Thomas Joseph Smith Jr., August 18, 1958 ~ August 16, 2010.
May he rest in peace.
I'm participating in the Race for Hope in Memory of Tom. I have 11 weeks to get in shape to do the race part rather than the walk.
Race for Hope
I'd like to share something my nephew wrote about his father..
Mostly everyone who knew my dad could tell how much of an impact he made on the world. My grandmom swears that, every since he was a little kid, he changed everyone he knew. And I believe her with all of my heart, he has done everything in consideration of someone else and always helped other people, even if it cost him. Not only has he been the best father to Sierra and I, but I know he's been the greatest husband, and son, and brother, and friend to everyone else around him. My dad has been one of the most important people in my life and I know that other people will agree to the same thing. Somewhere along his travels of the world he must have stumbled upon eternal youth because before all of this started happening, he never grew up. He would always play in the pool or ride dirt bikes with us or just hang out, he was a different kind of dad. I never got embarrassed of him, he had a style all of his own and every day i was proud to call him my dad. Another thing that he found that most can only hope to find some day, is true love. I have never seen any two more in love than my parents, anyone who knows them will agree to that without a doubt.
To me he was the perfect role model. He taught me everything that I've tried to be. Kind, Friendly, Helpful, a Leader. Through his example I've seen that life can be enjoyed without things like drinking or smoking. Never once has he done that and I've seen him have more fun than most of the people I know. My dad is more than just a role model or a great father to me. He's one of my best friends. All my life I've had him to turn to when in need and he has always been there to help. Never once has he let me down in life. We've shared so many things too, a love for xtreme sports, a love of cars and hunting...the list goes on. I could go on forever about the adventures we've had together. We almost died when we were on top of a mountain during a lightning storm. We've had some of the most incredible stories and I've always been so glad to tell people that: "yeah, that's my dad." Of all the people who have admired his strength and kindness over the years I am still his biggest fan, I've lived watching him and wanted to be like him from the very beginning. I still hope that some day I can be as amazing a father to my kids as he's been to me. He's the greatest dad to ever live in my eyes.
And now on to the sad part (sorry i need to let out my emotions somehow so you all know how I feel about this). Over the past year since he was diagnosed (July 17) and had his first surgery (July 23), I've had a lot of time to thing about how things might turn out in the end. Now with the end not far from sight, I know what I am going to face someday. I realize that my dad won't be there to watch me graduate high school or college. Or to see me get married. Or walk Sierra down the aisle. He wont be there to know or watch our grandkids, they'll be born not ever knowing the great man that i call "dad." It shakes me to my core when i think about things like this and i get so upset, but it's something I know will happen and that I must accept.
The thing is, a day wont go by where I dont think how great my father was. I'll never forget all of the amazing times we had together and all the crazy stories. Someday my kids will know that their grandfather was someone to be proud of, just like I am right now. My dad's fought this disease hard and sadly it seems like he's losing. My mom and I sit there every night and talk to him and listen to him breathe just to know it's still happening. Every single night I tell him I love him and how he's the greatest dad in the world. I hope everyone got a little something out of reading this and now knows a little bit of how i feel about life right now. Looking at old pictures of him make me laugh and cry at the same time because I know how amazing he has been his whole life but i'm gonna miss him every day he's gone from mine.
Everyone do me a favor if you can, leave a comment. Show my dad your love because I know my mom will read this to him and then he'll know how truly loved he is by everyone. Even if you dont know my dad, just extend out a little love towards me and my family, like this or comment on it. Every day we fight this disease together and the more love we get, the less it hurts to keep going. One more thing, if you can: please go hug your dad right now just to let him know how much you love him and how fortunate you are for having him in your life. No matter how close or distant you are, nothing is greater than a father's love for his kids. I love you Dad, I couldn't have asked for a better father. You're the greatest.
He never learned how to grow up. But when you're having so much fun, who needs to grow up?
Rest In Peace Dad, you'll remain forever in our hearts.
August 18, 1958 ~ August 16, 2010