JOHNSON CITY, TN (CNN) -- A 12-year-old girl wrote a letter, hoping to offer some advice to her future self. That girl died last weekend, and her parents say her letter now offers them comfort.
Her dad Tim Smith said, "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."
On Jan. 5, Tim and his wife Ellen faced a reality no parent can ever prepare for. He said, "If it's God's time, it's God's time, and he loved her more than we could ever love her. So much that he just said, 'Come on.'"
He goes on to say, "A lot of people are probably wondering why it's so easy for a father who's 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 I know that my baby girl trusted him."
Tim says his baby girl always had big plans for her future. He said, "Things I would like to do when I grow up. I would always like to sail the great oceans of India ... and climb mountains and shout out with joy."
Since Sunday, smith said family and friends have filled he and Ellen's hearts with joy telling stories about Taylor. Tim said, "She showed me how God loves. She didn't see anything on the exterior; she only saw the inside. She only looked at what was best about you. I'm more determined now to find what God's will is. Right now you're even seeing a glimpse of what God's will was: 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 was worth it."
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. Tim reads, "To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023, only unless said otherwise."
It's a letter written by 12-year-old Taylor just months ago to her 22-year-old self. Tim reads, "Dear Taylor, how's life? Life is pretty simple 10 years in your past. Congratulations on graduating high school. If you didn't, go back and keep trying. Get that degree. 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. Tm reads, "...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.