Amber Smith is speaking on her life three years after losing her son River Kelly, 3, who fatally drowned in 2019.
Granger Smith’s Wife Amber Recalls When She Broke The News To Her Children How Their Brother Had Died
Amid the discussion, Amber recalls telling son Lincoln Monarch, 8, and daughter London, 10, that their brother had died after the accident, which they had witnessed. Lincoln was 5 and London was 7 at the time of the tragedy.
“We had to be very honest from the very beginning,” Amber says. “We went home with that intention of being very honest … We said, ‘River was without oxygen for too long. They did everything that they could but Bubbie died.’ “
“And then we let them process their emotions and told them that whatever they’re feeling … it’s OK.”
Amber says she and Granger permitted the kids to see them grieving as well. The two also made the choice to share much of that experience on social media.
“So many times, it was not pretty … sobbing tears, screaming in my car, punching my steering wheel, sitting by his bed, holding his blanket crying until nothing came out. That’s where I was and that’s what’s real and I think people don’t talk about [it],” she says.
“I was just trying to show the realness of pain and grief and it’s not easy. It’s OK to feel those emotions … but you can’t stay there, you can’t stay stuck in that place.”
Amber also spoke about welcoming son Maverick Beckham, 9 months, after having lost River. “He’s just the sweetest and just so happy,” Amber shares. “Just bringing so much joy back into our lives.”
The mom of four shared her difficult times in the early weeks of postpartum.
“I was so grateful to have Maverick and I was so joyful, but I was also so sad that we didn’t have Riv,” she explains. “But then we wouldn’t have Maverick if we hadn’t lost Riv. It’s a weird thing to think about.”
Amber says that when she looks back at their journey, “there’s grief and joy coexisting throughout these three years.”
“It’s looked like so many different things over the last three years. It has looked like anger and severe sadness and frustration and confusion,” Amber says. “But it’s also looked like growing through it and seeing joy in my other children and seeing them thrive in school, and bringing awareness to drowning prevention and helping others through the River Kelly Fund.”
Amber shared how she and Granger hope that by sharing their family’s loss, people understand there can be joy after loss.
“I guess just being honest and vulnerable about that, that grief is messy and it’s work but that there is light if you just keep taking the next step,” she says. “And that’s all we’ve been doing since that terrible day in June, is just doing the next thing and taking the next step forward to continue to live for our children and our marriage.”
Back in May, Granger posted an Instagram video of baby Maverick floating in a pool by himself as part of his swim lessons.
“I never thought I would post something like this, but my mind is blown. This is a vid of our 8-month-old Maverick on his 10th ISR (infant swim rescue) lesson,” the country singer wrote. “He’s in full clothes and diaper. He can barely crawl, but now he knows how to hold his breath, twist his body, find the air, float on his back and cry. He can do this falling in head first, feet first, or any orientation. He has the skills to float until help comes.”
“He’s a warrior and doesn’t even realize it,” Granger added. “He’s an example for many families who see this video. Only ONE person needs to see this, and hear my plea to you. Drowning is the #1 accidental death of children age 4 and under. Thinking that adult supervision is enough is an absolutely DEADLY miscalculation. Hear me. I used to think that too.”
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