Saturday, February 15, 2014

In Memory of Michael Smith's Son: Elliot B. Smith

Patchogue Patch News Article Elliot B. Smith Son of Michael Smith
Elliot and 3 children Junior, Naomi & Niara

All that Elliot wanted was to be a good parent to his three children, which he adored and they him. Close friends remember him saying, "all I want to do is to go home" after being estranged from his wife for more than a year and going through a stressful divorce and custody battle.

It was warm balmy spring morning, in April 2012 when I received a cellphone call from my son, "I'm coming to visit you dad and then a friend in Raleigh, North Carolina." His voice was excited, and always squeaked with a high pitched tone as he laughed. Knowing that he surprised whoever he was talking to. Eight hours later, we hugged, and talked about how the family was doing back in New York. A few minutes later, I wanted to show off my cooking skills but he gently declined with a smirk and wanted to go out for some McDonalds.

We spent the day together and I had to show him off to my friends and neighbors. The next morning he drove to Raleigh and returned a day later. Because he was rising DJ', at the top of his game. He spent some time preparing songs for his next gig, on his Apple laptop, as I watched in amazement. He ironed some clothes for his trip back and we watched television, until the TV was watching us.

The next morning, he left to return to New York and while he was traveling, he texted a video to me.

I had to laugh because, it was just his way or most charming spontaneous characteristic to make people laugh, if he detected sadness. He loved to have fun, loved life and loved people. I was so grateful about his visit that I decided to visit him and my grandchildren, in May 2012. We spent a week together, going to the movies, bowling with the grands and many of his DJ gigs.

Spending time with my grands was like imagining what heaven would be. Naomi, the youngest never met me but she hugged my neck like a bear. Elliot was teaching me to be a grandfather because I wasn't much of dad, when he was a child. Not that I didn't want to or didn't try (it's complicated). I returned home to Weldon, North Carolina, praising God for my son and grateful that my son always showed me respect, no matter what happened in the past, and always said, "Dad I've got your back."

June 11th 2012 I received a chilling telephone call from one of his many friends, and a call that no parent ever dreams of or wants to hear about 2 am, in the morning. She called me dad, and said, "I think Elliot has been in an accident or might have been killed on his motorcycle, on his way to my house". I called the police and they confirmed that Elliot had died, after being hit by a SUV.

About 9:30 pm, the night before the accident, he and I had chatted on Facebook, and I asked How are you doing son because I hadn't heard from him for awhile. I said, "I'm not sure if I thanked you or forgot to tell you, thank you for showing me a good time during our visit and introducing me to all your friends and business partners."

He said, "hey dad I'm good and it was great having you visit." "Ok son, I'm just checking on my blessing, because a 2nd chance at being a dad doesn't happen often." "So take care and be safe."

Before my son's passing, I felt like a soaring eagle and now, I feel like my wings have been clipped and the wind beneath my wings has ceased to exist. The usual question haunted me, why God? And I finally concluded with, why not me, our family or his small lovely family. I think it's a question that we all may have to ask, when a tragedy happens in our own backyards.

What lessons can we learn about life and how delicate our lives are, as human beings, in a world that is spinning out of control? In order to make sense of everything that happened before and after this struggle. I had to simply go to my Lord because his word states that "My people are destroyed because you have rejected knowledge" Hosea 4:6 

Continuing to have faith in God, strengthened by his word, led by the power of the Holy Spirit and following the humble example of Jesus has truly returned the wind beneath my wings. So that I can soar like an eagle, content no matter what happens around me, full of the joy and peace that only Jesus gives because God does not make any mistakes.

More than two hundred of my son's friends on Facebook helped to support me through this ordeal, which shows how God can work through faithful individuals and I'm grateful. I've learned that having gratitude is better than having an attitude about the pitfalls of life because life can be short. I no longer ask why I've lived 67 years of many mistakes and a few successes or why do some parents outlive their children.

Elliot's last DJles Albums 

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