Mom of missing St. George teen Macin Smith reflects on grief as 2-year anniversary approaches

Parents Of Missing Utah Teen Macin Smith Speak
Macin Smith's mom and dad, Tracey and Darrin, speak to Gephardt Daily in September 2015. The couple divorced in August 2018. Photo: Gephardt Daily

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Aug. 15, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — As the search for one local missing man, Paul Swenson, comes to a tragic end, the search for another, Macin Smith, shows no sign of conclusion.

The Smith family, in fact, is preparing for the day they thought would never come: the two-year anniversary of Macin’s Sept. 1 disappearance.

Macin’s mom, Tracey Bratt-Smith, has been posting updates since the very beginning, in a Facebook group dedicated to her son. Just one month after he vanished in 2015, she wrote the following:

I’ve never been good at endurance. I truly thought or hoped this would be a short sprint kind of deal. Although I am so thrilled that after nine months the Smarts were united, the thought of living this way for months on end is unimaginable to me. Turning my will over to God is a great exercise and I can do anything temporarily, but finishing strong has hardly been my greatest attribute. I know that if I just saw that finish line, I could make it through but it’s as if, someone keeps moving it.

And yet, here we are almost 24 months on and, despite hundreds of leads and potential sightings, the Smith family has no more concrete information than they had back at the beginning.

On Monday, in her latest Facebook post, Bratt-Smith wrote, in part, the following:

I would of never imagined our current situation as Macin’s future. His feet directing him right out the front door and out of our lives. I have to believe he is still walking the earth leaving big prints wherever he goes. The past almost two years have produced no leads to an expired Macin so therefore hope continues for a living Macin.

Macin, the last of Bratt-Smith and her husband Darrin’s six children living at home, walked away from home at the age of 17 in the early morning hours when his parents thought he was on his way to school. He left behind his cell phone, wallet, laptop, even his school binder.

Macin did leave a note, which his parents discovered a week later folded inside his wallet. They have not released the contents, preferring to say the note contained an “intent,” which led them to believe he may have planned to harm himself.

Bratt-Smith and other family members have posted Facebook updates as often as they are emotionally able to the Help Find Macin Smith Facebook page, whose members have swelled in number to 44,150, in the hope of bringing him home. There is a $10,000 reward in place for information leading to Macin’s location.
Here is Bratt-Smith’s full Monday post, minus the excerpts above:
Hey Macin’s Army, Have you ever heard the quote “Grief is the future missed?” I’ve been thinking about that thought a lot lately. The reason our hearts at times hurt so deeply is for all the future opportunities that are lost when we aren’t able to share it with a loved one. Expectations need to be completely revoked and one has to accept that the journey ahead will be altered forever. No wonder the effect is so profound and deeply unsettling. Grief as an observer is heart wrenching. Grief as a participant is devastating. It may be extremely difficult to even express or fully comprehend as some questions may never find answers in our lifetime. And let’s be honest, how many of us truly want to talk about it? It’s just a painful reminder of a reality most prefer not to live.

I remember when Macin was an infant and I knew he would be my “last”; I felt complete as a family with my three boys and three girls. Macin was perfectly formed with stark blue eyes. Both my husband and I acknowledged his large paws (hands and feet.) We predicted he would be our largest boy and we were right. Although his older brothers reached 6’3”, Macin at 17 had passed them both in height and shoe size. Many times as he was developing I would imagine where those hands and feet would take him in his life. Imagining service, work, adventures and opportunity ahead. I awed in his natural abilities, wit and his desire to live a good life….

She goes on to talk about her perception of grief:

A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend and I were discussing the concept of grief and the gigantic hole it leaves in one’s heart. It evolved into a conversation of comparison of the Grand Canyon. It was the biggest hole we could think of. I’ve never been there but it’s on my bucket list. The closest I’ve come is flying over it once. We concluded it is a most spectacular place. In fact, it’s said to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. The a-hah moment came with the realization that although there is a tremendously large gaping hole, that it is also filled with loveliness.

I thought about my own personal gaping hole. Although I previously viewed it as a dark abyss, perhaps I could fill it with some loveliness. But what would that look like? Hmmm. I guess I would fill it with warm memories initially. There are many that I was blessed to have with my boy. There is no malice in my reflection. I neglected most other duties that first year Macin was born. I thought … I will never get this time back. I held him more than not. He was a great snuggler. I stayed home with him the first five years of his life. I read to him. Played with him and even tried to sing lullabies to him (although he would put his little index finger up to his lips and shush me). Memories are an inevitable way to fill my gap. Serving others is symbiotic in nature. It fills my soul but also helps fill the needs of others. I get to serve others daily by the nature of my profession. The only liability lately is when I work with a teenager in crisis and I want to bring them home to live with me. Connecting with others who are suffering fills my yearning hole of pain. “Talking” with Macin as if he’s continually included in current family news and future events. I keep him in the loop as much as possible. I also think warm thoughts of inclusion when I make a certain recipe and know that he would be excited to actually eat it. Tater tot casserole? Yep. He would love that. Macin also loved consuming cherries. I will buy cherries just because I know it used to put a smile on his face. Keeping connected to Macin in any way I can. Music. Always. Or concerts I know he would love to attend. Benjamin Burnley why don’t you come to Utah fyi? Fun fact: he’s the exact same height as Macin.

I know as this journey continues I can find more ways to fill my tremendous hole of grief and pain. It’s not what I intended nor is the hole going to ever be completely full but I can make it a little more beautiful along the way. Love will do that. I love you Macin and if I can show you that through word and deed perhaps your feet will lead you back to my arms. Not going to lie though, it will be extremely difficult to EVER let you go again.


The Momma

Macin is 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He has light blue eyes and he had short blond hair when he went missing. The Smith family moved to Utah from Canada in spring 2015. Prior to that, Macin was raised in Saratoga Springs, which is west of Lehi. He started kindergarten and attended school through eighth grade in the Saratoga Springs area.

Anyone with information about Macin is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.


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