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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Do you have a story to tell? Please email me at with your Smith Family Story and your photos and I will do the rest.

This is a picture of Max James Smith when he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Just as a side note, one of Dad's favorite songs was the Ballad of the Green Beret.

Max Smith and Connie Robinson at the Senior Hop. Connie use to call this beautiful blue gown her "Alice Blue Gown".

These are scanned photos of the wedding reception of Max and Connie Smith. The quality isn't great but I think you can see and recognize a few of the people in the wedding line... in fact, many are Smith's including Lou Jeanne & Ron, Doris, Grandpa Adelbert and Grandma Della and maybe others that that I don't recognize. I will post the photo below as well as it will be clearer at a smaller size.

Just a cute little story that I thought you might like to hear. Max was totally in love with Connie until the day he died. Sometimes he didn't act like it but we knew his love for Mom was deeply embedded in his heart and soul. He had a favorite song that he listened to over and over, and even requested it to be played at weddings. He would sing it to Connie or just burst out in song from time to time as he lay ill in his last years. Even while he was dying he would sing this song or ask for someone to play it on the piano or violins. Whether he just waxed sentimental or that the song truly expressed his love for Connie, it became a family treasure as we think about memories of Dad. The song he loved and sang was "The Twelfth of Never".

Another cute little story about Dad was when he was in his last days of life, and shortly after he was taken off Dialysis, he had a little conversation with Kathleen. He said, "Katie, I want you to go down to a jewelry store and buy a beautiful diamond ring for you mother from me. He said, charge it to my credit card. Bring it back and wrap it up in a beautiful box and tie it with a bow. He said that he wanted to give it to her. He then went on telling Kathleen how much he loved Connie and what a beautiful woman she has always been. He said, " She deserves jewels, rubies, pearls, because she is the best woman on earth. His eyes welled up with tears, and he cried as he expressed his love for his wife Connie. The rest of the story goes like this in my own words...

I went to Mothers house and somehow got her to try on my own wedding ring, which ended up being just the right size for her finger. Mother didn't suspect a thing. I drove down to a jewelry store and bought a gold anniversary ring that held 8 tiny sparkling diamonds. When the ring was held up the sides had the words "love" written on both sides in yellow gold. It seemed perfect to me because their love produced 8 children, which these diamonds represented their own jewels, and the love that Dad had for Mom would last until the twelfth of never. I also knew that this would be an investment of love because I knew that Dad didn't have money to pay for the ring. No amount of money could possibly be the same kind of payback that I received when I took the ring to Dad to show it to him.

He was in Heritage Convalescent Center and feeling very ill. When I entered his room, he looked at me and the first thing he said was, "Did you get the ring?" I told him I did, and proceeded to take it out of my purse. He asked, Does it sparkle and does it have diamonds? I assured him it did, and took it over for him to see. He began to cry and said, "This is just perfect, it is just what I would have got for her." He cried and rehearsed out loud the words that he would say to Mom when he gave it to her. I pointed out the words "Love" on both sides of the ring, so when mother looked down at her ring, she would see the Love that Dad had for her. He just couldn't quit crying, and he acted like a teenage boy about to get his first kiss. He was actually giddy with excitement. He kept bursting out into song, singing the twelfth of Never.

I took the ring back home to Aline and wrapped it up in shiny paper, tied a beautiful bow around it and found a little card for Dad to sign. I knew that Mom would be coming back to the Convalescent center to spend the rest of the day with Dad, so I hurried back to American Fork to give it to him. When I arrived, Mom was already there, and I secretly gave the wrapped gift to him without Mother suspecting anything. I then wished him good luck and left the room so that he could have privacy when he gave Mother the ring.

The rest of the story will have to be told by Connie, but what I do know is that she loved the ring, and wears it to this day. Dad was very ill in the last years of his life and didn't always behave in a way that represented his best self and feelings. This story was representative of what he truly felt as I am sure he had so many thoughts knowing that he only had days left to live. He was very corageous and was in constant good spirits even though he knew his last moments of life were drawing to an end. Dad was a fighter, and he fought a good fight.

Max's family knew that he would not live much longer, and every one of his children came down to the Convelescent Center to be with him. We spent many hours there talking by his bedside and out in the lobby. The entire time Dad was still in a comma, but the Hospice worker told us that it would not be much longer. A few of the children left for a short while, and unfortunately at that moment, his breathing became labored, and we knew he would soon pass. Those of us who were there, his children and some grandchildren, surrounded his bed when he took his last breaths, he surprisenly enough awoke from the comma that he had been in for several days. Mother had situated herself right in front of him just in case he did awaken so that she would be the one that he could see. Suddenly Dad did open his eyes and looked right at Mom. He tried to speak to her but no words would come out. He seemed to have an urgency to speak but couldn't. I whispered into Mom's ear and told her to tell him all the things that she knew he would want to hear from her. Mother leaned close to dad, and then began to express her love telling him that he didn't have to fight anymore and giving her permission for him to go home. She told him to not worry that her children would take care of her. He looked so earnest into her eyes as she expressed her love the whole time mother held Dad's hands. After mom stopped speaking, all of those who surrounded his bed, saw the light go out of his eyes. We knew at that instant, he had passed on.

I have heard so many stories of people whose spirits had left their bodies, rising to the top of the room watching the scene below. My thoughts were that if he were still there, watching the scene below, I wanted to say good bye, so I looked up toward the cieling and said, "Good bye Dad, I love you!" All of us hugged each other and cried and lingered together in his room as family, knowing we had witnessed something amazing, a scene of great eternal love, and the kindness of a loving Heavenly Father who was taking back home His son. All of us expressed how happy we were that Dad didn't have to suffer anymore and that right now he was free from pain, and the torment that he had been living with for so many years. This was an amazing experience, one that even in the senility of old age, my memory will be hard pressed to forget.

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