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The death of a father and the despair of a son: how Covid upset a family

Menifee, Calif.-

He became a fighter because his father was.He planned to work at the same power plant as his father when he graduated.

For all its affinities it seemed appropriate to share the same name: Anthony Michael Reyes.

Then, last summer, Covid-19 swept the Reyes family.In a few weeks, Anthony Father had died.

Since then Anthony Jr.He rarely slept.Every time he closed his eyes, he saw his father in a hospital bed.He kept the lights on in his room.It contained tears to comfort his mother and two sisters.

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All his life had wanted to be like his father.Now, at 17, it was.If her little sister was not well, she stayed with her.If his mother had something to do, he was there to help her.

Even before his father's death, the teenager had done a school task where he narrated the pain of life during the pandemic.

"The Coronavirus affected me in many ways, and the way in which the pandemic harmed me more was through my mental state," he wrote in August 2020."With everything closed, it was increasingly difficult for me to stay at home and feel the depression".

Pandemia, which seems to extend more and more, has aggravated the mental health crisis of young people throughout the country.

In a public health notice issued last month, the United States General Surgeon, Vivek H.Murthy, wrote that “the terrifying number of deaths caused by pandemic, the general sensation of fear, economic instability and forced physical distancing from loved ones, friends and communities, have exacerbated the unprecedented stress to which it is alreadyThe young people faced ".

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Around 167.000 children under 18 have lost one of their parents or another person from their home because of the COVID-19, according to a December report conducted by researchers from Covid Collaborative and Social Policy Analytics.Black and Latin children experienced more than double losses than white children.

"American youth has lived one of the most historical and unprecedented mortality increases through which our country has passed in decades," said Emily Smith-Greenaway, associate professor of Sociology and Space Sciences at the USC that last year was co-authorof a study on COVID-19 and the death of the parents.

"It is clear that we need interventions, programs and services to really address the poor mental health of young people as a result of everything they have endured.".

Anthony Jr., known for his family as daddy, hated quarantine.

The bright eyes boy stopped fighting.It was a great blow to the teenager, who had been second in his last tournament.I couldn't see his girlfriend, "and that was torture for him," said his mother, Stephanie.

The family had to be careful as the pandemic worsened.Anthony Father had a heart disease, Anthony Son suffered asthma and Stephanie had lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, all of them health conditions that made them more likely to get seriously ill if they were infected with the virus.

La muerte de un padre y la desesperación de un hijo: Cómo el COVID trastornó a una familia

When Anthony Padre returned home in Riverside County of his work as an operator of a power plant, his clothes were removed in the garage, he put it in the washing machine and then shower.The family was filled with disinfectant with hands and Lysol.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Anthony Jr.He got out of bed minutes before Zoom classes began.Students were supposed to continue wearing their uniforms, but sometimes the teenager was presented in pajamas, recalls Cheryl Bennett, teacher assistant.

"The Coronavirus represented a burden for me because it forced me to distance myself from my friends and my girlfriend," he wrote in the August 2020 newspaper."That was what caused me depression, but then luckily I improved and thanks to that today I feel happy.".

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Anthony Jr.He returned to the face -to -face classes at the Santa Rosa Academy in August.He had seen his sister Marissa, who is 13 months older than him, miss his last year of class without being able to see his teammates and was excited to return to school.

In class, Anthony Jr.- who was diagnosed with a attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity- was a "great accumulation of energy", but respectful of his teachers.He received individual help from Bennett, which helped him stay on the road.

Although the teenager only measured 1.70 meters, he hastened to defend anyone who had problems.

When the mother of a classmate died of Covid last February, Anthony Jr.He offered his support.When Bennett's brother died during the pandemic, the teenager sent him a message asking him if he needed something.

"It was very, very, very empathic and affectionate," said Bennett.

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While he continued studying, his parents finalized the purchase of a five bedroom house in Menife.His sisters would each have their own room.He was going to help his father to fix it.

On August 27, Anthony Jr.He attended the first sports competition of the 2021 school year.Shortly after, the family received a notice from school: one of his children had been in contact with someone who had tested.

They received the keys to their new house four days later.By then, everyone had covid.

