Girl's Letter to Her Future Self, Written Months Before She Died, Goes Viral

UPDATED 01/20/2014 at 07:30 PM EST Originally published 01/20/2014 at 01:00 PM EST

Taylor Smith: Read the 12-Year-Old Girl's Heartbreaking Letter to Herself
Taylor Smith, seen in a webcam photo
Courtesy Taylor Smith/Facebook
At 12, what goals did you have for your life?

For Taylor Smith, of Johnson City, Tenn., it was simple: Go to college, travel outside the country, keep God in her life – and watch a lot of Doctor Who.

Smith outlined these plans in a letter she wrote to her future self in April 2013, which she kept in a box in her room with the instruction "To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 12, 2023 only (unless said otherwise)."

The letter stayed there, hidden, for the rest of her life. Months after writing it, Smith died of complications from a sudden onset of pneumonia.

Her grieving parents found the letter while sorting through her possessions. Warmed by the memories of their daughter, Tim and Mary Ellen Smith decided to post it online, in the hopes that it would give others some solace.

Girl's Letter to Her Future Self, Written Months Before She Died, Goes Viral| Around the Web

Taylor Smith's letter to her future self

Courtesy Tim Smith / Facebook

In the letter, Taylor Smith wrote to her 22-year-old self like an old friend. "I know I'm late to you, but as I'm writing, this is early, so: congratulations on graduating high school! If you didn't, go back and keep trying. Get that degree!"

She also implored the future Taylor to stay a Christian and keep watching Doctor Who (if it was still on the air). She closed with remembrances of what things were like in 2013, a description of the newest ride at Dollywood and a diagram of an iPad to show her children.

"Don't forget to tell your kids that we're older than the tablet!" she wrote.

Taylor's parents hope that the letter acts a time capsule to show the world how loving, trusting and hopeful Taylor was in life.

"I can't physically resurrect her, I can't bring her back, but I'm so grateful people have been inspired by her story," Mary Ellen told Today.

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