Craig Morgan Shares How He And His Family Remember Their Late Teen Son

While Craig Morgan lost his 19-year-old son Jerry in a tragic accident six years ago, he has continued to find a way to honor his spirit every day.

Morgan, 58, spoke with PEOPLE in this week’s issue about learning to live with his loss, along with how he and his family remember the late teen, who died in a “freak” boating accident in July 2016.

Craig Morgan Shares How He And His Family Remember Their Late Teen Son

“Jerry’s not here, but he is not gone,” Morgan says. “He lives in our hearts and heads and always will.”

Morgan and his wife Karen Greer, 54, buried Jerry on their property in Tennessee, right near their family chapel, which also includes a tribute to the star athlete — a 13 in the roof overhang, as it was his favorite number.

And every holiday season, it is Karen’s tradition for her to purchase a Christmas ornament for each of their four children, including Jerry.

“Every year since the day they were born, my wife has bought a Christmas tree ornament for each one of them, and today she still buys a Christmas tree ornament for each one of them,” Morgan says. “She’ll buy an ornament that she thinks represents Jerry this year.”

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He continues: “We all laugh and cry every Christmas, every holiday, every time we’re together. My wife is an expert at making sure to incorporate him in every conversation that we have when we’re with the rest of the family. My son told us that they were pregnant a while back, and my wife’s like, ‘Jerry would be a good middle name.'”

The father says feels his son’s spirit everywhere.

“They’re growing, and every year I go out there and I take real good care of those trees because they’re special — because he and I planted those trees,” he says. “Some day here, there will be acorns that fall off of those trees that he and I planted. He loved that.”

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The family has also stayed in close contact with Jerry’s friends, including the ones who were out on the water with him the day of the accident. They visit the Greer family and share life updates like college graduation with the grieving parents.

“All of those kids that were on the boat with him, we know them all very well,” he says.

“Every one of them comes to the cemetery regularly, to the chapel. We talk to them regularly, we keep up with every one of them.”

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