Amber Bartlett et al. posing for a photo

Amber Smith Reflects Back On Heartbreaking 2019 With Emotional Instagram Post

While many of us are reflecting on all the good times we had in 2019, and enter 2020 with a renewed sense of optimism, many others fought hard just to make it through the year. Granger Smith and his wife Amber know that struggle all too well.

For the Smith family, 2019 will go down as the year they lost 3-year-old River in a tragic drowning accident. Granger’s wife Amber closed the book on 2019 with a deeply emotional look back on everything they went through in the past year, everything from dealing with the grief of losing their son, to celebrating the simple joys of losing baby teeth. In the end, Amber concluded that both joy and grief can coexist and wished everybody joy on the new year.

In a heartfelt Instagram post, here’s what she had to say:

“2019 – The year that brought me to my knees. The year our beautiful red-headed boy turned 3 & went Home. The year that same sweet boy saved 2 other lives. The year that broke my heart into pieces but also tempered my spirit. The year we started The Smiths. The year we moved from our home and all the memories we made there. The year Linc turned 5 and started kinder and London started 2nd grade. The year that I became the closest to God I’ve ever been. The year I cried every day for 6 months straight. The year London lost 3 teeth and turned 8. The year we ministered to hundreds about grief and hope. The year we vowed to not let anything tear our family apart. The year we promised to find meaning and not reasons. The year Granger and I became closer than ever before. The year my eyes were truly opened to what is important. The year we’ve never felt more love from our community. The year I found out that joy and grief can coexist. The year we dove back into the fire to help other grieving parents. The year that changed me. The year of the blue butterfly. The year I learned that I am not in control. The year that solidified that I can’t live this life without God.

I can’t believe it’s been almost 7 months since we held our sweet Riv and that we will be starting a new year without him physically with us. Through this sadness, I’m hopeful for all that is to come. My goals for the coming year are to grow the River Kelly Fund and help as many people as we can, keep London and Lincoln thriving despite the heartache of the past year, grow in grace and faith with my Maker, share our story in the hopes of helping others, and be in the present moment, because as much as we want to plan and dream, today is all we have. This moment. Each day, whether good or bad, is another gift from God. I hope to live it with gratitude and compassion for others. I hope to continue to surrender my battles, because in my weakness He is my strength. I hope to forgive myself little by little. I hope to keep bringing people to the Kingdom and sharing the love of God that I have felt so strongly.

Change is inevitable, heartache will come, trouble will come, the enemy will attack, but if we put on the armor of God, we will not be defeated. We can, and will, make it through anything that comes our way. How lucky are we that God has taken up residence in us when we choose to accept Him? His address is in us. When we pursue God for who he is, the Holy Spirit produces joy in us. I’m wishing all of you joy in the coming year. Know that as you head into a new decade, you are loved, you have purpose, you are stronger than you think, and you are never alone. Thank you for following along with us on this journey, for supporting our family, Granger’s music and our healing. We really do appreciate all of your stories, messages, letters and prayers. Have a safe and joyful New Year’s Eve everyone – love from all of us.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock