Granger Smith Details Tragic Night He Hit ‘Rock Bottom’ After Loss of Son

Granger Smith experienced every parent’s worst nightmare: the loss of his own child. River, Smith and his wife, Amber’s son, tragically passed away in 2019, after accidentally drowning in the family’s pool. It was Smith who discovered the three-year-old, with the memories of that fateful night haunting him, launching him into a downward spiral that at one time he wasn’t sure he would ever escape.

“I would wake up in the middle of the night many times, and I would wake up and go, ‘I lost my son,’ and then I couldn’t go back to sleep,” Smith tells Entertainment Tonight. “It was every night, so I would take weed in some form so that hopefully I would sleep all night and it worked. It felt good and so then, I thought, ‘Well, I might as well go and have in the morning, too, in case something happens at breakfast, and then I might as well make sure around lunchtime.'”

The Texas native’s dependency on a substance to at least take the edge off of the pain became the only way he knew, at least at the time, to cope with the endless memories that flooded his mind.

“And then I thought if I don’t have it, I’m in trouble, and the slideshow’s gonna overtake me,” Smith admits. “And the slideshow was just random images of River, of losing him and whether he’s face down in the pool or I’m holding him or we’re going to the hospital or the doctor saying, ‘We’re gonna lose him.'”

Smith is now bravely sharing the night he hit rock bottom, and how he recovered, in hopes that his story will offer hope to others who also feel like there is no way out of their pain. The singer was drunk on his bus, with a gun in his hand, when he thought the only solution was to take his own life.

“That night on Wildflower in that back bedroom — that was just as rock bottom as it got to be honest … There was one night in Boise, Idaho, where I just wanted to end it all, when the weed wasn’t working anymore, and the alcohol couldn’t numb it and self-help certainly couldn’t help anymore, ’cause it takes a level of strength to self-help,” Smith remembers. “And when you don’t have any strength, what do you do? Maybe the only answer is to end it all because maybe that’s where the peace is. Maybe that’s when you can finally rest in that.”

Fortunately, it was thinking about his wife and his two surviving children that gave Smith the strength to pull through, and find hope on the other side of the tragedy.

“I had one thought and it was Lincoln and London, my two kids at home,” Smith shares. “That was the first thought that hit me.  I just saw their faces and then I said, ‘Jesus, help me.’ …I said, ‘Jesus, save me,’ and suddenly I felt life sort of stop for the first time. The slideshow stopped. I slid the gun out of my hand and it hit the bank and I fell down on the floor, and I was crying and I was horrified at my shame and my guilt and the weakness I was and the lack of strength that I had and the weak man I that I was. It all hit me at once and that was the beginning.”

That night was a turning point for Smith in a lot of ways. As he relied on his faith more and more, he realized his passion was more for his faith than his music, choosing to retire from touring and performing, and focus on full-time ministry instead.

“This season of my life will be actually being with my family and going to our little local church and learning under our pastor,” Smith shares. “And going to seminary and getting out and speaking occasionally, and talking about this book, and telling people about my darkest night and how I was saved from that, so that’s where I am right now.”

Smith just released Like a River: Finding the Faith and Strength to Move Forward After Loss and Heartache, which details his journey towards healing after the loss of his son. His final tour stop will be on August 26. Find more information, and purchase Like a River, at