Sunday, December 26, 2010

A growth spurt

It seems the Smith family has experienced a growth spurt this month.

Not a physical growth spurt but rather a maturity growth.

As many of our friends and family who already read this blog know my family has been faced with many trials and much tribulations lately. In February of 2010 my father in law was diagnosed with a rare case of colon cancer. He fought a great fight with chemo and several surgeries throughout the year but unfortuntaly for us God still wanted him for his army. Anyone who knew this man knew he was on this Earth to serve others and almost always had a warm smile on his face. His calmness added much security to this family. Carsyn will probably never remember the time she spent with Pop but we will be sure to remind her of him. The Christian example he set will be a legacy for us to pass on to her.

On his last night on Earth with tears in his eyes Carsyn sang to him her Christmas program songs. It was a touching moment I will not soon forget. It has been difficult to explain the loss to Carsyn but she will understand in time.

Here is the uology from his funeral last week. (this is mostly for Carsyn to have in her memory book)

Allan Smith passed from this life December 10, 2010, at his home in Summit, Mississippi, after a nearly year-long battle with cancer.James Allan Smith was born October 15, 1954, in Meridian, Mississippi, the firstborn child to James Prentiss Smith and Barbara Ann Morgan Smith. Though the family had very little, James and Barbara gave Allan a loving home that instilled a spirit of confidence, allowing him to use his imagination and to spread his wings. From these meager beginnings, Allan developed the qualities that he so admired in his heroes from history: faith, initiative, drive, determination, and humility.As soon as he could walk, Allan was on the move. His mother recounts the story of Allan as a toddler. While his father was working long hours six days a week at Lott Furniture, his mother was keeping him and his infant sister Ann at home. She took her eyes off him for a few moments, and he disappeared. She searched everywhere, and finally had to call his daddy in on the hunt. Allan apparently had ridden his tricycle several blocks away in a very short time. No one ever knew what his mission was that day, but he would spend the rest of his life being active, and driven to achieve.The family moved to Laurel, where they lived a short while before moving to Jackson. By that time, the family had grown to include another sister, Allison, and his maternal grandmother who came to live with them when his mother went to work with his father at the store. Grandmother Morgan made sure all the kids were at church every time the doors opened, and Allan became an excellent Bible student. By the time he was 10 years old, Allan had decided to make Jesus his Savior, and he was baptized into Christ. Not long after that, his parents followed their young son’s example, forever changing the dynamic of their home. Allan’s bold step had become the model for the whole family to emulate. Allan excelled in school, and he enjoyed all the usual sports and games that little boys do. He took an interest in the band, playing the clarinet and the saxophone. He developed an early fascination with history, becoming an expert on the Civil and Second World Wars, in particular. Allan was also enamored with airplanes, and he was always constructing a model airplane or battleship with exacting specifications. Soon he joined Civil Air Patrol, and he couldn’t wait to learn to fly. In fact, Allan got his pilot’s license before he got his driver’s license.It was a good thing that Allan did get his driver’s license, because he was so responsible at a very young age. At 15, Allan had three siblings to cart around, including a new baby brother, Andy. By then, Allan had already been working at the store for several years. He learned the business from the ground up, cleaning floors, dusting, putting merchandise on the floor, helping with deliveries, and driving the truck when he could convince one of the deliverymen to let him. He saved up to buy his first car, a gold Oldsmobile 442 with black racing stripes. Eager to get on with his life, he graduated early from high school, and he made the trek to Starkville to become a Mississippi State Bulldog. He made his mark in academics and school politics, and he came back to Jackson ready to tackle Lott Furniture as his life’s career. With his professional life on track, Allan set his sights on Serrie Baker. After persuading her to go out with him, it was not long before they married, and he adopted her daughter, Samantha. Soon after, the family welcomed a son, Danny.When Harold McRaney decided to retire and sell the Lott Store in McComb, Allan took all the experience and wise counsel he could gather, and he determined that he would do well as a furniture dealer in this new small town. He and Serrie left the big city and immediately forged an enduring bond with the community. The community welcomed them in turn, making a home for the Smith family, which now included Allan and Serrie’s youngest child, Morgan. Son Danny and his wife, Amanda, followed Allan’s footsteps, making a home in McComb with their daughter, Carsyn, who affectionately renamed Allan, “Pop.” Of all the titles he would acquire, “Dad” and “Pop” would be his favorites.During his time in Pike County, family would become Allan’s driving force. Allan would often say that it was good to be successful in business, but if you didn’t have time to share it with your family, it was worth nothing. Allan lived this example: coaching little league teams; taking family trips; and, supporting his children at their many school and sporting events. Allan extended his family through engaging the community. His church family at McComb Church of Christ was dear to him. He became an MPSA referee; he joined the Rotary Club, serving as President and being honored as Rotarian of the Year three times. He was also named Mississippi Retail Furniture Dealer of the Year on two occasions. He served the business community through the McComb Main Street Association; was a member of the Board of Directors for both the Pike County Bank and the Interdenominational Care Association. To the community that had provided such a supportive and warm home for his wife and children, Allan donated two of his buildings for the Saint Andrews Senior Center. Despite the various gloomy economic forecasts over the years, Allan had a vision for Lott Furniture, expanding with a new location and a sister business, the Ashley Home Store. In business and in his life, Allan had a propensity for defying the odds. Many people, when given the unfortunate news that Allan received in February of this year, might fall apart. Not Allan. Allan continued to make time for his family and community. In the midst of chemotherapy, Allan attended church services and board meetings. He made trips to Starkville for State games and visited Shiloh, something he had always wanted to do. Perhaps most important to Allan, he spent as much time as he could with his family, enjoying the sounds of “Dad” and “Pop.” In short, Allan was determined and driven to live and move as long as he could, but not just for himself. He wanted to continue to be and do what everyone around him needed. Even with all the accolades and praise he received for being a pillar in his community, he would have never described himself as important or special. He lived a life of service to others and love for his family and friends. He will certainly be greatly missed.

