Granger Smith's Wife Pays Tribute to Late Son River 1 Year After Death 1
Courtesy of Amber Smith/Instagram; Inset: Shutterstock

Always in their thoughts. Granger Smith’s wife, Amber, paid tribute to the couple’s late son, River, on the first anniversary of his untimely death.

“One year ago today, we took our ‘honor walk’ as we walked behind our sweet son down the long hallway to the operating room,” the 38-year-old mother shared to Instagram.

“River took his last breath in there, without his mommy and daddy,” she recalled from the tragic day. “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.”

Amber and Granger regretted to share River died by drowning on June 6, 2019, in an emotional Facebook post. “Riv was special,” the post read. “Everyone that met him knew that immediately.”

View this post on Instagram

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

The actress said she and the country singer “vowed to not let this break our family” despite the tremendous heartbreak. Amber explained how the parents had to tell their other children — daughter London, 8, and son Lincoln, 6 — River “wasn’t coming home.”

Upon returning from the hospital, Amber and Granger saw their kids made a welcome home sign for River. “My heart hurt so bad knowing they colored these hearts anticipating his return. He wouldn’t return to our home but he was Home.” Having one of the “hardest conversations” with her kids, the mom and dad broke the news as they sat in River’s favorite spot to play.

Reflecting on the past year, Amber continued, “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.”

Granger Smith's Wife Pays Tribute to Late Son River 1 Year After Death
Courtesy of Amber Smith/Instagram

In anticipation for the year ahead, Amber wrote, “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.”

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!