RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) The United States is approaching its one-millionth COVID-related death.

The number itself is hard to imagine, but every single one of those deaths is someone’s family member, friend, or coworker — and those left behind are forever changed.

For Jimmy Liles, the goats, turkeys, chickens and a pig that all live in his backyard are also family. Caring for them is a passion he shared with his father.

“It was pretty much me and my dad for a long time,” Liles explained.

A single father, Liles’ dad worked to make sure his son had what he needed and could do what he loved.

“He worked 24-7 and he did whatever he could for me,” Liles said. “He was pretty much that big figure in my whole entire life. He taught me how to do everything, raised me. He was the only true person I knew as family.”

Over the winter, as his dad battled COVID-19, Jimmy Liles became the constant presence his father had always been for him.

“I was there every step of the way, and I was with him the last eight hours he was here in this world,” he said.

His dad’s death left him lost.

“I never done anything without him by my side,” Liles said.

At 18, the high school senior went home to take care of the animals and the house he and his dad shared for as long as he can remember.

“I had to learn, over these past five months, how to pay bills, how to manage everything, car insurance, cooking my own food,” he said.

Work, school, and basketball keep him busy, but he’s constantly reminded that he’s on his own.

“When I broke my wrist, I was flooded with ‘what am I going to do now — I’ve got to work’,” he said, gesturing toward his arm in a sling.

It’s even more difficult knowing his dad will miss the moments they both dreamed of.

“He doesn’t get to see me graduate,” Liles said sadly.

As difficult as life has become, he is determined to keep going, and he’s grateful for everyone who has contributed to a GoFundMe page he set up to help pay the bills. The page has already raised more than $90,000.

He says he thinks many of the donors were inspired by his dad’s kindness. That’s something he works to emulate.

“I just take every day and do the things that he’d want me to do,” Liles explained. “I still have a lot to accomplish.”

He said he’s working hard to make his dad proud.

“I hope up there he’s looking down and smiling a little bit,” Lile’s said.