Granger Smith posted an emotional video on Wednesday (June 19) in which he opened up about his three year-old son River Kelly Smith’s tragic drowning accident at the country singer’s Georgetown, Texas, home on June 6. In it, Smith describes how he and wife Amber Bartlett were just having a normal night at home with their three kids, with Smith outside in the yard playing with seven year-old daughter London.
“We were doing gymnastics in the yard and the boys were playing a water gun fight. I remember thinking, I was looking at London, as she was doing gymnastics and I thought, ‘Soak up this moment because it’s not going to last forever,'” he says in the 27-minute video in which both he and Amber struggle at times to hold back their tears as they thank all the people who’ve supported them during this difficult time. “Somewhere between 30 seconds and three minutes, we don’t know, Amber and I are inside our pool gate doing CPR on our son.” First responders and the staff at Dell Children’s Medical Center were unable to revive River, whose organs the couple chose to donate in order to help others in need.
The couple apologized for going dark on social media over the past few weeks, describing the importance of getting up and speaking at River’s memorial service, as well as the outreach they’ve undertaken to speak to other families who’ve experienced such unimaginable loss and how it has helped them find hope. “We are going to search for every bit of good that we can find in this situation, the worst situation we’ve ever been through, hopefully ever,” Smith says of his commitment to his son’s legacy.
“I think the platform that we immediately stand for is love those close to you, soak up those moments, live for today, live in the present because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow,” Smith adds. “What happened to us that night defied all odds, all possibilities. We believe that God gave us River for three years and that was his mission. I don’t believe that God takes anyone too soon. I’m not going to play around in my mind that there’s this fictitious timeline of River graduating from college or high school or playing football because I believe that he was put on this Earth for that exact amount of time.”
The couple has raised more than $128,000 for the Dell Children’s center via a tribute t-shirt that features one of River’s favorite images, a Yee Yee Excavator. “The most important thing that we want to say and the reason we’re doing this video is that we are committed to each other, committed to our family, our kids (our faith) and we are stronger than ever right now,” he says. “We have gotten so close and we are going to constantly… search for the meaning, the good in this and the way to spread this message and to spread this legacy. He will always be with me, he will always be in our hearts.”
The video ends with a montage of photos and clips from River’s life.
Watch Smith’s video below.