Kathleen Smith Young - Loving Mother, Wife and Friend - Born July 9, 1980; Departed October 30, 2009

"Mrs. Kathleen Smith Young, 29, of Virginia Beach went to be with Our Lord on October 30th, 2009. Mrs. Young was born in Okinawa, Japan the daughter of Herbert Smith and Carol Parker Smith. Katie is survived by her loving husband, Justin Young, her children, Justin and Madison Young. Also surviving are her parents, Herbert and Carol Smith, and her Father and Mother-in-law, Thomas and Patricia Young. Her brother, Steven Smith, sisters, Carrie Sim, and JoEllen Anderson, a brother-in-law, Kenneth Young, sisters-in-law, Tammy McGaugh and Kendra Cranor, as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins, also survive Katie.

Mrs. Young was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints in Virginia Beach. Katie was a loving and caring wife and mother. Her children were her whole world. She is a loving spirit and was dedicated to making others happy and was loved by all who met her and knew her.

In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations made to the children's college fund. Donations may be sent in both their names Justin and Madison Young, checks payable to Edward Jones 1642 Pleasure House Road #103 Thoroughgood Commons, Virginia Beach, VA 23455."
For more information on the faith from which Justin and his family have found strength in weakness, light in darkness and understanding that brings peace, please click here.

Ad eorum memoriam quos valde amo... "In memory of those we love..."

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"Let Me Dream" (c) 2009 Justin Young

Eulogy by Katie's brother, Steven Smith

"Katie, also affectionately known as 'Kate-Bate,' 'Katy-Did' and 'Kate-Kate' came into our lives in Okinawa, Japan while our father was serving in the Air Force. I was 7, Carrie was 5, and JoEllen was 2. She was born only 59 minutes after her cousin Dawn, who had just been born on the other side of the world. She was named after her two grandmothers, Kathleen Smith and Edna Parker.

"Being the baby, my mom intended to keep her that way by giving her a baby fork and spoon at meals until she was 10 or 11. As older siblings, we always felt she got away with a lot because when we were slaving away every Saturday morning with yard and house work; Katie was across the street at her Aunt Kathy’s house playing with her cousins.

"As she grew up, she loved playing with Barbies, so one of my best friends Scott and I built her a 3 story Barbie house for Christmas which included a two car garage, carpeted floors, and real shingles on the roof. She often said it was her favorite Christmas ever. Every year on Katie’s birthday our dad would buy her a corsage and take her out on a date where ever she wanted to go. During her youth she also loved to read and loved to write stories.

"As a young teen she was fortunate to spend summers in the Bahamas and even lived there for her senior year in High School, where she graduated with a huge class of only one other person named Tory. Some of her adventures in the Bahamas included diving for conchs, spearing and eating crawfish, cruising the island on a motor bike, and living on a house boat.

"When she returned to Virginia after graduating from high school, she resumed her habit of making herself at home in the Young house because she and Kendra were such good friends. At this exact time, Justin had just returned from his mission to Colorado. His first memory of Katie was of her coming in and sitting at the kitchen table while their family was eating sub sandwiches. She had a habit of eating off everyone’s plate which the Young’s were entirely used to. Justin says he was a little nervous having such a beautiful girl sitting next to him as a newly returned missionary! He first noticed her big beautiful blue eyes.

"Kendra remembers a time when Katie was staying overnight with her and she went to bed leaving Justin and Katie up talking – when she got up the next morning at 6:00am to her astonishment they were still talking. Kendra says right then and there she felt sick to her stomach realizing she had probably lost her best friend to her brother!

"Long nights of conversation turned into something more and they made plans to marry. Even Hurricane Floyd in 1999 could not stop them from driving to Washington DC temple to get married. Because of the storm they had the temple to themselves. To make the day even more special, after the sealing the temple worker took them aside and privately informed them that their children had witnessed their sealing from the other side of the veil.

"Of all the good times my mom has ever had with Katie over the years her favorite day was being in the House of the Lord watching her baby get married.

"We all have our favorite things we like and Katie was no different. These are just a few of her favorites:

*Favorite place – the beach

*Favorite food – sushi

*Favorite movie – Return to Me and anything Jane Austin

*Favorite saying – "Oh shoot!"

"Of all Katie’s favorites, there was nothing on Earth to compare to her two favorite little ones – Justin and Madison. They were her whole world and not a single day went by without her saying to someone – anyone – “Aren’t they precious?

"Now for some of our favorite family memories:

"Two summers ago Katie came down to visit me in Florida and I took her for her first surfing lesson. The waves were really small but it didn’t seem to bother her because she was hanging out at the beach with her favorite brother.

