- Lucia Benavides firstname.lastname@example.org
Statesman Season for Caring recipient Rosalba Martínez-López, mother of four and grandmother of one, passed away Friday morning from cervical cancer.
Martínez-López, 37, was diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Despite many treatments, the disease spread to other parts of her body, and, in June, the doctors gave her six months to live. She is survived by her four children — Ana Anacleto Martínez, 21, Amy Mondragón Martínez, 16, Alex Mondragón Martínez, 15, and Kimberley Mondragón-Martínez, 13, — and a grandchild, Sofia Guerrero Mondragón, 2 months.
“It’s difficult because she was always the ‘I can face it, I got it’ type of person,” says Anacleto Martínez of her mother. “She’s always been independent, she’s been both our mom and our dad forever.”
Anacleto Martínez said the four siblings were by their mother’s side when she passed away at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House.
“They’re at peace,” said Anacleto Martínez of her siblings. “We’re doing OK because we know that she’s not in pain anymore; she’s not suffering anymore.”
Martínez-López was accepted into the Season for Caring program in September and put many things on her wish list. The program highlights the needs of 12 local families and then helps those families as well as hundreds of others through the nonprofit agencies that nominated them. Martínez-López was nominated by Care Communities, which gives support to people with cancer or HIV/AIDS.
“She’s been my client for over a year,” said Leti Alvarez, Martínez-López’s caseworker at Care Communities. “Everybody loved her. It breaks my heart.”
Martínez-López’s biggest worry before she passed away was keeping her children together. Right on the nick of time, by 5 p.m. Thursday, an attorney with Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas finished the paperwork for a conservatorship for the younger children and grandchild. Anacleto Martínez and Martínez-López’s sister, Laura Martínez-Devalerio, 39, will have joint custody of the children. They will split their time between the two homes, although the exact arrangements are still being worked out.
Care Communities will use Season for Caring donations to help the family pay for funeral arrangements. Anacleto Martínez’s boyfriend, who was saving for their wedding, also has offered to use that money towards the funeral.
Even though Martínez-López was the client of Care Communities, the agency will continue to help the family for at least the next six months to get them through this difficult time.
Season for Caring donations will help with rent, groceries and other costs for Martínez-Devalerio, whose household will go from five people to nine, depending on final arrangements. The kids still need help with school supplies, college scholarships, child care costs and cellphone services. Because Martínez-López was an undocumented immigrant, her children won’t receive any Social Security benefits.
“It’s still going to be hard,” Care Communities’ Alvarez says. “No kid wants their parent to die, especially when she was so young. Up until yesterday, they would say, ‘She’s going to be fine.’”
To find out more about Martínez-López’s family or to give an item on their wish list, contact Care Communities, 512-459-5883, carecommunities.org.