My husband's growth spurt has come from now realizing that he no longer has his daddy to call for help. He now is the only male head of household in our small family. He now has to run this large business without his father's assistance. Thirty-one just became a lot more mature.

In addition; at the same time as my father-in-law's degression my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose to have a double mastectomy to eliminate the possibility of future complications. The week before his death was my mom's surgery. To say we have had a lot going on since our return home from the Bahamas is an understatement. In an instant your life can change and you realize that every minute on Earth is not guaranteed. I went to be with my mother and for the first time in 29 years I had to be the caretaker. My mother's surgery was successful and she should not need any further treatment other than a recommendation for a hysterectomy this year. I rely on my mother more than any person on this Earth and to have her incapasitated made me appreciate her more than anything.

And then AMONG all of THIS my sweet baby girl turned THREE! THREE! She is such a BIG GIRL! Such mama's little helper! She comes up with some of the most incredible things! And of course having to deal with her "Pop" passing has been a learning experience among itself. We told her that Pop was now in Heaven with Jesus and was her guardian angel, so when we went by the live nativity and saw the angel standing at the manger she wanted to get out and see him! And she has been obsessed with angels and Christmas songs about angels. Also the day of Pop's funeral visitation at church we sang " Joy to the World" and a week later she looked at me when it came on the tv and said that is the song we sang when Pop was in church. I COULD NOT believe she remembered that! (Music is definitely one of her favorite outlets and she has asked to take dance next year).

To say that our little family has had its share of growth experiences is an understatment but among all bad there comes some good. And we are so lucky to have Carsyn's excitement and enthusiasm for life to help us get though this time.

1 comment:

Angela said...

So sorry for what y'all have been going through. I had no idea about your mom. You and your whole family are in my prayers.