JuanJose Martinez has taken on a huge responsibility at the age of 19 – taking care of his four younger brothers, aged 7 to 15, after his 43-year-old mother died of coronavirus in August.
Palmdale, CA teenagers, he said, cook, clean and help their siblings with online learning. But this is not the hardest part.
“It is still difficult for them, but I try to console them in the best possible way,” said Martinez of his grieving brothers, whom he said needed emotional support. . “We’ll cry together sometimes.”
Martinez, along with mother Brenda Martinez and five of her siblings, all tested positive for coronavirus in early August, a shock to the family.
“She was just always careful. She usually stays at home and takes additional precautions, ”said Martinez of his mother, who has diabetes. “She always wears a mask when she steps out. She will always be clean. “
Martinez says he has taken the same precautions, and his five siblings are mostly at home to learn virtual.
Siblings – one of which is a two-year-old, now living with a biological father – most have no symptoms. But Juan and his mother weren’t so lucky. They experienced a lot of the symptoms commonly associated with coronavirus such as cough, fever and chills when isolated at their Palmdale home, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
A few days after her quarantine, Brenda’s mild symptoms became severe as she began to have difficulty breathing. Martinez said she was having difficulty breathing and was taken to the Palmdale Regional Medical Center, where she was later unresponsive and placed on a ventilator. Meanwhile, Juan continues to fight his illness while on a full-time fatherhood duty, taking care of his 5 siblings suddenly without their mother.
Without their dad to help, bills piled up for the family and Brenda’s sister-in-law Crystal Acosta Torres set up an online fundraising campaign for the family’s basic expenses, NBC Los Angeles reported at that time.
“My nephew is so grateful that this is so much while he makes these decisions for his mother and takes care of his siblings while she continues to fight for her life,” said Acosta. Torres told City News Service about the fundraising campaign, which raised thousands of Donations. “It’s hard for families, and we want to thank everyone for helping where they can.”
But after a week and a half at the hospital, Brenda wouldn’t be able to cope with the virus that had attacked her family just two weeks earlier and left six children, her oldest child watching the video conference. When the doctor gave her CPR before she passed.
Martinez, who says he eventually developed viral pneumonia, is now speaking up and calling others to get serious about the coronavirus. That is one of the ways he hopes to keep his mother’s memory.
“This is very serious,” Martinez said. “Our mother took our mother and I don’t want something like this to happen to anyone else.”
Martinez added that it annoys him to see people disregard for coronavirus safety regulations like wearing masks and away from society. This type of behavior is especially risky, he says, because people like his mother, who have an underlying health condition, are at risk of more serious complications if they get the virus.
“There were times when I went out to the store and saw a few people without masks,” he said.
In July, California became the state with the highest number of coronavirus infections confirmed, surpassing New York. Then, August will be California’s deadliest month during the pandemic with a reported 3,745 deaths, an 18% increase from July, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times.
In an October 28 interview with NBC Los Angeles, Martinez reiterated his advice for those who still think coronavirus is a hoax.
“I just hope you are on guard,” he warned. “It’s not a joke.”
As coronavirus infections are on the rise across the country and infections are spreading at the fastest rate since the pandemic began, Martinez hopes that everyone will learn from his family story.
In other words, Martinez says he has a memory of his mother: six necklaces with his mother’s ashes in it. One for each of Brenda’s children, a token her oldest brother hopes her siblings, especially the children, can remember of her.
“I plan to move forward with them in the best possible way, providing the best I can,” he said.
On Wednesday, Martinez set up an additional online fundraising campaign for his family after a previous campaign started by his mother’s sister-in-law in August raised more than $ 75,000.
On the new fundraising campaign’s website, Martinez wrote, “I made a promise to her [mother] that I will keep my brothers and sisters together and take care of them. “