"This isn't a movie, this is my life, my daughters gone," Taylor - WJTV News Channel 12

"This isn't a movie, this is my life, my daughters gone," Taylor Smith's Dad on the media attention after his daughter's death

Posted: Updated:
JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) -

Last week we brought you the story of Taylor Smith, a 12-year-old Johnson City girl who recently died as a result of complications related to pneumonia.

After her death her parents found a letter she wrote to her future 22 year old self to be read in 10 years filled with wise words well beyond her 12 years, encouraging her future self to get her degree, and stay strong in her faith, and of course asking when the last time she went to Dollywood was.

News Channel 11 was the first to bring you the story you can watch the original story and see Taylor's full letter to herself here. Since then Taylor's story has been shared around the world, and news sources from Buzz Feed to the Today Show, to CNN have picked it up.

Smith says Taylor writing a letter to herself didn't surprise them about their thoughtful daughter, it was what was in the letter, "The fact that she wrote a letter like that was nothing new, but what she wrote in the letter was profound and amazing and has helped to light a fire within me, and light a fire within the family, and begin to see what God wants to do with the whole thing as a whole," Smith said.

Smith says his and his wife Ellen's strength to keep sharing Taylor's story during this time is nothing short of a miracle.

"I'd like to punch everything that I possibly could and get mad at God, but I just can't and to me that is the miracle, that he's using us to speak out for Taylor about the things that she loved," Smith said. "This isn't just a news story, this isn't something that went viral, this isn't a movie, this is my life, my daughters gone, she'll never touch my face again, she'll never read to me again, she'll never write another letter again."

Millions have now heard Taylor's story, but the Smith's are the only ones who have to live it.

"Were just being used by God, which is what we'd asked for and sometimes what you'd asked for doesn't come the way that you thought it would come. And sometimes that road is rough, and it's not paved with gold and it's not all happy sunshine, but yet God is still doing something," Smith said. "He used Taylor and he's still using her now and we've been blessed to be used as well."

Smith said in the past week letters, calls, Facebook posts, and emails from all around the world have flooded in.

People sharing how Taylor's story has touched their lives.

"It helps us to know that there's a purpose in all of this, even through the sadness and through the pain there's a purpose."

One of those letters was from a 22-year-old in law school.

"You would know if you read [Taylor's letter] that Taylor wanted to be a lawyer and she would have been 22 when she read it, so in a weird way it feels like it's future Taylor reading it, but it impacted her life so much and that just meant everything to us. She was able to connect with the story and connect with God again. So who knows what will spark from that, Taylor's this little spark that's starting fires worldwide so we can't help but love that," Smith said.

He read a portion of the law student's letter to me, "Your daughter made me realize that my avoidance of God and religion was not an issue with him but a fear within me, fear of getting it wrong, of being inadequate and most of all fear of what such a commitment would mean for my life and my heart, but Taylor's story has also shown me that living in fear is no way to spend your one precious life.

The Smith's church, Hosanna Fellowship Church, got a letter from someone who's in jail for breaking in to the church last year.

"I am the 19-year-old who broke in to your church, I realize what I did was wrong and the reason I did it was wrong, my heart breaks for the girl in your church youth group who passed away, she seems like a very special and inspirational child of God, I want you to know that only three weeks ago I accepted Jesus in to my heart. I also understand that even thought the Lord forgave me I still have a responsibility to pay for all the damage I did, so when this is over I'd like to help out around your church," The letter said.

Smith says there's one main thing that's driving this spark around the world.

"More than anything they're drawn to the hope that Taylor had and the light that she was trying to share with her future self and had no idea that it was going to be with the world. We've been calling her the unlikely missionary. It's like her story has done what she wanted to do it's spreading the gospel," Smith said.

Smith told News Channel 11 he's noticed that some of the national coverage of his daughter's death left out the emphasis on her Christian faith, which he said his daughter would consider the most important part.

Smith said he wants the world to know the whole story - and faith is huge part of that.

Copyright 2014 WJHL. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1820 TV Road
Jackson, MS 39204

Telephone: 601.372.6311
Fax: 804.819.5569
Email: wjtvnews@wjtv.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.