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Granger Smith returns to the stage with a tattoo in honor of late son, River

The country music artist had his son's name tattooed in script on his forearm in his first show since the boy's tragic death.
/ Source: TODAY

Country music star Granger Smith took to the stage for the first time since the drowning death of his son with a permanent reminder of the little boy inked on his arm.

Smith revealed a new tattoo of his son's name in script on his right forearm when he performed at the Country LakeShake music festival in Chicago Sunday.

Granger Smith
Country music singer Granger Smith showed off a new tattoo of his son's name, River, in his first performance since the boy's death earlier this month. /

The show marked Smith's first time back on stage since he and his wife, Amber, announced on June 6 that their son, River, 3, had died in "a tragic accident." A representative later confirmed to NBC News that the boy drowned in a pool at their Texas home.

During his set, Smith sang a heartfelt version of his song "Heaven Bound Balloons," featuring the lyrics, "We miss you and we love you."

Smith often pointed to the sky during the song, and walked backstage before it was over.

His performance came on the final day of the three-day festival featuring other country music luminaries like Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan and Keith Urban.

Smith and his wife also plan to honor River's memory by presenting a donation to the Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday afternoon. River was treated at the facility before his death.

A special T-shirt in honor of River from Smith's Yee Yee apparel line raised $218,791 for Dell Children's Medical Center, according to the Yee Yee website.

The couple has been open about trying to heal in the wake of River's death.

In a video posted last week, the pair said they felt grateful for the brief time they had with their little boy.

"Don't feel sorry for us. We feel very blessed," Granger Smith told fans. "We had an incredible boy for three years, and we feel good about that. We are going to live our best life."

Amber Smith wrote in an Instagram post Monday that she is "hurting so bad" and described seeing signs of him everywhere when she took the couple's two other children on a trip to a Chicago museum.

"Getting back on the road and back into daily life without River has not been easy in the slightest,'' she wrote. "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. I have this pit in my stomach constantly, because I'm trying to make life as normal as possible for our other 2 incredible kiddos, London and Lincoln, while hurting so bad inside."