COVID-19 has now taken more than 250,000 American lives. One family’s lives were forever torn apart from the virus after a mother and father died within 100 days of each other from the illness, leaving their son an orphan.
Four-year-old Raiden Gonzalez lost both of his parents to COVID-19 earlier this year. Raiden’s mother passed away in October after his father had died a few months earlier.
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“He misses his mom since he was a mama’s boy,” his grandmother, Rozie Salinas, told NBC News. “Just this morning he told me that he wishes he had his mom back and he just wanted her back.”
“I mean, what do I tell him?,” the heartbroken grandmother continued. “You know, so I just told him that they’re now angels watching over us and protecting us.”
Raiden is celebrating his fifth birthday on November 28 and though his grandmother is still mourning the loss of her daughter, she is planning to celebrate her grandson as best she can. She and her sister have planned a drive-by birthday celebration, according to NBC News.
“We have several truck clubs, bikers, Mustang clubs, classic cars, Jeep clubs, plus the fire department. It’s going to be a huge turnout,” Rozie told the outlet.
Raiden has already received one birthday gift – a dinosaur – which he was very excited about.
“He likes dinosaurs, he likes monster trucks, he likes Hot Wheels,” said Rozie. “But being that he picked the dinosaur theme for his birthday, he really liked it.”
It is believed that Raiden’s dad caught COVID-19 after his coworker tested positive for the virus. Just days later he was admitted to the hospital and died weeks later on June 26. Raiden’s mom passed away on October 5 just a few hours after not feeling well.
Rozie is planning to hold a memorial for both her daughter and son-in-law after the holidays.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.