NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – One year ago, Grace Sotolongo Alvarez was preparing to welcome a son with her husband Gabriel.
“We were living the happiest moment of our lives,” she said.
But that joy would soon turn into heartbreak.
“His best friend calls me and says ‘have you heard anything about Gabriel being in an accident?’” Sotolongo Alvarez said.
It was Oct. 25, 2021. Gabriel Alvarez was working at a construction site in North Miami. The 44-year-old was struck and killed by a piece of machinery.
“The worst part of it all (was) how was I going to tell our daughter?” Sotolongo Alvarez said. “How would Gianna, the oldest, how would she react?”
Days later, Grace gave birth to Gabriel Tomas.
“In spite of it all, he was a blessing,” she said. “He made me smile, he made my family smile, he made the girls smile.”
Grace turned her pain into purpose: starting a Facebook blog called “The Grieving Wife.”
“I wasn’t ready to accept the ‘widow’ word,” she said. “I still am not ready to accept it.”
She wants those in pain to have hope.
“I had a man reach out to me and say ‘I lost my son in a motorcycle accident two months ago’ and he said ‘I’ll never be happy again,” Sotolongo Alvarez said. “Something in me was compelled to write to him. I said ‘I promise you will smile authentically again.’”
“The most important thing for me and the blog is for people to know grief is normal,” she added. “It is uncomfortable, but it is normal.”