Country music singer-songwriter Granger Smith returned to the stage for the first time following the accidental death of his youngest son, 3-year-old River.
During his set at Country Lakeshake on Sunday (June 23), the 39-year-old family man gave an emotionally charged performance of “Heaven Bound Balloons.”
Fans applauded Smith as he showed his strength by delivering the tune flawlessly, despite recent unimaginable events. Toward the end of his performance, the singer put his hand on his chest, and inadvertently gave fans a clear view of his brand new tattoo, which simply reads River’s name spelled out in black lettering.
Smith and his family, wife Amber Smith, daughter London, 7, and son Lincoln, 5, have been relying on their faith to get them through this unfathomable situation. They’ve also been doing everything in their power to honor River’s legacy. Prior to Smith’s return to the stage, he shared an update with fans on Instagram, explaining how he and his family have been healing, as they come to terms with their new reality.
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“In my house, we have united stronger and closer than we’ve ever been,” he wrote, alongside a portrait of River smiling. “We’ve cried. We’ve smiled. I’ve held my family tight. I’ve found strength from God and used that in the face of adversity so that my wife and children can rely on me. I’ve guarded my heart and my mind during weak moments and graciously accepted all of the encouragement and empathy from so many.”
“I have realized that I will not slave over a search for answers, but instead for meaning,” he added. “I will focus and then cultivate the light from a dark place, the good from the bad, God’s will from my own plans. I can rest assured knowing that River’s assignment on earth was always intended for 1116 days and not only did he live it to the fullest, but he lived it loved by so many, including a mother, father, sister and brother who held nothing back and have no regrets on how much he felt that love. We should all be so blessed to be able to live like Riv.”
Smith also closed out his message by leading fans to a tribute video of his baby boy.