KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the first time since a car accident killed their mother last week, a group of Kansas City siblings is back together, home from the hospital.
The family of eight was going home from a park September 15. That’s when police say one of two cars involved in gunfire exchange slammed into the family’s SUV, sending their mother through the windshield. Thirty-year-old Mariana Hernandez-Gonzales died at the scene. Paramedics rushed her husband and kids to the hospital.
Doctors released the youngest on Thursday, one-year-old Dayan. FOX 4 was at his grandmother’s house, waiting to capture his siblings’ sweet reaction to his homecoming.
Ten-year-old Cesar played Donkey Kong on the couch, his arm hidden in a sling under his T-shirt. Eight-year-old Cindy, five-year-old Damaris, and two-year-old Daniel circled around the kitchen table, scribbling lines and shapes in blue and green dry-erase markers onto white paper, with the help of a watchful family friend. Seven-year-old Christian spent the day out with his uncle, but the well-behaved siblings who sat around their grandmother’s house waited patiently for the youngest to return.
When their aunt walked through the door, followed by their uncle, holding one-year-old Dayan, the markers and game console were tossed aside as the siblings rushed to greet the little boy.
“Dayan! Dayan! He’s home!”
The smiles so tender and full of joy, one almost forgets the burden these young ones now carry; the task of healing without their mother. Their aunt, Andrea Hernandez-Gonzales, said of her eldest nephew, “He wanted to trade spots with his mom, he wanted him to be dead instead of his mom.”
The kids still have scrapes and bruises on their faces and arms from the accident that took their mother’s life.
“They're young right now and they don't know what's going on,” Gonzales said.
The aunt, with two children of her own, vows her nieces and nephews will not have to worry about growing up without loving adults.
“We're the ones who are supposed to give a good example for the kids, a role model,” she said.
And while she says she doesn’t understand why God called her sister home, she said she’ll continue to practice her family’s Catholic faith and cherish life’s invaluable moments together.
“You'll be out with your family doing things, and you don't even know if it's going to be your last day and not; if you’ll come home. She’s not going to be here anymore. It's a pain that we're going to be carrying on," she said.