Bryan woman shares heartache of losing husband in mass shooting, joy in giving birth to their ‘miracle’ daughter
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - “He was just torn from us. I feel like I was robbed of my future. Robbed,” said Skyla Smith.
The Bryan woman says she’s still trying to process a horrible day that left her without the love of her life. Skyla’s husband, Tim, was killed in the mass shooting at Kent Moore Cabinets last April. They had just celebrated their second wedding anniversary, and shortly before his death, they learned their longtime prayer had been answered.
Skyla didn’t only lose her husband that day. Their unborn daughter lost her dad. The couple had just learned about Skyla’s pregnancy two weeks before Tim’s death.
“Those were the happiest two weeks of our life together,” said Skyla. “We had tried for four years. We planned for her, and we specifically prayed for a little girl and from that moment, he’s like, ‘That’s our baby girl in there, and he was calling her sweet pea.”
The couple met through a mutual friend in Tyler back in 2015.
“Tim sought me out and we hung out a few times,” said Skyla Smith.
Skyla admits she didn’t initially say yes when Tim asked her out on a date. When she finally accepted, they hit it off and started spending a lot of time together. She says she was drawn by his good looks and the fact that he could talk to anyone.
“He loved getting to know people and meeting people. “I like to say he was beautiful inside and out. He just had the biggest heart for people,” said Skyla.
In November of 2015, they moved to Bryan to be closer to her family. The couple got married on Feb. 18, 2019, vowing in sickness and in health, till death do them part. She had no idea their forever would end so fast.
“I don’t even know how I can put into words because I’m still sometimes just like, ‘wow,’” said Skyla after taking a deep breath.
She is still trying to make sense of what happened on April 8, 2021. Tim had just been at home for lunch that day.
“And I remember texting him like at 2 o’clock that day. I said, ‘hey, you left your gloves. You probably already noticed.’ And he goes, ‘yeah, I know. I love you,’” said Skyla.
Those were their last words. By 2:30 that afternoon, Bryan Police were called to Tim’s workplace for a shooting.
“My mom told me she said, ‘hey, there’s been a shooting at Stone City, and we don’t know if that’s where Tim works, but you need to start calling him.’ I must have called him 100 times. Texted him several times. Still wasn’t believing. I was like you know, maybe not,” she said.
She left work and went to the hospital hoping that Tim was okay, that at worst, he was injured but alive.
“I feel sick when I think about that day. Not being able to really know what happened. And then… I had already seen in the news app that one person had died. And I was like, ‘okay, he’s not answering the phone. What’s going on? Maybe they’re not letting anyone speak, and, just to find out,’” she said as she paused and shook her head.
“Your worst nightmare is to lose someone period. But to lose someone to gun violence, for them to be just torn away from you, for their life to be cut short is such a traumatic thing to go through. It’s so permanent to not be able to say goodbye,” said Skyla.
Tim has two sons and they were hopeful they’d be adding a girl to the family. Several weeks after his death she learned she was carrying Tim’s baby girl: Saylor Reign Jackson Smith.
“I was so much in shock. I just broke down and started crying because I was very thankful,” she said.
Skyla says the emotions can be overwhelming. Grief over her loss, but joy with the new precious addition to her life. So she takes it day by day.
“A lot of the milestones that I’ve experienced through pregnancy have been with joy but with great sorrow behind them. And I’m just learning to process those and to cope with that in order to be a good mom for her.”
Tim may be gone but he will not be forgotten. There are signs of him throughout the home, including pillows and a teddy bear that are covered in shirts he used to wear.
“This is actually one of his favorite shirts and it has a patch on there,” said Skyla, pointing at the pillow and bear on the couch. “Just something that came to my heart, and the matching little teddy bear with some slacks the says, ‘love daddy.’”
There’s also a quilt made from his shirts that will serve as another way for Saylor to wrap herself in her daddy’s love.
“I have pictures of him in the shirts that she can actually see and know, okay, this wasn’t just my daddy’s shirt. He was eating ice cream in this shirt. I can tell her stories and memories of that day and him.”
Some days are better than others.
“My baby has to grow up never meeting her dad. She’ll never know her dad. She will just know memories and see photos. She will never feel the love of her father. She will never feel his skin and it breaks my heart,” said Skyla, wiping tears away from her cheek.
God and Saylor now give Skyla strength as she moves forward. She’s grateful she has a little piece of Tim forever.
“I am just so thankful that in those last two weeks of his life that he was truly, truly happy in that God answered our prayers. And he went home to meet Jesus, you know, thanking Jesus for his little baby girl,” she said.
Skyla and leaders with Kent Moore Cabinets say they are working on a memorial tribute to Tim. It’s expected to be ready as part of a special ceremony on April 8 to honor him as they mark one year since the tragic day.
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