A new dad who lost both his wife and baby boy in a matter of days found some comfort from the inconceivable heartbreak through a tender song he performed for the tiny infant.
A video of musician Chris Picco singing the Beatles’ classic “Blackbird” to his son Lennon James in the neonatal intensive care unit of Loma Linda University Hospital in California has moved hundreds of thousands of people after it was posted on YouTube by a friend of the family.
The baby was due in February but Picco’s wife Ashley died suddenly on Saturday. Her life was “tragically, devastatingly cut short,” a website created in her memory announced without offering more details. She died in her sleep, according to the YouTube video. "What we know is Ashley passed peacefully," added family friend Brett Walls, noting that results from the medical examiner's office as to the cause of death are not yet complete.
Lennon was delivered by an emergency C-section just 24 weeks into the pregnancy, weighing a little over 2 pounds. The tiny boy was “fighting for his life, moment by moment,” Picco wrote on a page set up to help raise funds for the family’s medical expenses.
During her pregnancy, Ashley would often feel Lennon moving to music, so Picco brought his guitar to the NICU this week and gave his son a little concert, he added. There were glimmers of hope the boy would survive, but doctors were concerned about his lack of movement and brain activity, the YouTube clip explained.
The baby died in Chris’ arms on Tuesday, he wrote in a post on his Facebook page, calling his son “my little fighter, Lennon James Picco.”
“He was dressed in an outfit that Ashley bought for him, with little guitars on it, and wrapped in a blanket made by a dear friend. I am so thankful for the four unforgettable days I got to spend with him,” he wrote.
“His mommy would have been so beyond joy to see him and to hold him, touch him, bathe him, sing to him — as I have had the privilege of doing. I have been so blessed and honored to love him before he was formed, to cherish him while mommy carried him, meet him face to precious face, and hold his perfect little body while we said ‘goodbye for now.’ There are no words.”
A memorial service for Ashley and Lennon is scheduled for Saturday in Loma Linda, California.