Raiden Gonzalez understood why his dad was gone.

Adan Gonzalez, 33, died on June 26 after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19. Raiden's mother, Mariah Gonzalez, carefully explained the death to him.

But the 4-year-old boy cannot quite grasp that his mother has also died because of the virus. Mariah, 29, died on Oct. 6 and tested positive for COVID-19 the following day.

"He understands that his dad was sick and had the virus and now he's an angel," said Rozie Salinas, Raiden's grandmother. "But he doesn't want to accept the fact that now his mom is an angel too."

Now, Salinas is planning a drive-by party for Raiden's 5th birthday, one he'll have to celebrate without either of his parents. An invitation to the party notes that Raiden loves dinosaurs and Hot Wheels.

"We're just trying to make this day special for Raiden and hopefully get his mind off things for a bit," Salinas said.

The Northeast Side family's ordeal began in early June when Adan started working for a new company as a truck driver. The person training him was ill, but when Adan raised the issue he was told not to worry, Salinas recalled. The man soon tested positive for the coronavirus.

Adan was tested for the virus and received a positive test result on a Sunday. He began experiencing symptoms that Monday and was taken to hospital in an ambulance on Tuesday.

Mariah could not visit her husband while he was in the hospital. One day, the family's hopes were raised when nurses reached Mariah by FaceTime and Adan appeared, winking and blowing kisses at her. But his condition steadily deteriorated.

"He just got worse and worse and there was nothing they could do for him anymore," Salinas said.

When the ambulance left with Adan, Mariah threw out pillows and bed sheets and disinfected the entire house. Neither she nor Raiden contracted the virus at that time.

On Oct. 2 — a Friday three months after her husband's death — Mariah complained of chest pains. She felt fine over the weekend and again on Monday morning, but that evening the chest pains returned and she had trouble breathing.

Mariah told her mother that she was cold, so Salinas gave her a comforter and massaged her shoulders. Salinas called for EMTs, who performed an EKG test and took Mariah to the hospital around 10 p.m.

"When they laid her back on the stretcher, she told them, 'I can't breathe right.' So they sat her up and she told them, 'I just want to feel better. I want to stop hurting.' And that was the last words I heard from her," Salinas said.

By 8:14 a.m. the next morning, Mariah was gone.

Hospital staff told Salinas that Mariah had tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday. They tested her again Tuesday after she died and the results came back positive.

Salinas and several other relatives were each tested twice in the following days with no positive results. The family has ordered an autopsy, which takes six to eight weeks, for more definitive answers about Mariah's death.

In the meantime, Salinas is planning Raiden's birthday party and answering his questions. The 4-year-old has good days and bad days and asks for his mom often.

"He was really close to her," Salinas said. "He was a momma's boy and he just wishes that he had her back."

Salinas sees both of Raiden's parents in his affectionate personality. Mariah and Adan, both San Antonio natives, met online, where they talked for 10 months before meeting in person. They hit it off immediately and were together for eight years.

"They were just a very loving couple. They were always laughing, always in a happy mood. It was never a dull moment with them two and Raiden is the same way. He's very loving. Always wanting to hug and tell you that he loves you," Salinas said.

A GoFundMe account is raising money for memorial expenses and anything Raiden and Salinas, his caregiver, may need now that both his parents are gone.

"The memories that I have left of both of them, they're all happy memories," Salinas said.