Over $60,000 has been raised to benefit two young Houston brothers, both under the age of 15, who are now grieving the loss of both parents who died two weeks apart after battling COVID-19.
Carlos Garcia, 44, and his wife of 24 years, Naomi Esquivel, 39, died just two weeks apart after battling COVID-19 this month. They leave behind their sons — Nathan, 11, and Isaiah, 14.
"I didn't get to say goodbye to my mom or my dad now, and that's what hurt me the most right now," Isaiah Garcia told ABC13.
Rita Marquez-Mendoza, their maternal grandmother, told the outlet that her daughter died from COVID-19 on July 2. She said that her son-in-law, who was recovering from the coronavirus, died last Friday, July 17.
"We hadn't even begun to grieve my daughter and now we have to bury Carlos and the grandchildren are left without a mom and a dad," said Marquez-Mendoza. "This disease is just horrible."
Marquez-Mendoza also lamented how her daughter and son-in-law had to die alone during the pandemic as many hospitals nationwide have restricted visitor access to patients.
"Dying now is more tragic than it was before because you die alone,” she grieved. “You die alone without your family members.”
Marquez-Mendoza explained in an interview with KTRK that faced with the pain of the loss, the Christian family will lean on God.
"We have no words, no words to describe it, no words. We are Christian people and we accept the will of God and we know if this is His will, he's going to guide us through it,” she said.
Garcia, who was hospitalized for kidney failure while recovering from the virus, was found unresponsive on July 17. He died from oxygen deprivation, according to the mother-in-law.
She explained that both he and her daughter died quickly.
Jacob Mendoza, the boy's maternal uncle, said that Garcia had spoken with his one of his sons a little over an hour before he was pronounced dead.
Mendoza says he will now raise his nephews because he believes it’s what their parents would want.
"I love them with all my heart,” Mendoza said. “I know this is what their parents would've wanted was for me take them in.”
That is something that Isaiah Garcia says he is thankful for.
"At least, since he [my father] passed, we get to be with our family," the 11-year-old said. "We don't have to go to an orphanage or anything. I'd rather be here than anywhere else right now."
Garcia's funeral will be held next Wednesday at The Promise Church of Houston. The family is raising money through a GoFundMe campaign to help provide for the brothers. As of Thursday, nearly $61,000 has been donated to the fundraiser by nearly 1,400 people.
“The money being raised will be for their living expenses and anything they may need,” organizer Daniel Esquivel wrote on the fundraising webpage.
He noted that the family initially tried to raise money to help pay for Garcia’s funeral but a very generous donor offered to cover all funeral expenses.
“At the last minute we received a very generous donation that helped pay for all Funeral Expenses! Thank God!” Esquivel explained. “I just want to thank each and every one of you in advance and tell you that the family greatly appreciates you in our time of sorrow.”