, and hoping that it’s not real, and hoping that every time you take a nap or go to sleep you find out it wasn’t real,” he says.
But, he added: “If it’s God’s time, it’s God’s time, and he loved her more than we could ever love her. So much so that he said <<Come on>>. A lot of people are probably wondering why it’s so easy for a father who just lost his daughter to say something like that, to not curse God, to not hate God. The only thing I can say is that right now it’s easy for me to trust God because my baby girl trusted him.”
Tim Smith told Buzz Feed: “She liked doing quirky things and she liked doing meaningful things, she always created stuff. The fact that she wrote this letter wasn’t a surprise, but what she wrote was.”
A huge turnout of friends and surviving family members, which include older brother, Judah, celebrated Taylor Smith’s life at a church memorial service Wednesday.
Shortly beforehand, Tim Smith posted a message on his daughter’s Facebook page.
“I just wanted to write this so that ALL of her friends, not just the ones who know her parents, would know that Taylor loved you all immensely! If you knew her at all you know that she was never fake. So if you made it into her list of friends here on Facebook, then believe me, you were a friend,” the post reads.
“Thanks for loving our daughter/sister.”