"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," said the boy's grandmother.
In just a few days, young Raiden Gonzalez will be celebrating his 5th birthday on November 28. It will be the very first birthday the boy has to spend without both his mother and father after they became victims of COVID-19.
Raiden's life has forever changed after losing his father, Adan, 33, in June and then losing his mother, Mariah, 29, about 100 days later.
"He misses his mom since he was a mama's boy," Rozie Salinas, the boy's grandmother, 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? You know, so I just told him that they're now angels watching over us and protecting us," said the grandmother who is mourning the death of her daughter whilst also taking care of her grandson.
The family believes that Adan contracted the virus from his work environment before testing positive on June 3, according to WJLA. "They did say he was one of the two sickest in the hospital," said Rozie.
After being admitted in the hospital on June 9, Adan spent most of the month in the ICU before passing away on June 26.
Adan's death left Raiden's mother, Mariah, heartbroken, and as the family tried to reel from one great loss, they were dealt with the next one. On October 5, Mariah started feeling sick and just hours later, she passed away.
"She went via ambulance Monday evening around 9 and by 8:15 am Tuesday, she was gone," said Margie Bryant, Raiden’s great aunt.
The family was shocked by her sudden death and a few days later, Rozie received a call from the hospital and was told that her daughter had tested positive for COVID-19.
Through this tough time, the family can also see how much four-year-old Raiden misses his parents. "A couple of days ago, he said he wishes he could bring her back," Margie said.
Rozie, who is also mourning the deaths of Mariah and Adan, revealed to NBC News that the thought of her grandson is pushing her through this. "He's what keeps me going, just with his friendly and constant reminders telling me how much he loves me," Rozie said. "He's always thanking me for taking care of him, but I've just got to think about him. It's a hard situation to process."
His family still hopes to make his upcoming birthday a special one, as Margie added, "This is a milestone birthday, he's been very upset because his mom and dad are not here to celebrate with him."
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
The family has planned a "drive through social distanced parade" and has extended the invitation to anyone who would like to share the day with Raiden. "It would mean so much if everyone could show up and celebrate! Thank you for all your kindness through this time," said the GoFundMe page set up for the boy and his family.
Experiencing first-hand what the virus can do to families and how young children could be left without their parents at such a young age, Margie hoped that people would also be cautious and try to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Margie told WJLA, "We've lost two people now to COVID-19 and I can’t emphasize enough the severity, the seriousness, and the hurt that this pandemic can cause, so wear your mask, be safe."