The family of a four-year-old boy who lost both his parents within 100 days from coronavirus are trying to plan him an unforgettable birthday amid the grief.
In June, Raiden Gonzalez’s dad, Adan, became sick with coronavirus after a co-worker tested positive. Adan, from San Antonio, Texas, was hospitalised soon after, before dying from the virus on 26 June at the age of 33.
According to the four-year-old’s grandmother, Rozie Salinas, who spoke to NBC News, while Raiden’s mother Mariah was still grieving the loss of her husband in October, she also became sick.
She died suddenly on 5 October, hours after she began feeling ill, Salinas said, with the hospital later informing the family that the 29-year-old had tested positive for coronavirus.
The sudden death of both of his parents has been hard on Raiden, his family said, with the child telling his grandmother that he wants his mother back.
"He misses his mom since he was a mama's boy," Salinas told the outlet. "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? You know, so I just told him that they're now angels watching over us and protecting us.”
But with Raiden’s birthday coming up this month on 28 November, his grandmother is hoping to bring a little happiness to his life with a drive-by celebration.
“We have several truck clubs, bikers, Mustang clubs, classic cars, Jeep clubs, plus the fire department. It’s going to be a huge turnout," she said of the upcoming dinosaur-themed birthday.
Next week, Raiden turns five. His Nana is asking for everyone to rally around the young man to help celebrate with a drive-by ‘Roar and Wave’ parade to help lift his spirits. 🦖🦕 pic.twitter.com/rtbwQ5x4m4
— Alejandra Guzman (@AlejandraG_TV) November 13, 2020
Speaking to News 4, Salinas said they are having the party to show Raiden his birthday is going to come every year and “we’re going to make sure that he’s celebrated”.
Salinas also said that she is planning a memorial for both her daughter and her son-in-law after the holidays, something Mariah wanted to do for her husband but never got to.
And while it’s hard to handle the grief, Salinas said her grandson keeps her going.
"He's what keeps me going, just with his friendly and constant reminders telling me how much he loves me. He's always thanking me for taking care of him, but I've just got to think about him," she said. "It's a hard situation to process.”
The family has also created a GoFundMe for the four-year-old.
In Texas, there have been more than 20,000 deaths from coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic.