HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — As the Rio Grande Valley continues its battle with COVID-19, one mother and son are happy to be reunited after multiple members of their family contracted the virus.
“I’m proud of my mom,” said Ric Briones Jr., as he embraces his mother after picking her up from Golden Palms Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center early Thursday afternoon.
The pair contracted COVID-19 after, brother and son, Robert Briones came down from Houston to visit the family.
It is believed that Robert Briones contracted the virus in Houston.
Robert Briones rushed to the hospital after complications catching his breath. He took a COVID-19 test that initially turned out negative, however, four hours later, he received a positive test according to his brother Ric Briones Jr.
He quickly went home to Houston in hopes that he would spare his family from contracting the virus.
Robert’s condition worsened while in Houston.
“My brother Robert, he fought, he fought. And there were days where they would tell us, oh he’s good, and there were days [when] they would tell us ‘we have to put him on his stomach’, unfortunately, in the end, he didn’t… He was 51,” said Ric Briones Jr.
“It’s so hard to lose a child, it [is] so hard,” said Benita Briones. “Somehow I got through with it. Now every time I close my eyes, I see him there, it’s hard. Especially when we were so close together…not one day would go by without me calling him or him calling me.”
He spent approximately a month in the hospital where he was put on a ventilator and eventually passed away. The tight-knit family never imagined they would lose their brother.
Roberts was buried July 24.
Meanwhile back in the Valley, two other members of the Briones family were battling the virus.
“You automatically assume it’s going to be a stranger in the supermarket but you least expect that it’s your family member that is carrying the virus. That is a hard thing to swallow,” says Ric Briones.
Briones Jr. and his mother, Benita Briones, fell ill.
“It started off with low-grade fever, low-grade cough and after a week it escalated, that’s when it got worse,” said Ric Briones. “When it hit me, it hit me in a different way. I was just laid up in bed for about 4 or 5 days and then after that, I was over and done with it.”
Benita Briones was not as lucky.
She went to the hospital on June 28, after finding her oxygen levels were far below normal.
Her hospital stay coincided with Robert’s, her son.
Benita Briones says she recalls very little of her time in the hospital but remembers the attentive nurse from Houston who took care of her.
“She’s a beautiful person and she took care of me real good,” says Benita Briones about the nurse.
Benita Briones had just started her rehabilitation at the Golden Palms Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center when she attended her son’s funeral in Harlingen. She had trouble remembering that she had attended.
“Even though my mom is 80-years-old she fought this, anyone can fight it. Just got to give hope, got to give prayer,” says Ric Briones about his mother’s recovery.
The fight is over for the Briones family, but they are aware the virus is still prevalent in the area and want to caution others to be safe.
“Some people are saying ‘well if he’s wearing a mask, why do I have to wear my mask?’ Well because if somebody comes along that thinks the way you do, that they don’t have to wear a mask, well instead of having one person infected, now you’ve got two people infected, and those people are going to infect their families, their loved ones, their friends. It doesn’t hurt to put on a mask,” says Ric Briones.
Ric Briones added he believes his 79-year-old father was spared from the virus because he always wore a mask.
The Briones family is collecting donations to help cover their mother’s medical bills. If you would like to contribute, click here.