The country singer and his wife are in the process of healing. They hope to sustain the legacy of their child.
Losing your child is painful but it is even more devastating if you feel you are to be blamed for it in one way or the other. Country singer Granger Smith lost his 3-year-old in a drowning accident. The incident that took place on 4 June 2019 changed his life forever. Looking back at it a year later, the singer admits that he still bears the guilt and grief.
Speaking to People, Smith and his wife, Amber reflected on the incident and stated that they didn't know when they could forgive themselves for the tragedy that happened in their presence. "I know that there's going to be a time when I'm going to forgive myself, but I'm not there yet," said the singer.
Her wife added, "I don't know if we ever truly will be able to forgive ourselves. I pray that we can. I hope we can," according to People.
The tragedy that turned the life of the family took place in the yard of their home outside Georgetown, Texas. The singer along with the kids, Lincoln, London, and River were playing in the yard while his wife was taking a shower inside.
When Smith's attention was taken away by the elder children, the youngest boy, River fell into the pool in spite of the child lock proof lock. Recalling the incident, Smith stated, "It's not like the movies. To comprehend that you could lose someone to drowning 20 feet from you doesn't make any sense unless you know how that process works and that it's so silent. There isn't splashing or gurgling or kicking. There wasn't even a splash going in," according to People.
By the time, Smith came to the rescue of his son, his lungs were full of water. Smith, along with his wife performed CPR on the kid. The EMTs were able to restore his heartbeat but the child had already suffered catastrophic brain damage. After spending two days in the hospital, the boy was taken off life support.
His parents then donated his organs. It was the darkest day in the life of the couple. The loss of their child also left them with a few lessons.
His boy's death made Smith realize that children can drown in less than 30 seconds. He also became aware of the importance of a second lock on the pool gate or an alarm to signal the entry of kids into the pool. The absence of these amenities led to the death of Smith's son.
Smith now uses this incident to spread awareness and hopes to sustain the legacy of his little child through charity. Apart from donating River's organs, the family also raised money for a children's hospital. They also established the River Kelly Fund to support various causes.
Meanwhile, the tragedy left a lasting impression on their personal lives. Smith and his family moved out of their dream home as it reminded them of the horrific incident. Apart from that, the singer felt like a failed father and had to gather a lot of courage to perform in front of his audience.
"They're staring at me like, there's the failed father up there," said the father of three, alluding to his fears. However, getting back on stage allowed him to heal sooner. Smith stated that every time he performs he feels closer to his little boy, River. "I could be on the stage now and there could be a lot of people watching me and they don't know, but I've got my eyes closed and it's just me and Riv," said the father.
The couple also credited his Christain faith for giving him the strength to overcome the grief. "For me, that's pretty much all I've had," said Smith. "My brain is not capable of calculating that magnitude of a loss, and then I have to realize that I don't have to. I can lean on a higher power for that and know that my little boy is in a better place," added Amber. She said the incident brought her closer to God.
Smith, on the other hand, says he has become a better version of himself. "I feel like I've died" — but, he adds, "It's not a bad thing that that 'me' died. In fact, I think it's all good. It's only good. I feel wiser. I feel more in tune spiritually. I feel more aware of our present moment and the value in the present moment, the value in the current breath that we have," said the 40-year-old singer, after a year of the tragedy, according to People.