So emotional. Granger Smith performed for the first time on Sunday, June 23 — just 19 days since his 3-year-old son, River, passed away on June 6.

The “Backroad Song” crooner, 39, returned to the stage at the County LakeShake Festival in Chicago where he debuted a brand new tattoo with his late son’s name on his forearm.

Granger Smith Performs for the First Time Since Son River's Tragic Death
Daniel DeSlover/ZUMA Wire

During his set, a fan posted a video of the country star singing a heartfelt version of his song “Heaven Bound Balloons,” where he often pointed to the sky while singing. “The best and worst moments at @LakeShakeFest. @GrangerSmith singing ‘Heaven Bound Balloons.’ We could see and feel the pain in all their eyes, but when G pulled out McQueen? Gut wrenching! We love you, Granger! Thank you for being you. You’re stronger than you know. #LiveLikeRiv,” they wrote on Twitter.

On Wednesday, June 19, the Texas native announced that he would be going back on the road in a YouTube video. “I’m still going to do music,” he said. “In fact, I’m going to go back on tour next week, and I’m going to bring them [wife Amber Smith, daughter London, 7, and son Lincoln, 5] with me.”

However, Granger revealed he would not be meeting fans backstage. “I don’t think that’s the best place for me to be right now,” he said. “A. It’s gonna be strange if we have to talk about River, and B. It’s gonna be even stranger if we don’t talk about River. So, I think it’s best for all of us … until I get my head straight.”

Granger and Amber, 37, are still coping after their youngest son died in an accidental drowning at the family’s home in Georgetown, Texas. “Getting back on the road and back into daily life without River has not been easy in the slightest,” Amber wrote on Instagram on Sunday, June 23. “Every single thing reminds me of him, and all I can think about is how he would love exploring and seeing all that we are seeing. I see his name everywhere, I see little red-headed toddlers everywhere. I miss his silly personality and his bright light. I see his face in our other kiddos.”

Amber revealed she is trying to be brave for the sake of her kids. “I have this pit in my stomach constantly because I’m trying to make life as normal as possible for our other two incredible kiddos, London and Lincoln, while hurting so bad inside,” she wrote on social media. “I look around at everyone else and wonder if anyone is going through something like we are. Dumb little things don’t matter anymore. My family does. My faith does. We’ve got this because God’s got us.”

She concluded the lengthy post by expressing her gratitude towards her family and friends. “Thank you all for your continued support, prayers and love. It really does help us so much. #LiveLikeRiv,” she wrote.

Granger also updated fans on Instagram on June 19, and revealed that his family will get through this tough time. “[Death] can weaken, terrify and separate those close to it. But it can also awaken us,” he wrote. “It can remind us never to take a moment with those we love for granted. In my house, we have united stronger and closer than we’ve ever been. 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.”

We are thinking of the Smith family during this time.

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