Granger Smith and Wife Amber Expecting Baby Boy 21 Months After the Death of Son River
The country star and his wife each announced the happy news on Instagram Thursday evening with a heartfelt post.
"We're pregnant. I don't have many words for this video. Life isn't perfect. Sometimes it's beat up and broken but it's NEVER hopeless. God promises that," Smith, 41, captioned a video of the family speaking directly to their late son River. "Our story isn't finished yet, and neither is yours! Through our suffering and joy, God's glory radiates through it all! A new Smith boy is dude in August 🙏🏼"
"God has made a way we never thought possible. If I've learned anything over the last two years, it's that I do not have as much control as I think I do," Amber captioned her own post interspersed with Bible verses.
"Never did I think at 39 I would be blessed with expecting another baby boy. These past couple of years have been so rough but also so full of so much joy, hope, healing, growing and grace from God. Lord, I pray that our story can speak life to someone else who may be suffering to never give up hope. To surrender their burdens to you. To trust you even when it hurts."
To her late son, she added, "Sweet Riv, because of the beautiful life you lived, we are forever changed and we will continue honoring your big, little legacy until we come home to you. ❤️ To God we give all the glory and we can't wait to meet our new little boy August 2021. 💙"
News of their little one's impending arrival comes 21 months after tragedy struck the Smith family, when their youngest member, the couple's 3-year-old son River, died due to a drowning accident at home.
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In July of last year, Smith told PEOPLE that while he feels like he has "died" since losing River, "It's not a bad thing that that 'me' died. In fact, I think it's all good. It's only good."
The "Backroad Song" crooner added that he felt like he has "truly shed layers. 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."
Still, that doesn't mean he wouldn't trade this hard-won rebirth in a heartbeat to have a different outcome to the darkest day of his life. The evening of the accident — June 4, 2019 — Smith was playing in the yard of their home outside Georgetown, Texas, with River, his brother Lincoln, now 7, and sister London, now 9, while Amber took a shower inside.
As his attention turned to his older kids, Smith didn't notice as River somehow breached the pool-fence gate's childproof lock and headed into the water.
"It's not like the movies," said Smith. "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."
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Smith spoke with PEOPLE again in September about his latest album Country Things, recalling how he "obviously stopped everything" in the recording process (and "mentally," with "the creative flow") upon the death of his son.
The resulting album that eventually emerged is deeper, Smith knows, because he is deeper — a change that he called, in poignant understatement, "a special outcome of this situation."
But River's death has had a profound impact on Smith's professional life far beyond his music. As he and Amber have chronicled their grief journey in their popular YouTube show "The Smiths" and he has opened up on his weekly podcast, he has found fans turning to him as a guide through their own struggles.
And while the famous "yee yee" battle cry made famous by Smith's redneck alter ego Earl Dibbles Jr. is still in session, it's sounding a little different to the musician in its message these days: "Live life to the fullest."
"Anything affirmative and positive — that's what 'yee yee' is," Smith added to PEOPLE in September. "I can't believe that it's taken on that kind of meaning. But I just love it."