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Granger Smith’s Wife Honors Son On First Anniversary of His Passing

This family is so incredibly strong.

Granger Smith’s Wife Honors Son On First Anniversary of His Passing
Granger Smith and River, Photo courtesy of Granger Smith

On Saturday, June 6th, Granger Smith’s wife Amber reflected on the one-year anniversary of the passing of their 3-year-old son, River, after a drowning accident at their home. She detailed the events of that tragic day in an Instagram post.

“One year ago today, we took our ‘honor walk’ as we walked behind our sweet son down the long hallway to the operating room,” she writes, referencing the operation that allowed River to become an organ donor. “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.”

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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 ✝️🌈🦋⚡️🦖🚜🎈

A post shared by Amber Smith 🦋 (@amberemilysmith) on

She went on to explain that the surgeons did something sweet to honor River during the surgery.

“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,” she writes. “They later told me they played the Cars soundtrack as they operated.

Smith continued, saying how she and Granger wouldn’t let his tragedy break their family. They then returned home to see “Welcome Home, Riv” written in chalk on the driveway and had to tell their other children, London and Lincoln, the news.

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365 days since I held your curious, playful, vivacious spirit alive. It’s hard for me to grasp that I’ve been without you a third of the time I had with you. Time doesn’t make sense. Heck, most of life doesn’t make sense. Today, I’m holding on to hope. I’m lifting my gaze to what is unseen and instead of letting myself go down a bad road of guilt, pain, and anger, I’m going to praise. I’m going to thank God for you. You changed me forever, River Kelly. As I type this, I’m looking at the beautiful sun, and the thousands of yellow wildflowers I know you would have brought to me with the biggest smile on your face. I know God is working. I know He will bring healing, new joy and transformation of our hearts through this pain. I know that when everything seems impossible, God will carry me and I know I will see you again. Until then, I will praise, I will fight, I will live for you with an open heart to try to learn and grow and trust God’s plan. My worst day was your best, little man, as you woke up in the arms of Jesus. I miss you. I love you. We can do this. ❤️⚡️🦋🌈✝️🚜🦖 2 Corinthians 4:18

A post shared by Amber Smith 🦋 (@amberemilysmith) on

“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,” Amber wrote. “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.”

Amber ended the message by saying they are ready to start year 2 of grieving and that she will continue trusting in God to help her.