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Granger Smith Sheds Light on What Led to His Son’s Tragic Drowning

Earlier this month, Granger Smith lost his son River, 3, who “died in a tragic drowning accident.”

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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.

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After going dark on social media, Smith is opening up about his last moments with River. In a YouTube video, the 39-year-old revealed that River and his brother Lincoln were having a water gun fight while Smith was doing gymnastics with daughter London outside.

During that moment, Granger was thinking to himself, “Soak up this moment because it’s not going to last forever.”

Within “30 seconds to 3 minutes,” Granger and his wife Amber were “inside their pool gate doing CPR on our son.”

River passed away two days after he was rushed to the hospital.

Stressing the importance of love and living in the present, Granger said, “What happened that night defied all possibilities… We believe that God gave gave River to us for three years and that was his mission.”

“I don’t think God takes anyone too soon. I believe he was put on this earth for the exact amount of time, Smith emphasized. “He lived a good 1,000 days. That’s a huge example for me and how we’re going to look at every single day.”

In the wake of their family tragedy, Granger noted, “We are stronger than ever. We’ve gotten so close. 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.”

Granger is staying positive, saying, “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 are going to live our best life.”

Granger will be heading back on tour next week, bringing his family along. He commented, “Music has always been my healing. That’s the place that I’ve always turned to.”

While Amber remained quiet for most of the clip, she shared her thoughts on "Riv" on Instagram. She said, “This has been the most horrific, life-altering, soul-defining two weeks of our lives. We went from such a happy, fun-loving, exploring, dancing, party of five, 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 two 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 three 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 two other miracles that day for other mamas and daddies praying that someone would help save their child,” she continued.

A few weeks ago, Granger shared that River’s organs were donated “so other children will be given a second chance at life.” In lieu of flowers or gifts, Granger asked that donations be made to Dell Children’s Medical Center in River’s name. Supporters have donated over $100,000 to the hospital, where River was treated. Click here to donate.

As for the wide range of emotions that they have felt since River’s passing, Amber said, “Sadness, anger, shock, questioning, fear, hope, the joy of remembering, emptiness, worry, heartbreak, trust in our faith — we feel all of this and more.”

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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

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Granger shared the same photo as Amber, writing, “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.”

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