The 17-year-old boy took his own life after he felt guilty he may have exposed his own father to COVID-19. He held himself responsible after his dad died of Coronavirus, because he had insisted the family go to his school for a pep rally. His mother said that the 17-year-old struggled with depression throughout the pandemic and found it very difficult to process his father’s illness and sudden death.
The 37-year-old mother from California, Stephanie Reyes, said that her 17-year-old son Anthony Jr. had held himself responsible after his dad died of Covid, because he had insisted the family go to his school for a pep rally.
In Aug. 2020, the Reyes family contracted Covid and one month later, the 46-year-old father Anthony died due to complications arising from the virus.
The mother said how within days after contracting Covid, her husband had been lost and her son blamed himself.
Stephanie reportedly said: “He felt guilty. He felt like he was the one who got us sick. He felt like he was the reason why his dad was gone and we talked to him all the time, and told him ‘It wasn’t your fault.”
Stephanie also said that her 17-year-old son struggled with depression throughout the pandemic and found it very difficult to process his father’s illness and sudden death.
In 2020, the 17-year-old boy wrote an essay and explained how he had struggled with the isolation after schools shut.
The 37-year-old mother said: “My son wanted to go see his dad and against my better judgment, I let him go. It was the worst mistake I did.”
On 28 December, Stephanie found his bedroom light still on at 4 a.m. The woman then discovered that her son had ended his life.
In the immediate aftermath of losing her husband, the family tried to get counseling for her son. But, unfortunately, counsellors were booked out for months. The family has now found a counsellor and are getting therapy once a week to cope with their losses.
A GoFundMe Page has been created to help the family with the costs of a funeral service.
It has raised more than $19,000 to cover funeral costs and on the page wrote:
“Anthony Jr was the happiest kid ever and had the most contagious smile and laugh that would brighten anyone’s day. We are absolutely devastated by the sudden loss of Papi [Anthony Jr.’s nickname]. He was a Son, a brother, a grandson, a cousin, and most of all a friend, and to all of us, he was family.”
The 37-year-old mom said that she really hopes that by sharing her son’s story, it will help other families going through similar things.