Annette Rios sat with her brother and son to talk about her mom, Fabiola Rios, who was 85 years old when she became another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I made a promise to my dad that I’d take care of Ronnie and my mom,” she said. “She was the light of our lives. She had the biggest heart. She was just a beautiful person.”
Rios said it all started after she herself contracted the virus, followed by her daughter, her mother and her brother, who has pneumonia. Her brother, Ronnie, 58, has Down syndrome. His mother was still his sole caregiver.
That reality now falls on his sister.
“I need to take care of him,” she said.
Rios talked about when her mother became very sick.
“They took her to the hospital and she never came home,” she said.
Rios said the hospital let her see her mom for just a moment Friday. By then, she wasn’t conscious. This past Saturday morning, Rios said she walked in on her brother kneeling in prayer.
“I said, ‘Are you praying for mom, Ronnie?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I’m praying for mom.’ And he kept pointing up. And then I got the telephone call and it was the doctor and I knew it wasn’t going to be good news.”
The family’s gofundme site has more than 100 donors and raised more than $6,000, money Rios says they’ll use for funeral expenses and anything her brother might need going forward. But they wanted to share their story to show other families just how real the virus is.
“It’s your loved ones that are passing and it’s very hard to lose someone you love.”
Added grandson Daniel Johnson: “We want people to know that every life is precious, and choose love, and just stay safe.”