Yesterday my family lost one of our most treasured family members. My aunt Esperanza gained her angel wings and is now free of pain.

Hilda Aguirre

My aunt was one of the thousands of Americans who's body couldn't fight COVID-19.  It all happened really fast, at first she just needed some breathing assistance with a BiPAP machine. Then before we realized it her health plummeted. My beloved cousins weren't able to be there with their mother as she took her last breath. My heart breaks for them.

Our whole family is mourning the loss of a beautiful soul. My siblings and I have struggled to come to terms that our sweet Hope is gone. Esperanza translated into English means hope, and the name fits her perfectly. When my mother was fighting cancer my aunt dropped everything and moved to Turlock to be with my mother. I will forever remember the sound of them laughing at the dinner table. Their bond was unbreakable. My aunt moved her whole life to bring hope to my mother and most importantly to be her sidekick in everything. I’d like to think my mother and her are laughing around a dinner table now. No more pain, they’re together again.

Why am I fighting through tears to tell you all about my aunt? I don't want you to hurt like my family is hurting. COVID-19 isn’t a grand hoax. I realize it may seem like it to folks who have been blessed enough to have a healthy family untouched by the Coronavirus. I beg you to wear a mask.

Could a mask have saved my aunts life? I truly can't answer that question beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, I know that if two people wearing a mask come into close proximity their chances of contracting the virus from each other goes down dramatically. If you're offended that I wear a mask around you, know that I do it out of respect for you. I do it because I don't want you to hurt like my family hurts today. I wear a mask because I hope and pray that COVID-19 leaves as fast as it came. I wear a mask to do my part.

Please be kind. Please wear a mask.

Krystal Montez