"One year ago Carrie called Katie from Sacramento to invite her to go on her company cruise to Cabo, Mexico. They were able to spend time together sight-seeing, shopping, sun-bathing and of course eating. To make the trip more special Carrie put a little gift under Katie’s pillow each evening.

"One of JoEllen and Katie’s favorite things to do was to snuggle up on the couch to watch good movies. Just recently they cozied up to watch a movie, when they realized they had no chocolate. So they made a run to 'Katie’s Wal-Mart' for the biggest bag of M&M’s they could find, all the while they promised themselves they were only going to eat a few. However by the time the movie was over, you guessed it, the entire bag was gone.

"Some of Kendra’s favorite memories were of spending time with Katie in the Bahamas on their many adventures – including their motorbike ride which ended with Kendra jumping off as Katie accidentally rode off the end of the dock into the sea.

"Kendra also remembers what an absolute perfectionist she was when preparing a gift for someone – Katie would agonize over every detail even down to the exact shade of ribbon she would use. Katie was a giver.

"These are a few of our favorite memories… perhaps you have your own memories of Katie as well.

"Katie was the youngest in our family to get married, the youngest to have a baby, and as it turns out, the youngest to receive her Patriarchal Blessing at 13. There is a line in the last paragraph of her blessing that has always caused our family to wonder and question its meaning. It reads:
'It matters not the number of days you live but the direction you set your life’s course upon.'

"We don’t understand all the reasons the Lord has seen fit to take her home at this time. But we have a strong faith that he knows best and whatever the reasons, they will be for her eternal welfare. A scripture in Job chapter 1 sums up the way we feel as a family –

The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1: 21)

"The Lord gave us our precious Katie and the Lord took away our precious Katie. Let us be thankful for the time we had with my precious baby sister."

Gaveside Sermon, by David Gray

The following is the sermon given by David Gray at the Graveside Service before the dedicatory prayer:
"All of God's creations -- whatever they may be -- the heavens, the Earth, mankind, or the smallest creature upon
the Earth, have a specific purpose. Ecclesiastes tells us that, 'to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.' (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

"Each of us then is on the Earth for our time or season. With this in mind, it is critical to note that to God, the time or season we are on the Earth is not a specified length of time as we would understand it, such as a day, year, or even many years, but for a season sufficient to accomplish the purpose unique to each of us. God likens even the time of the coming of the Savior to the season of the fig tree.

"There are many things about the purpose of Katie's life that should give us pause to rejoice and sing the praises of our Heavenly Father. To know Katie was to know a vibrant spirit full of zest and energy. To know Katie was to know a mother of two wonderful children. To know Katie was to be enriched during our own journey in this life.

"Does each of us feel that Katie's life was too short? Each of us would answer in the affirmative. But was it too short for her to accomplish the purposes that she came to Earth to fulfill. I would have to affirm that she did accomplish those purposes and thereby fulfilled the measure of her creation. So while we will mourn and miss Katie, our hearts must be filled with joy for those things that she did accomplish.

"Today, Mother Earth will perform another of its
sacredfunctions. She will receive, hold, and protect the physical body of Katie until the morning of the resurrection. Today Katie's grave will be dedicated to that purpose. Katie has already been with those who have gone before and will now do the bidding of her Father in Heaven until the glorious day when her spirit and body will be reunited and we will remember the words of the apostle Paul in Corinthians, 'O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory.' (1 Cor. 15:55)

"I would like to close with part of the last verse of 'Come, Come Ye Saints,' which reads as follows:

'And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!' "

"Katie's To-Do List" (Please pass this on)

The day after Katie passed, I was cleaning out her purses...her grand collection of them...her plethora of them...she loved her purses and seemed to have one for each outfit :) She was the queen of accessorizing -- one of the many reasons we loved her so much!

In the small pocket of one her purses I found a yellow copy of a receipt from SuperCuts and I was about to throw it out with the others when I noticed some of her writing on the back. Curious about what she may have written on the back of a receipt, I unfolded it and found a "To Do" list - something she was famous for.

But this was no ordinary "To Do" list. I don't know when she wrote it, only that it was after July 18th of '09, but when I read it, I understood that it was more than just a "To Do" list for her then...it was a "To Do" list for me now...


*Ask Heavenly Father for guidance through every step

*Spend time playing with the kids; teach them to love praying and reading scriptures; hold Family Home Evening [what we call family night once a week]; build strong bonds with them

*Ask for peace from the Holy Spirit

*Be obedient to the commandments


This note now hangs on the mirror in our bedroom... and I encourage everyone to print it out, adapt it to your own family if necessary and hang it on yours. :)


Justin Young

Click on the image of "Katie's To-D0 List" to enlarge and download for yourself. If image does not display, click here.

