HOUSTON, Texas -- A Houston family is mourning after a Father's Day celebration led to a family-wide spread of coronavirus, resulting in the death of their beloved patriarch.
Oscar Del Toro, Sr. was feted by his children, their spouses, and grandchildren at a Houston-area restaurant for a family meal.
The octogenarian has raised a wonderful family, and they wanted to show their love.
Just about every Del Toro was there, except for Oscar Del Toro, Jr., who told his family he would be staying away out of the same love.
"I love my family," he said as his voice cracked and filled with emotion. "I love my dad. Because I love them, I don't want them put at risk. It's about love; I can wait."
A few days after that meal, family members began to get sick.
First, it was one sister. Then, it was another sister and then it was a sister-in-law. Soon, it was Oscar Del Toro, Sr.
He deteriorated quickly.
"They came to the doctor (and) the doctor said, 'You need to take your dad to the hospital. Your dad has coronavirus,'" Del Toro, Jr. recalled. "From there, you cannot talk to him. Basically, you take him away from the family."
In all, seven members of the Del Toro family got COVID-19 from that Father's Day meal.
Del Toro, Sr. died on July 16.
The family who loved him so much was not allowed to be by his side.
His son said he is speaking out because he knows the virus has hit the Hispanic community especially hard.
It's a sentiment Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner agrees with, noting the challenges of social distancing when families are so emotionally close.
"It's a tough time, but we've all been asked to make our sacrifices so we can be with our loved ones in the long run," said Turner. "Especially for our young people. Then you end up seeing them in the hospital, or burying them."
Del Toro, Jr. said he hopes his family's heartache is a cautionary tale.
His father, who loved to talk politics and relished election days, will never get to cast another vote.
This November, Oscar Del Toro, Jr. will not get to drive his dad to the polls.
"We need to understand reality, especially the Mexican-American community. We want to chat, hug, and kiss, but we need to stop that for now."