Country singer Granger Smith and his wife, Amber, have been grieving their youngest son’s sudden death since June 6, 2019.
“I have to deliver unthinkable news. We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith,” Granger posted on June 6. “Following a tragic accident, and despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived.”
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I have to deliver unthinkable news. We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith. Following a tragic accident, and despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived. Amber and I made the decision to say our last goodbyes and donate his organs so that other children will be given a second chance at life. Our family is devastated and heartbroken, but we take solace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father. Riv was special. Everyone that met him knew that immediately. The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts. If there are words to say more, I cannot find them in this moment. Love the ones close to you. There has never been a more difficult moment for us than this. . . In lieu of flowers or gifts, please send donations to Dell Children’s Medical Center in River’s name. The doctors, nurses and staff have been incredible.
The 3-year-old boy died after drowning in an accident on the family’s Texas property.
“We went from such a happy, fun-loving, exploring, dancing, party of 5, to hitting our knees, praying, asking why God, how God, and to losing our youngest son in a matter of minutes,” Amber wrote on Instagram.
Once they realized that River would not make it, Granger and his wife decided to donate their son’s organs so that he could help other children live.
“Our family is devastated and heartbroken,” the country star wrote. “But we take solace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father.”
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Where do I even begin? This has been the most horrific, life-altering, soul-defining 2 weeks of our lives. We went from such a happy, fun-loving, exploring, dancing, party of 5, to hitting our knees, praying, asking why God, how God, and to losing our youngest son in a matter of minutes. It all happened so fast. We spent the next 2 days in the hospital praying that our little Riv would be healed. We had hundreds of prayer warriors behind us, but God had other plans for our angel, bigger plans. If you believe in our God like we do, we know now that Riv was sent to this Earth so we could experience his joy, laughter and love for 3 years. And then Jesus came and took his hand before he went under and took him home. God didn’t bring our little boy back to us, but God and Riv performed at least 2 other miracles that day for other mamas and daddies praying that someone would help save their child. Grief is such a strange thing. One minute you feel like you have the strength of a lion and you can handle what God has given you, the next you’re sitting by your son’s crib, holding his blanket and crying so hard that no tears or sound comes out, or punching your steering wheel crying and screaming at God, or smiling and laughing at the memories you have of such a special person. Sadness, anger, shock, questioning, fear, hope, the joy of remembering, emptiness, worry, heartbreak, trust in our faith – we feel all of this and more. But we also feel all of the prayers and love from every one of you who have reached out to us during this time. Our family, friends, fans and even strangers have brought us so much comfort and we cannot thank you enough. We’ve made a video updating you guys on how we are and wanted to share it with you, along with a video of River we shared at his service. Hold tight to your loved ones, as cliché as that sounds. You truly never know what life is going to throw at you. Love them fiercely, experience this beautiful life together and vow to live like Riv ♥️ Romans 8:28 ✝️ *Link in bio to watch our video
Almost two weeks later, the couple posted a video on their YouTube channel to update fans on their grief journey so far, but they also delivered an unexpected message: “Don’t feel sorry for us.”
“We are going to search for every bit of good that we can find in this situation. The worst situation we’ve ever been through, hopefully ever,” Smith said. “We’re going to constantly search for ways that good will come out of this.”
They shared that their faith has been a stronghold during such a emotional time.
“God gave us River for three years and that was his mission and I don’t believe that God takes anyone too soon,” Granger said, adding that he wasn’t going to let himself visualize the accomplishments his son would be missing out on like graduating high school or playing football. “I believe that he was put on this earth for that exact amount of time.”
Smith also said that he and Amber are going to keep searching for the meaning, not the reason, for the heartbreaking loss so that they can spread their son’s legacy.
Now Amber is continuing to be honest with fans as she navigates her grief through a new update posted to Instagram on July 1, 2019.
“I just want to share my journey with all of you because it will be a long road,” she wrote. “And if we can help at least one person going through something like this, then it is worth it to me to be open about my feelings, my faith, my struggles.”
Amber encouraged others going through similar trials to “lean into Him in your weakness” and to give themselves a little grace for having calm moments.
She also shared that people were commending her for being so strong, but her response was, “I am broken.”
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Missing my baby so much ❤️. People keep saying, “you’re so strong” “how are you functioning?” “I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.” I am broken. My heart will never be the same. I will never be the same. Yes, I have strong moments, but I also (as any grieving mother would do) cry, scream, question, and fall to my knees. Then I get back up and fight. I just want to share my journey with all of you because it will be a long road, and if we can help at least one person going through something like this, then it is worth it to me to be open about my feelings, my faith, my struggles. To any of you experiencing a loss of any kind (and maybe I’m just trying to remind myself here) – You can do this. You can grieve and still be strong for your family, husband and or other kiddos. Lean in to Him in your weakness and learn to not beat yourself up (like I do) when you are having a moment of calm. Shut out the negative and focus on the light and the love. 💫 Be kind to those around you. Before you choose to judge or tear down, always try to encourage or lift people up. That person next to you, that car in front of you, that woman down the street, that man in your office, those kiddos in the store, you never know what kind of trials they are facing. Thank you all again for sharing your stories of loss with me, for lifting my family up through prayers and encouragement. YOU are the reasons for my strength at times and I’m so grateful. ♥️
“My heart will never be the same,” she explained further. “I will never be the same. Yes, I have strong moments, but I also (as any grieving mother would do) cry, scream, question, and fall to my knees. Then I get back up and fight.”
It’s been less than a month since sweet, red-headed River tragically passed away, but his legacy is already touching thousands across the country and around the world.
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