I still remember exactly where I was when I found out that Granger Smith’s 3-year-old son River tragically passed away in a drowning accident.
I was in a Nashville Airbnb, it was CMA Fest, I probably had a good buzz going already, and I can just remember feeling completely heartbroken at the news. Sitting there at the kitchen table, trying to process the heartbreak, the anger, the sadness… and to this day, the most profound thought I can muster is still: “I can’t even imagine…”
That day that absolutely shook the country music world, as we collectively joined in mourning the loss of Granger Smith and his wife Amber’s young son.
And recently, on the one-year anniversary of his death, Amber shared an emotional reflection of that awful day, and everything they’ve have gone through in the past year, while at the same time, bracing for often times more difficult year two.
“June 6, 2019. One year ago today, we took our “honor walk” as we walked behind our sweet son down the long hallway to the operating room. River took his last breath in there, without his mommy and daddy. We know his spirit was with Jesus, but his earthly body was still present and it was so hard to let them close those doors without us. I’ll never forget waiting for what felt like hours for them to come back and tell us everything went wonderful, they were taking the organs to the recipients and he was at peace. They later told me they played the Cars soundtrack as they operated. I still cry thinking of the kindness and empathy from our hospital staff. June 6th was the day Granger and I vowed to not let this break our family.
We now had to make the trip home without Riv in his car seat. We now had to tell our children their brother wasn’t coming home. When we got there we saw this. My heart hurt so bad knowing they colored these hearts anticipating his return. He wouldn’t return to our home but he was Home. We grabbed our kiddos, I could tell by her face, London already knew what we were about to say, and took them out into the woods where Riv always played. We sat together, held each other and had one of the hardest conversations I hope we ever have to have.
Today, one year ago, began our trek down this rocky road of grief. There have been many turns, many bumpy spots and many just outright falls, but we are walking, we are moving, we are taking the next steps and I can say that one year later, we are different. In a strange way, we are stronger by His grace. We have learned so much about ourselves and our family and our God.
Today we start year 2. A lot of people say it’s harder than the first. I don’t know how it could be but I’m ready to take it on, even if I have tears streaming down my face. I’m ready to keep learning and keep growing and keep trusting my God. Greater is He that is in me in me, than he that is in the world. Hebrews 11:1.”