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Granger Smith to Talks New Memoir ‘Like a River’

Photo from Granger Smith’s Instagram

Granger Smith to Talks New Memoir ‘Like a River’

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Granger Smith to release a memoir documenting how he has found new life following the death of his young son, River, in 2019. 

Smith lost his son after River slipped through their pool gate and fell into the water, while he was quickly pulled out, he was unable to be resuscitated. In Like a River, Smith records the dark spiral that he entered after losing his son and the deep faith that ended up saving him. 

“Most of it was failure,” Smith said. “Trying to figure out how I was going to wake up in the morning and start a new day, knowing I have a dead son, is something that I failed at for months and months… I tried everything. I tried the self-help books and I tried different forms of exercise, diets. Different edibles – anything. If you would’ve said, ‘Are you going through heartache? Are you going through extreme grief? Try this. I read about this, try it’ I’d probably try it… I was going to do anything so that I could by strong for my family. Nothing was working.” 

Smith continued to tour after the tragedy, performing with a smile on his face, despite how broken he felt inside. 

It wasn’t until Smith immersed himself in faith that he was able to find freedom from the death of his son and the dark place that it brought him to. 

“Let’s look at it this way – when you have a 3- or 4-year-old child, they might be going through something really tough, like trying to tie their shoes,” he explained. “They’re getting frustrated… they’re hungry… They’re just going through this tough time of just trying to tie their shoes and everything is going wrong. Then a parent comes in, picks them up, and says, ‘Stop fighting. I got you. I’ll get your shoes tied. I’ll get you to school. Just stop fighting.’ It’s that same feeling I had when I finally released myself and said, ‘God, I’m giving this all to you. Just take it.’ And then that fatherly feeling of Him just wrapping his arms around me and going, ‘I got you.’ That’s the feeling of relief that I had.” 

Smith has since devoted his life to ministry. He is currently working towards a master’s degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and plans to work at his local church following a final “Like a River” tour this summer. 

The country music star believes that sharing his story will give people hope. 

“There’s a kind of joy that can coexist with grief,” he said. “You could be grieving and yet joyful and hopeful and have peace about that. That is my journey. A lot of people have different journeys on how to get to that location, but this is my journey and how I got there.” 

Like a River releases on August 1st and can be pre-ordered now. 

Movieguide® previously reported about Smith: 

Country music star Granger Smith is sharing how his faith helped him after the tragic death of his 3 year-old son 

River Smith drowned in the family’s pool in July 2019. 

“I was there,” Smith recalled. “I was 15 feet away from this. I was doing gymnastics with my daughter, and River was playing water gunfight with our son, Lincoln. And somehow he got into our gated locked pool. Within seconds, right behind me while I was doing gymnastics with our daughter, he was in the pool and had inhaled water. Became unconscious. When I pulled him out, I didn’t know CPR, besides what I had seen in the movies, and we lived out in the country.” 

He continued “So, it took paramedics 10 minutes to get there. That’s too long to go without oxygen to his little brain, and it ended up being irreversible.”  

River died the next day.  

“The months and years following that were rock bottom for me,” Smith said. He shared that he and wife Amber Bartlett struggled to come to terms with their son’s death.  

“I thought I could [do it] on my own with self-help and self-improvement and exercise and positivity and visualization, meditation and devotionals,” he explained. “I thought I could just mend it, fix it and move on, and I couldn’t.” 

The singer said that it wasn’t until he “surrendered to God” that he found any peace.  

“God gave River to us for three years and that was his mission,” Smith explained. “I don’t think God takes anyone too soon. I believe he was put on this earth for the exact amount of time… He lived a good 1,000 days. That’s a huge example for me and how we’re going to look at every single day.” 

Smith is now putting his knowledge of overcoming grief to use in an upcoming project.  

He is set to make his acting debut in Pure Flix’s MOONRISE, where Smith will play a widowed country singer trying to navigate life without his wife.  

“I just thought, ‘Wow, that’s a really good story. I really like the story,’” he shared. “I didn’t think about how difficult it would be to memorize the entire script and to go through that month-long, rigorous journey of filming this feature-length movie, but I really enjoyed it.” 

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.

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