With a sweet tribute video, Granger Smith and Amber Bartlett broke their silence since announcing the death of their toddler, River. Amber confessed it has been the most ‘horrific’ two weeks of the family’s lives.
Granger Smith, 39, and Amber Bartlett, 37, let the world know how they’re doing in the wake of the tragic death of their three-year-old son, River. It has been nearly two weeks since the country music community was rocked by news that Granger and Amber’s young boy “died in a tragic drowning accident at home” on June 6, which Granger’s rep told People. After staying silent on social media in the days since, the couple broke its silence in an emotional YouTube video titled “Finding Light In Our Darkest Time” on June 19. However, Granger assured viewers this wasn’t intended to be a “sad” video — after urging fans to seize the day, the video launched into a montage of sweet memories with River.
Staying true to his message, Granger revealed that he’ll also be returning to tour “next week” and is bringing the whole family with him — that includes his wife, daughter London, 7, and son Lincoln, 5. However, the country singer will be holding off on meet and greets with fans for the time being. Granger dived even deeper into his mourning process in the video’s caption.
“We’ve been on quite the journey these past few weeks. I’ve been dark on social media, but I still have a full understanding of the responsibility placed upon me as a public figure. I can choose to snuff that influence, or instead use my platform (in relevancy big or small) towards what I believe is right,” Granger began. The singer used his respectable reputation in country music to sell tribute shirts for River, profits of which will go to the Dell Childrens Medical Center (the same pediatric facility in Central Texas where River was admitted before passing away). The shirts have raised over $120,000 as of June 19!
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We’ve been on quite the journey these past few weeks. I’ve been dark on social media, but I still have a full understanding of the responsibility placed upon me as a public figure. I can choose to snuff that influence, or instead use my platform (in relevancy big or small) towards what I believe is right. I believe I’m obligated on certain levels to include you guys in my current journey, as I’ve been involved either personally or musically in yours. – 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. – In my house, we have united stronger and closer than we’ve ever been. We’ve cried. We’ve smiled. I’ve held my family tight. I’ve found strength from God and used that in the face of adversity so that my wife and children can rely on me. I’ve guarded my heart and my mind during weak moments and graciously accepted all of the encouragement and empathy from so many. I have realized that I will not slave over a search for answers, but instead for meaning. I will focus and then cultivate the light from a dark place, the good from the bad, God’s will from my own plans. I can rest assured knowing that River’s assignment on earth was always intended for 1116 days and not only did he live it to the fullest, but he lived it loved by so many, including a mother, father, sister and brother who held nothing back and have no regrets on how much he felt that love. We should all be so blessed to be able to live like Riv. – Amber and I want you to hear it from us and not just read it, so we made this little video for you to watch. (Link in bio)Thank you for all the love, prayers and support. We feel it!
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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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Amber also posted her own tribute to Instagram on June 19, but didn’t downplay how traumatizing the ordeal has been for her family. “This has been the most horrific, life-altering, soul-defining 2 weeks of our lives,” the actress began. “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.” Despite the tragedy, Granger promised in his respective post that his family has “united stronger and [is] closer than we’ve ever been” — you can read both their letters above.