The 4-year-old’s mother died in October of Covid-19, a few months after the disease also killed his father.
“He misses his mom since he was a mama’s boy,” his grandmother, Rozie Salinas, told NBC News on Saturday. “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 Salinas, who was the mother of Mariah, Raiden’s mom.
Though still in mourning herself, Salinas wants to make Raiden’s birthday on Nov. 28 as bright as possible. She and her sister came up with an idea for a drive-by celebration, which she said now looks like it will be quite large.
“We have several truck clubs, bikers, Mustang clubs, classic cars, Jeep clubs, plus the fire department. It’s going to be a huge turnout,” she said.
The family’s tragic saga started when a co-worker of Raiden’s dad, Adan, who was working as a truck driver, tested positive for the virus earlier this year, said Salinas.
A few days later, Adan was hospitalized after also testing positive on June 3. Health care workers told the family that “he was one of the two sickest at the hospital,” Salinas said.
He died weeks later on June 26 at age 33.
Raiden’s mom, Mariah, 29, was still grieving the death of her husband when she died suddenly on Oct. 5, just hours after she had started feeling ill, Salinas said.
Days after her death, Salinas received a call from the hospital telling her Mariah had tested positive for the virus.
“Mariah wanted to do a memorial for Adan, but she never got to it,” Salinas said. She said she is planning on having a memorial for both her daughter and son-in-law after the holidays.
Raiden’s mom was a teacher, and he is in prekindergarten at the school where she worked.
“I kept him at that same preschool,” his grandmother said. “They take really good care of him. They know what his situation is.”
Adan was cheered on Saturday morning with the arrival of a surprise package that contained a small dinosaur toy, his first birthday gift.
“He likes dinosaurs, he likes monster trucks, he likes Hot Wheels,” said Salinas. “But being that he picked the dinosaur theme for his birthday, he really liked it.”
Amid all the pain, Salinas said her grandson keeps her moving forward.
“He’s what keeps me going, just with his friendly and constant reminders telling me how much he loves me. He’s always thanking me for taking care of him, but I’ve just got to think about him,” she said. “It’s a hard situation to process.”
Nicole Acevedo is a reporter for NBC News Digital. She reports, writes and produces stories for NBC Latino and NBCNews.com.
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