Granger Smith's Children Return to School After Devastating Loss of Son, River

Granger Smith's wife, Amber, reveals her two children, London and Lincoln, have started school, admitting the occasion was bittersweet so soon after the loss of their 3-year-old son, River. The toddler, who died in a drowning accident at the family's Texas ranch, planned on spending his year at home with Amber, which makes the start of school especially painful for Amber.

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"Back to school. Man. The full gamut of emotions today," Amber posted alongside a series of her daughter and son. "So happy and proud for London entering 2nd grade. So excited for Lincoln to be able to walk into Kindergarten at the same school as his big sister. Yet, I’m also so sad they won’t have their little brother bouncing and running down the halls, making everyone laugh at drop off. I would normally be going home with just River for another year before he started Pre-K. I was so excited to have the one on one time with him while big bro and sis were at school.

"He was already belting out his 'ABCD’s' and teaching me the difference between an excavator and front loader," she continued. "But sometimes the plans we make for ourselves don’t come to pass. Sometimes God has another path for you, your family, and your heart. This sucks and it will suck for the rest of my life, but I’m choosing to make the most out of the hand that we’ve been dealt. I’m choosing to smile, through tears, and get excited for London and Linc because they need and deserve that. I’m going to focus on living a life of meaning for River’s honor, creating the foundation in his name to help others, and getting closer to Jesus and my family & friends than I’ve ever been. Not today Satan."

Amber also offered encouragement to others who are experiencing difficulties, regardless of the circumstances.

"If you’re having a hard time, going through a 'why god' season, and your life isn’t what you planned it to be, 'you CAN do it,'" Amber promised. "You have a purpose. Your grief and joy can coexist. It’s not over yet. Just dig deep. Fight when you can and hit your knees when you can’t. Let’s all pray for our kiddos and our teachers and our schools. May God be by their side every step of the way. And thank you ALL for your words of encouragement, kindness & love. They really help my mama heart."


The Smiths donated more than $218,000 to Dell Medical Center, where River was treated. The money was raised from the sale of River tribute t-shirts. The couple also revealed that they were able to donate River's organs, which saved the lives of two adults.

Photo Credit: Getty images / Rick Kern