On Thursday, the 37-year-old wife of Granger Smith took to Instagram to share photos of her two children -- Lincoln, 5, and London, 7 -- heading off to school. The post is melancholy as it comes after her youngest son, River, died at age 3 after a drowning accident in June.
In the pics, Lincoln and London are all smiles as they pose with their backpacks, ready to take on the new school year. In the caption, however, Amber reflects on her life and loss.
"Back to school. Man. The full gamut of emotions today. So happy and proud for London entering 2nd grade. So excited for Lincoln to be able to walk into Kindergarten at the same school as his big sister," she wrote. "Yet, I’m also so sad they won’t have their little brother bouncing and running down the halls, making everyone laugh at drop off."
"I would normally be going home with just River for another year before he started pre-k. I was so excited to have the one on one time with him while big bro and sis were at school," Amber said of River, whose organs saved two lives following his death. "He was already belting out his 'ABCD’s' and teaching me the difference between an excavator and front loader. But sometimes the plans we make for ourselves don’t come to pass. Sometimes God has another path for you, your family, and your heart."
Amber lamented that the situation "sucks and it will suck for the rest of my life," but added that she's "choosing to make the most out of the hand we've been dealt."
"I’m choosing to smile, through tears, and get excited for London and Linc because they need and deserve that," she wrote. "I’m going to focus on living a life of meaning for River’s honor, creating the foundation in his name to help others, and getting closer to Jesus and my family & friends than I’ve ever been. Not today Satan."
She continued her post by explaining how her faith has helped her through the devastating circumstances and even added some encouraging words for others who may be struggling.
"If you’re having a hard time, going through a 'why god' season, and your life isn’t what you planned it to be, 'you CAN do it'. You have a purpose. Your grief and joy can coexist," Amber wrote. "It’s not over yet. Just dig deep. Fight when you can and hit your knees when you can’t."
"Let’s all pray for our kiddos and our teachers and our schools. May God be by their side every step of the way. ?? ? ✏️," she concluded. "And thank you ALL for your words of encouragement, kindness & love. They really help my mama heart. ❤️ Matthew 11:28"
Watch the video below for more on the Smith family.