MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The holidays are meant to be spent with family and loved ones while we reflect on our blessings, unfortunately, that is not always the case.

Rosendo Robles’ health problems began at four months old. His mother, Mayra Rivera, said even with all of his health issues, Rosendo still led a happy life.

“Despite all his trials and his surgeries and his illnesses, he always had the biggest smile and he would always giggle and squeeze your hand and he was just a very happy kid despite everything he’d go through,” said Rivera.

On December 23, Mayra posted on Facebook that her son was recovering well from a 96 day stay in the hospital with pneumonia. Rosendo died the next day from an arterial bleed, something Mayra said doctors told her is an extremely rare occurrence after trachea surgery.

“I… I just can’t believe he’s gone. It happened so fast,” said Rivera.

Rosendo had epilepsy as well as autism. Mayra was helping treat him with medical marijuana. In 2019, Mayra and members of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism, were able to get Texas to include autism as a treatable condition under the compassionate use marijuana law.

“And it’s due to our advocacy,” Rivera said. “I’m very grateful, I’m very proud that I can say I helped with that and it was my son that inspired me to do that.”

Despite his sudden death, Mayra said Rosendo was able to serve his purpose before he died.

“I don’t want his suffering to be for nothing,” she said. “I want something good to come out of his suffering, let it be to help people. And that’s what his life did.”

Even with her son’s death, Mayra has words of encouragement for parents going through a similar situation.

“Don’t give up hope, just keep pushing forward and keep telling yourself ‘this too shall pass’,” she said.