12-Year-Old Dies Unexpectedly, Leaves Amazing Letter to Her Adult Self

Sometimes sources of comfort can come from the most unexpected places. At least that’s been the case for a grieving mom and dad in Tennessee whose 12-year-old daughter died of pneumonia on Jan. 5. Just days after Taylor Smith’s death, her parents found a sealed envelope containing a letter Taylor had written to her 22-year-old self — and its sunny, wise-beyond-her-years prose appears to be a consolation to her parents.  

“To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023 only unless said otherwise,” Taylor had printed on the envelope of the letter, written in April 2013, according to WJHL

“Sorry, baby, we opened it,” her father, Tim, told the television 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 (she 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.”

Her father talks 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 adds, “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 could not be reached by Yahoo Shine for comment, but he toldBuzzFeed, “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’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,” it reads, in part. “Thanks for loving our daughter/sister.”