Articles relating to the accident, her passing...

Katie YoungHamptonRoads.com, October 31st...reported the day after.

VirginiaBeach.InjuryBoard.com, blog

HamptonRoads.com blog by David Beloff

The article written about Katie's family for The Mormon Times, published only days before her death, relating to her recent diagnosis of Crohn's disease.

Follow up story from The Mormon Times after her passing.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A year...

I missed Halloween last year.  It doesn't seem to be that long ago yet so much has happened.

Watching the children enjoy their piles of candy from a successful trick-or-treat run this year (we celebrated Saturday), can't lift the heaviness on my heart.  Not a heaviness of loss, but an odd heaviness of fear -- a strange anticipation, knowing an accident is about to happen... one that happened 365 days ago tonight.  I don't understand it, but I accept it for what it is.

A heaviness as the heart is forced to recall the sick, hollow feeling, of having to tell two young children the next morning, excited for Halloween, that their mommy wasn't coming home.

Their cries still ring in my ear to this day.

But no tears this year.  Not from me.  Not now, anyway.  Just a heavy heart.  But if they come, then I'll let them come.  Release them as they release me.

They say time heals all wounds.  That's not entirely true.  Time heals all wounds if we allow it too.

Judging by the fact that the memory of what passed through us a year ago has only placed a weight on my heart instead of triggering an emotional outpouring tells me I have been successful in following the counsel of my counselor. The counsel not to avoid the emotions as they come and when they come.  Let them spill to the floor.  Be open.  Don't keep it in so there will be no grief left to handicap me in the future.

The children have done well.  Madi will be old enough next year to attend the Comfort Zone Camp grief camp for kids and they're both signed up to go.  They pray for their mommy every morning, every night and at almost every meal.  They haven't forgotten -- and they're happy.  That is my wish for all of us.

I cannot personally recognize this day as some will.  In other words, I cannot hold it as a special day of remembrance because it is not a day I wish to magnify due to the depth of personal sorrow, regret, bitterness and pain I was forced to endure.  Neither can I correlate the fun holiday of Halloween with tragedy, especially in the hearts and minds of my children.  So October 30th and 31st can just be Halloween.

Is it possible?  For me?  I don't know, but it needs to be... because I have not been the most pleasant person to be around lately.

Instead, our special day of remembrance will be every July 9th, Katie's birthday.  That must be the day for us to get together, share stories, participate in Katie's favorite activities, watch Katie's favorite movies and eat her favorite meals, talking about what she meant to us and how her loss has effected us.

Healing doesn't mean we stop remembering or don't feel sad when we do.  Healing doesn't mean there are no scars; there are always scars.  The scars remind us of what has happened, but healing means there is no more pain.  Healing means we are not held back, no longer prisoner of the injury.  We can run and move as we used to, but a little wiser and a little stronger for the experience.  Healing times vary from person to person, but if we allow it, i.e. don't pick the scabs, all wounds will heal.

It's okay to hang our heads in sorrow
As long as we lift them up tomorrow
Remembering the bitter for the sweet
Until at our own road's end we meet
Face to face, our forever friend,
And dance through skies that see no end.
So forgive us for the pause we make
As we sleep in remembrance of what's at stake.
Let it wake us from that weary bed
And set us running toward the day ahead.
For yesterday captures the wandering mind
Securing our fate as we're left behind.
Tomorrow waits for no man's rest;
A moment to catch your breath, at best.
So take that moment to release your sorrow
As long as you never forget tomorrow.

Perhaps this next year we will move a little faster, hold our heads a little higher, feel our hearts a little lighter as we do what we all know Katie would want us to do -- LIVE!


debbieisom1@yahoo.com said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to put this together for Katies friends and family to remember her. I have been crying the whole time I watched and listened. You are a strong man! May gods blessings be with you and your family as you carry on. I am so grateful for the time I was blessed to have know Katie.
Debbie Isom

Anonymous said...

Madi and little Justin are so blessed to have Katie as their mom and should be thankful that their father is keeping her memory alive. We all move on from tragedy but we should not forget those who have left us.

Katie will always live on in our hearts and minds!!!

Della Hill said...

Katie and your family have been on my mind the last few days. I clearly remember the pain that we, her friends, shared one year ago. But I also remember the the faith, strength, and unity that came to us as we grieved for her.
I love your children and your family so much. It has given me peace to watch Justin and Madi grow and heal over this year. I have also been glad to see the changes in you as time passed and you allowed the healing and the love that came with it.
I know it's not over.
We all love Katie. Anyone who knew her had to love her.
I know God will continue to bless you with healing, love and happiness.
Love, Della