James Thomas Smith II
Although I was not particularly close to my cousin, I do have a few great memories of him. Being a few years older than Tommy, I remember when he was a toddler. In particular, I remember sitting in my grandparents living room as he practiced taking his first steps. His mother and I sat a few feet apart while he stumbled and eventually celebrated his first few wobbly steps. Tommy went on to celebrate a few other wobbly steps in his life...but he also celebrated with many great strides. He was an avid bowler, devoting many hours to his sport. After much practice, he even accomplished a 300 game (a big deal in Indiana)!
As I said, I was not very close to my cousin, but I know that he held his friends and family close to his heart. It seemed as though he would do anything for them.
Tommy's life suddently ended one October night in 2005 after a few wobbly steps. I'm not sure of the details nor do I need to know them. I know that he experimented with drugs, beginning with marijuana and eventually adding new "experiences". After a night of a little too much fun, Tommy went to sleep and never woke up, at the age of 21.
As I said, Tommy was very close with his friends. He spent many hours with them and with his extremely devoted girlfriend, Kristin. At the time of Tommy's death, Kristin was 6 months pregnant with their first child. James Thomas Smith III was born two months after Tommy's death. I have no doubt in my mind that he would have been as devoted to his son as he was to his friends. Thomas will be a year old soon...and begin to take his first few wobbly steps, unfortunately without his father there to catch him.
I work as a school counselor in Phoenix, Arizona. I started this profession because I wanted to help kids. To help kids reach their goals and overcome the obstacles in their road. Now, I am devoted preventing just one child from giving his or her life to drugs. I share the tragedy of my cousin with my students. And unfortunately, they share their tragedies with me as well. This website is amazing! Those of us who have been through this have a responsibility to others. A responsibility to share the story of all the "Tommys" in our lives and hopefully save another life along the way.
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