Granger Smith Opens Up About Son’s Accident and Staying Strong Through Grief: ‘It Is Our Responsibility’
Granger Smith turned once again to his family's YouTube channel to speak directly to his fans on Tuesday (June 25), exactly three weeks to the day after his 3-year-old son, River, drowned at the family's home. In an emotional update posted on Wednesday (June 26), the singer explained why he and his wife, Amber, have decided to remain so open with his fans about their family's journey through loss and healing.
Smith spoke into a camera while driving on his way to Yee Yee Farm, explaining that the last time he was out there, River was with him.
"Part of me wants to pack up the family and find some secluded cabin in Colorado and disappear, and never be heard from again," the "Damn Strait" singer admits, adding, "I don't think most of you would blame me if I did that. I don't think it would be wrong if I did that."
Instead, he and Amber have regularly updated fans as to how their family is coping, and Smith has returned to the road, offering a stunning tribute to River with a performance of "Heaven Bound Balloons" at the 2019 LakeShake Festival in Chicago over the weekend.
Granger Smith Pays Tribute to Late Son River Smith
Smith explains that he and Amber think it's important to continue to try to be positive role models for fans who have also lost loved ones, citing the many people he's met over the years who've taken solace in his music after loss.
"It is our responsibility" to continue that work, he says, adding that it's also important that they remain strong for their children. As it turns out, all of the kids were present when River suffered his accident.
They were all in the backyard together, he explains. Smith was doing gymnastics with his daughter, 8-year-old London, while River and 5-year-old Lincoln were having a water gun fight. What transpired next took just thirty seconds, Smith says, but would change the entire trajectory of the family's life.
Smith clarifies that he and Amber built a fence with a child-locked gate around their pool as soon as they moved into their house, saying the sequence of events that ended up with River inside that gate alone was "virtually impossible, and River found a way to accomplish the impossible several times." They're still not sure exactly how it happened, but he ended up making no noise as he slipped inside and ended up in the water.
"I was fifteen feet from this gate, which is something that will haunt me the rest of my life," Smith admits. "I was fifteen feet from that water." He adds that River swam every day, and it remains a mystery not only how he got inside the gate, but why he drowned in a pool he'd been swimming in many times.
Smith says the big takeaway for him is a lesson that has value for everyone: "You've got to love those around you today, right now, because the impossible does happen ... we just don't know."
He added that he didn't want to focus too much on negatives because "this is actually going to be a really good day." He was on his way to the farm to pack up the very last of the River tribute T-shirts he's been offering online to raise money for Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, where River received treatment and the staff showed the family great compassion. The Smiths presented a check for $218,791 to the hospital on Tuesday, vowing that this was just the beginning. Though the River tribute T-shirts are currently sold out, fans can still donate directly to the medical center, and there will be another T-shirt designed to raise more money in the fall.
"I don't believe in coincidences. I don't believe in luck. I'm a man of faith, and I don't believe on those things," Smith says. "And so I don't believe that it's a coincidence that is it three weeks to the day ... this is about spreading the word of love, of River's legacy. It's going to be a mission I'm on the rest of my life."
PICS: Granger Smith, Wife Amber Give Big Check to Dell Children's: