Stories: Who We Have Lost

Double Heartbreak (2 of 2)

Who did you lose to Covid 19? Mike & Mary Rivera

Mike’s story:

Mike Rivera was born on 08/30/41. He was one of 8 children. He was able to complete the 8th grade, but was then pulled out of school to help his father work on a farm. He always stressed to us the importance of education.

He was an amazing person with the best personality and hilarious comebacks. We laugh thinking about some of the things that came out of his mouth. He would call us and sing “Turn out the lights (the party’s over)” when our favorite football team would lose. As irritated as we were from our favorite team losing, we looked forward to his phone call. We also looked forward to his birthday calls every year.

He was so awesome with his great grandchildren. You could find him at 77 years old playing hide and seek or rolling on the ground with Leo and Owen laughing. They would be so rambunctious and so loud at times that my mom would have to ask them to keep it down. His love for his grandkids was proven when he received a phone call scam of someone pretending to be Jose, his grandson. The person on the other end said they were in jail and that they needed money to be bailed out of jail, but not to call his mom. The person said that he would need to purchase $2000.00 in Amazon gift cards in order to get him out immediately. Mike went to several different Walgreen’s to purchase the gift cards, he even had to get Mary to purchase some because he had reached the maximum amount you could purchase. This is just one example of the lengths he would go through for his grandkids. He loved to receive rocks as gifts from his grandchildren and great grandchildren. It was their thing. While we were cleaning out the house we found a lot of those rocks.

Mike had a green thumb when it came to planting fruit trees. He had grapefruit, orange, lemon, banana, fig and pecan trees and he loved sharing his bounty with neighbors, friends and family. I have a fond memory of having my niece Patricia on my shoulders grabbing oranges off the top of one of his trees. Oh what a funny sight that must have been.

The aftermath:

How do you move on after losing both of your parents to COVID-19? We lost both our matriarch and patriarch within a few weeks of each other. When you think of losing your parents, you envision holding their hands as they take their last breath. Never in our mind, did we imagine that we would not even be allowed to see either one of them until it was time to make the grueling decision of whether or not to remove them from life support, and even then it was through an ICU window. When we were allowed to see our mom, she looked so beautiful and peaceful like she was just sleeping. It was heart wrenching yet serene at the same time. She always told us that if she was hooked up to life support that she would want to be taken off. This was her wish so it was not as painful as having to make the same decision for our dad. Our dad was private about his final wishes. The stress of losing both parents so close together still haunts us, but knowing they are together dancing and singing in heaven softens the pain. We promise to “Remember the Rivera’s” and to not just let them be a statistic. We love and miss you Mom & Dad; Ma & Pa; Grandma & Grandpa!!!

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