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/ Source: TODAY
By Alyssa Newcomb

Amber Smith, the wife of country singer Granger Smith, said she's experiencing the "full gamut of emotions" and is thinking of her late 3-year-old son as his older siblings head back to school.

River Smith died in a drowning accident in June at the family's home in Texas. His mother shared a photo on Thursday of his two older siblings, London, who is starting second grade, and Lincoln, who is in kindergarten, smiling with their backpacks on and ready to start the school year.

It was a simultaneously sweet but heartbreaking moment for Smith, who said her late son was already belting out his ABCs.

"So excited for Lincoln to be able to walk into Kindergarten at the same school as his big sister. 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," Smith wrote. "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."

While it has been a challenging few months for the family, Smith said she is leaning on her faith.

“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," she wrote. "This sucks and it will suck for the rest of my life, but I’m choosing to make the most out of the hand that we’ve been dealt."

For Smith, that includes "choosing to smile, through tears" and be excited for London and Lincoln, "because they need and deserve that."

"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," she said.