Wednesday night, friends and family of 12-year-old Taylor Scout Smith will gather to celebrate her life.
Taylor, a student at Liberty Bell Middle School in Johnson City, passed away Sunday from complications with pneumonia, leaving behind a mom, dad, and older brother.
"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," Taylor's Dad Tim Smith said.
On January 5th Smith and his wife Ellen faced a reality no parent can ever prepare for.
"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.'" Smith said. "A lot of people are probably wondering why it's so easy for a father whose 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."
Since Sunday, Smith said family and friends have filled he and Ellen's hearts with joy telling stories about Taylor.
"You see all the other things that she's done that you didn't know about, things at youth group, things at school, things where she just touched people's lives in ways that are unbelievable," Smith said. "I'm more determined now to find what God's will is, and right now you're even seeing a glimpse of what God's will is, all the people that are being touched by what's going on, you know if even that changes the course of someone's life I know Taylor would say it's worth it."
"She's just a perfect example of what it is to love God and to love people," Smith said."She showed me how God loves, she didn't see anything on the exterior she only saw the inside and what was best about you."
Taylor's Mom and Dad have been going through boxes from her room, filled with poems, journals and letters of encouragement she'd written to people but hadn't given them yet.
One of those letters is to someone who will never get to open it.
"To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023 only unless said otherwise," Smith read from a letter written by 12-year-old Taylor just months ago to her 22-year-old self.
The letter reads, "Dear Taylor, how's life? Life is pretty simple 10 years in your past, I know I'm late for you, but 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 want to be a lawyer."
The letter goes on with words of wisdom and advice beyond her twelve years.
The last 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."
Advice she intended to look back on, advice her parents say now keeps them looking forward.
Taylor's mom Ellen Smith works at George Washington Elementary School in Kingsport. When people she works with at school heard about Taylor, they came up with the money to completely cover the cost of the funeral.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday night at Hosanna Fellowship Church at 715 Sunset Dr. in Johnson City at 7pm. Receiving of friends will start at 6pm.
Hosanna Fellowship Church is accepting donations for Taylor's memorial fund.
To find out more or to donate you can call the church office at (423) 477-0774.
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