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The family did not vaccinate due to the concern for their health states and fear of side effects on their children.Experts claim that COVID-19 vaccines are generally safe for people like them, who have more reasons to inoculate due to their vulnerability to serious diseases.

Despite feeling bad, Anthony Father continued to carry family belongings in the U-Haul truck parked at the entrance of his house, desperate to make his dream come true.

After a week, he was connected to an artificial respirator.

On September 11, 2021, Anthony Father died.

Anthony Jr.And his father were great friends.

If his sisters made fun of him, his father put on his son's side and vice versa.They were always women against men.Father and son shared the same smile and spread.

"It was the same as Anthony," said Stephanie's sister, Nicole Mulgado."It was like a copy".

When the hospital allowed only two people to see Anthony Father in the Covid room after his death, Anthony Son begged to go.It was then that the teenager saw the accumulated blood in the corner of his father's eye.He could never erase the image of his mind.Some nights, he went to his mother's room to hug him.

Every morning and every night, before bedtime, Anthony Jr.kissed his father's urn.

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"My children have lost their father.I can't make that pain disappear for them, ”said Stephanie."But my son was more concerned with us than for himself".

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If you or sumon you know is stuggling with suicide thoughs, Seek Help from a professional and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-Talk (8255).Text “Home” to 741741 in the u.S.and canada to reach the crisis text line.

Now, being a family of four members, they moved to their new house.They used a staple gun to hold the room curtains.They did not fix the fence as they had planned.

Anthony Jr.He decided not to fight.He could not do it without his father, who had been in all the games encouraging him.

When the days became weeks and weeks in months, the family began to rebuild.They began to fix the house, as a way to honor Anthony Padre.Reyna and Anthony son went to the welcome party.In December, Marissa fought with her younger brother and her laughter resonated at home as in the old days.

"We were starting to recover a bit of my husband's loss," said Stephanie, 37 years old.

But sometimes, Anthony Jr.he blamed himself for having ill in school and bringing the virus to the house.

Other days, he yelled at the photos of him and his father who were printed in a blanket that his grandmother gave him: "Why did you leave us?".

Stephanie tried to receive help, but the waiting times for therapy lengthened for months.

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December 27, Anthony Jr.He went to the gym with his best friend.He got home just before 8:30 p.m..He thanked his little sister for putting the bedding on the dryer, said goodbye to her mother and told her that she wanted her.

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At 4 in the morning, Stephanie woke up suddenly.While he went down for water, he saw the light under the door of his son.He touched and entered.

Inside the room, decorated with the caps of his father's dodgers, a cross of the funeral service and pillows that still retained the smell of his father, Anthony Jr.He had taken his life.

Anthony Jr.He did not leave a note explaining his despair.But he had endured a pandemic, the loss of his father, the pain of isolation and the tissues of adolescence.

For Stephanie, the only person who would have understood the pain of losing her son was her husband.

"Five months ago, I had my whole family full, safe," he said, with my body trembling through the sobs.“The pain of losing a best friend is bad.But losing my baby is the worst pain I have ever suffered ”.

× VIDEO | 01:37Stephanie Reyes grieves the loss of her son, Anthony Reyes. Jr.

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Inside the Casa de los Reyes, the framed collages that were used in the funeral service of Anthony Padre were supported at the entrance.

There were father and son at the power plant, both with helmets and smiling.

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There was Anthony father with his arms around his daughters during a father and daughter dance.I had been on a work mission and could not get a flight to return.Drove seven hours not to miss it.

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"My father was also my best friend.When he died, Anthony stayed with that role, ”said Reyna.“I had Anthony with me to assume that role, something like my father.Now that he has died, it will be a bit more difficult ”.

After the death of Anthony Jr., Stephanie's mother, Carmen Amador, spent hours at the phone trying to get advice for her daughter and granddaughters.He calculates that he spoke with about 50 people before finding someone with availability.

Stephanie, Marissa and Reyna now meet with a therapist once a week.After the first session, Reyna said she felt better than before.

The family is preparing for a second funeral service.Stephanie accelerated the delivery of the ring of her son's school generation, which she had designed with her father.On one side is the Mexican flag and in the other, two fighters.

The afflicted son had asked to add his father's name inside the ring, to "be with him all the time".

He plans to place the ring on his son's finger.So you can take it at least one occasion.

If you want to read this article in English, click here.

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