Country music star Granger Smith, who tragically lost his three-year-old son River Kelly due to accidental drowning earlier this month, is opening up to his fans about his loss. Just two weeks ago the singer made the emotional announcement on his Instagram page that he and wife Amber had lost their son, writing, "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." Now he's opening up and speaking out about the final special moment he shared with his son before his death.
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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.
Understandably Smith had taken some time away from social media but he recently returned, posting a picture of his son on Instagram explaining that he realizes that being a public figure comes with a sort of public responsibility and that he wanted to share how his family is doing after River's death. "I believe I’m obligated on certain levels to include you guys in my current journey, as I’ve been involved either personally or musically in yours," he wrote. "In my house, we have united stronger and closer than we’ve ever been. We’ve cried. We’ve smiled. I’ve held my family tight. I’ve found strength from God and used that in the face of adversity so that my wife and children can rely on me," he added.
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We’ve been on quite the journey these past few weeks. I’ve been dark on social media, but I still have a full understanding of the responsibility placed upon me as a public figure. I can choose to snuff that influence, or instead use my platform (in relevancy big or small) towards what I believe is right. I believe I’m obligated on certain levels to include you guys in my current journey, as I’ve been involved either personally or musically in yours. - The finality and mortality brought on by death makes life feel fragile. It can weaken, terrify and separate those close to it. But it can also awaken us. It can remind us never to take a moment with those we love for granted. - In my house, we have united stronger and closer than we’ve ever been. We’ve cried. We’ve smiled. I’ve held my family tight. I’ve found strength from God and used that in the face of adversity so that my wife and children can rely on me. I’ve guarded my heart and my mind during weak moments and graciously accepted all of the encouragement and empathy from so many. I have realized that I will not slave over a search for answers, but instead for meaning. I will focus and then cultivate the light from a dark place, the good from the bad, God’s will from my own plans. I can rest assured knowing that River’s assignment on earth was always intended for 1116 days and not only did he live it to the fullest, but he lived it loved by so many, including a mother, father, sister and brother who held nothing back and have no regrets on how much he felt that love. We should all be so blessed to be able to live like Riv. - Amber and I want you to hear it from us and not just read it, so we made this little video for you to watch. (Link in bio)Thank you for all the love, prayers and support. We feel it!
Granger wrote about his loss and noted that he and wife Amber filmed a video for YouTube to update their fans and followers about how they've been doing in the weeks since River's death as well as explain how River's accident occurred. The country singer noted that it was important for him and Amber to "not stay dark forever" noting the couple spoke at River's service in an effort let their friends and family know how they're doing. They stated they've received support from the country music industry as well as other celebrity parents who have also experienced a similar loss.
The grieving father spoke about the day of River's death, sharing how a seemingly normal day with his children playing ended in tragedy. "It was actually a night just like this and I was outside playing with London," Granger recalled. "We were doing gymnastics in the yard and the boys were playing a water gun fight. I remember thinking, I was looking at London, as she was doing gymnastics and I thought, 'Soak up this moment because it's not going to last forever'" he said. "Somewhere between 30 seconds and three minutes Amber and I are inside our pool gate doing CPR on our son," he said.
Sadly neither first responders nor the staff at Dell Children's Medical Center was able to save River and the toddler died two days later. The Smiths stated that the death of their son has made them change how they perceive life. "I think the platform that we immediately stand for is love those close to you, soak up those moments, live for today, live in the present because we're not guaranteed tomorrow. What happened to us that night defied all possibilities. We believe that God gave us River for three years and that was his mission. I don't believe that God takes anyone too soon."
"I'm not going to play around in my mind that there's this fictitious timeline of River graduating from college or high school or playing football because I believe that he was put on this Earth for that exact amount of time," Smith said, confirming that his faith allows him to believe that he had his son for as long as he was supposed to.
He added that the accident has brought his family closer together, saying “We are stronger than ever. We’ve gotten so close,” Granger said. “We are going to constantly search for the meaning [behind the accident], not the reason, not going to get caught up in the reason because we will never know, but we will find the good.”
The country singer added that he is grateful for the outpouring of support but wants people to remember that his family was blessed to have River. “Don’t feel sorry for us. We feel very blessed. We had an incredible boy for three years and we feel good about that. We feel really good about our other kids and their states of mind right now. We are going to live our best lives."
Smith also confirmed that he and his family will resume his When the Good Guys Win tour starting next week, but there will be no meet and greets in the near future.