Granger Smith and wife Amber's 3-year-old son River tragically died in June 2019 in a drowning accident at the family's home, and Amber remembered her son on the one-year anniversary of his death in a post on Instagram on Thursday. She shared an emotional caption along with a slideshow of photos of River with his family, starting with a snap of the little boy kneeling on a log at a park, a small toy truck in his hand.
"365 days since I held your curious, playful, vivacious spirit alive," Amber began her caption. "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." Amber shared that she was "holding on to hope" and "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," she wrote. "I’m going to thank God for you. You changed me forever, River Kelly." The 38-year-old shared that as she typed her message, she was looking at the sun and "thousands" of yellow wildflowers she knows her son would have brought to her with "the biggest smile."
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"I know God is working," she continued. "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."
In a YouTube video shortly after River's death, Smith and Amber shared that Smith was outside playing with the couple's daughter London as River and his brother, Lincoln, were having a water gun fight. "I remember thinking I was looking at London as she was doing gymnastics and I thought, soak up this moment. I just had to stop, [and] soak up this moment because it’s not going to last forever," Smith recalled. "Somewhere between 30 seconds and three minutes, we don’t know, Amber and I are inside our pool gate doing CPR on our son." Since River's death, Smith and Amber have been working to educate others about child drowning prevention.