Boys lose mother to COVID-19. 2 weeks later, their father dies too

HOUSTON, Texas -- When 14-year-old Isaiah Garcia stood over his mother's body at her funeral earlier this month, he thought it was the hardest thing he would do.

Two weeks later, his father died, too.

"I didn't get to say goodbye to my mom or my dad now, and that's what hurt me the most right now," Garcia said.

His mother, 39-year-old Naomi Esquivel, died on July 2 from COVID-19, according to her mother Rita Marquez-Mendoza.

Carlos Garcia, 44, Naomi's husband of 24 years, attended her funeral with their two sons, Isaiah and 11-year-old Nathan.

Garcia was recovering from the virus when he was hospitalized for kidney failure. On July 17, he was found unresponsive and died from oxygen deprivation, according to Marquez-Mendoza. Like Naomi, who was hospitalized only a day, the end came fast.

"He had just spoken to his son at 11 o'clock. They pronounced him dead at 12:24," said Jacob Mendoza, the boy's uncle, a father of four, who will now raise the boys. "I love them with all my heart and I know this is what their parents would've wanted was for me take them in."

"At least, since he (my father) passed, we get to be with our family," said Isaiah. "We don't have to go to an orphanage or anything. I'd rather be here than anywhere else right now."

Both parents, who had underlying health conditions, were alone when they died. It is the reality of COVID-19 that weighs on Naomi's mother.

"Dying now is more tragic than it was before because you die alone. You die alone, without your family members," said Marquez-Mendoza.

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with the boys' living expenses, as they try to cope with their own unimaginable loss.

"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."

Garcia's funeral is next Wednesday at The Promise Church of Houston.
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