12-year-old Tennessee girl dies unexpectedly, family comforted by letter she wrote herself

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -- The family of a 12-year-old girl who unexpectedly passed away found a heartwarming letter the girl sent to her future self.

Taylor Scout Smith died on Jan. 5 from pneumonia complications.

"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, told WJHL-TV .

After her death, her mother, father and brother were sorting through her things when they stumbled across a gift.

The young girl had written a letter to her 22-year-old future self, not knowing she would never be able to read it.

It begins, "To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023 only unless said otherwise."

This was one of those "otherwise" situations.

"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 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."

Taylor's father told Fox 4 , “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.”

Friends and family told Tennessee media outlets that Taylor was an "old soul" and "had her priorities in order."

The ambitious middle schooler will be remembered for all that she did. Taylor's father said since her death, he has become more aware of his daughter's impact on other people.

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