(CNN) — At just 4 years old, Raiden Gonzalez lost both of his parents. The coronavirus stole their lives four months apart, leaving Raiden with only a few years of memories to treasure for a lifetime.
Raiden’s birthday is Sunday. And Margie Bryant, the boy’s great aunt – who he also calls grandmother – and her family wanted to find a way to make sure the boy knows how much they love him, especially in the absence of his parents, he told CNN.
For this reason, a parade of dinosaur-themed vehicles to “salute and roar” is planned for November 28. They were organized by Bryant, who lives in Houston. A local fire department, a Batman entertainer, monster truck clubs, motorcycle clubs and classic car clubs will participate.
“It’s a historic birthday,” Bryant said. “We just want him (Raiden) to know that we will be there for all of his birthdays and to make sure he celebrates it. I know that my niece has a tender smile because she knows that her son is in good hands, “he added.
Raiden lives in San Antonio and his maternal grandmother, Rozie Salinas, took him in, Bryant said.
Beyond Raiden’s happiness, Bryant’s wish is for others to take the coronavirus threat seriously.
“I cannot say it enough (…) I know what (the coronavirus) has done to us, and I know the pain we feel, the emptiness it has left in our hearts. This little boy who doesn’t have his mom and dad now, ”she said. “You hear about the deaths, but you never really hear about the people left behind, and in this case it is a 4-year-old boy,” he added.
Texas has reported the most coronavirus cases of any state in the country. Meanwhile, the death toll nationwide is fast approaching 250,000.
With the necessary precautions against covid-19
Raiden’s father, Adan Gonzalez Jr., 33, started a new job as a cement truck driver on May 12, Bryant said. His trainer tested positive for COVID-19 and, by May 31, Adan had begun experiencing what he described to his family as allergy-like symptoms.
On June 3, he tested positive for covid-19. Six days later, paramedics took him to the ICU, where he spent a little over two weeks. He passed away on June 26.
Raiden’s mother, Mariah Gonzalez, 29, gave the little boy the bad news of his father’s passing. And although it was difficult, Raiden understood that Adan had been ill, Bryant said.
Both Adan and Mariah, a toddler teacher at a daycare, had been taking necessary precautions at work through the use of masks, Bryant said.
After losing her husband, Mariah had to deal with depression and anxiety, her aunt said. But his physical health seemed fine.
Then, on Monday, October 5, Mariah spent the day shopping with her mother, ordered food for dinner, and had a normal day, Bryant said. At night, Mariah began experiencing shortness of breath and chest pains, so Bryant advised Salinas to call paramedics, he said.
“They came in, did an EKG, did some other things and took her away and we never saw her again,” Bryant said. “He died at 8:14 on Tuesday morning,” he added.
Hospital staff tested Mariah for coronavirus, Bryant said. The first test was negative. The second tested positive and within four hours of her result, Mariah had died of Covid-19 pneumonia and acute respiratory failure, Bryant said.
‘Angels in the clouds’
Raiden “will tell you, ‘Covid took my dad,'” Bryant said. “And it’s sad to hear him say that, but he says ‘my dad is an angel in heaven, he’s in the clouds,’ and that’s how it stuck in his mind every time people ask him,” he explained.
While Raiden remembers all of his father’s traits very well and talks about emulating his voice and wanting to have similar facial hair when he grows up, he has a hard time understanding and realizing that now his mother has joined Adan as an “angel in the world.” clouds, ”Bryant said.
Bryant and his partner drove to San Antonio the day Mariah died. She was the one who broke the news to Raiden. It’s one of the most devastating things he’s ever had to do, he said.
He’s so smart. He has the most contagious laugh. It broke my heart to be the one who broke this news about his mother, Mariah, ”she said.
“I said, ‘The reason you haven’t seen Mom in the last few days is because Mom got very sick and now Mom is also an angel in heaven.’ And he was inconsolable, ”Bryant said. .
“He tells me ‘I want to be an angel in the clouds with my mom and dad.’ But I said: ‘No, we don’t even want to talk about it, but you should know that they are everywhere, they are looking at you,’ “he said.
‘The sky is the limit’
The family will hold a funeral for Adan and Mariah after the holidays, Bryant said. They also created a GoFundMe to cover those expenses and others to help Salinas as Raiden’s caregiver.
“When young children experience the death of a loved one, they not only mourn the loss, they also worry about who will take care of them,” Robin Gurwitch, a psychologist and professor at Duke University Medical Center, told CNN. “It is important that the family assures the child that there will always be someone to take care of him,” he explained.
Not only that reinforcement is key, but also understanding that children will go through a wave of emotions and that it is important to give them the space to express and validate them, Gurwitch said.
That’s exactly what Bryant, Salinas and other family members intend to do for Raiden, Bryant said.
“The sky is the limit,” he said. “He’s such a smart kid, so I want him to achieve his dreams, and we’re going to be a part of that. And I told my sister that she is not alone, that we are all here (…). Whether it’s school or sports, whatever you want, we’ll make sure you have it and always remember Mariah and Adan Jr., ”he stated.