Hannah Mae Smith
Hannah Mae Smith was born in the Philippines as Janice Jomoro on June 22, 1999. At age 3 she was adopted by Cheryl Smith where they lived in Windsor, Colorado. In 2005 they moved to Bellingham, WA where Hannah attended Roosevelt Elementary, Shuksan Middle School, and graduated from Sehome High School in 2018, with the support of the Life Skills Program.
Hannah was special in many ways. She was 4 feet, 4 inches tall, which she hated and always wanted to be taller. Her speech was not always easy to understand, but she persevered until she was understood. She has a great smile, laugh and sense of humor. In later years she loved colorful language ( and sometimes gestures).
Because she was a brown person in a mostly white world, she always felt different and yet special. AS a five year old, she would loudly exclaim, “Look mom, he’s black, like me!” She was good with animals and loved many—Carly and Jack, the goldens, and all of our cats. Henry died shortly before her and she would say, “When I die I will cross the rainbow bridge where Henry and Jane and Pikachu will be waiting for me.”
Hannah enjoyed the company of others, on her own terms. She had the best Big Sister Phoebe, lots of helpers at YMCA after school program, Max Higbee Center, and her beloved church community. She carried the directories at Faith United Church and at First Congregational Church as a small child to match people with pictures. She loved checking in with 100 year old Ruth and anyone else who might give her a high five or a fist bump. Attention from Hannah was intense and beautiful.
Hannah was proud to be connected to her mom’s work at Whatcom Hospice. She was given the gift of life, a kidney, from Christina. Hannah was not afraid to call for help from Hospice manager, to charge nurse, to chaplain, to office assistants. She always said, “They all know me and love me.”
Hannah was a helper as much as she was able in her short life. She worked with staff at Roosevelt, guiding parents in the drop off line, telling people to move along or slow down. She helped her mom make deliveries, when she could and was always asking how she could use her money—for big cat rescues, fixing the floor, or buying dinner.
Hannah loved with her whole being, though it was also difficult for her to trust in love. So when she offered it, one felt special. She loved to hold hands with her mother in the car, going to the doctor, which she did a lot in the last six years, and when she thought her mother needed comfort. She texted her friends regularly and always wanted to know what they were eating and to send pictures.
Hannah died of congestive heart failure at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham at 12:45 on Wednesday December 2, 2020. She dealt with kidney disease, had a transplant, was on dialysis for two years, had the kidney removed last February, and by the end was very tired of it all. She will always be loved and always be missed.
Memorial ideas: Big Cat Rescue, Kidney Foundation, Max Higbee Center, Whatcom Hospice.