A woman's life was turned topsy-turvy when an unspeakable tragedy struck her world, leaving her in pieces. What was meant to be the happiest moment of her life also became one laden with grief and sorrow. Keep reading to discover the complete story.
Losing a loved one changes people most unexpectedly. No matter how much time passes, some wounds might never heal, and we have no choice but to live with the pain.
Separation and distance make things even more cumbersome because the mere thought of never being able to see your dear ones can take a toll on people. The story we're sharing today is about a woman's painstakingly difficult journey of grief, loss, and love.
Grace M. Sotolongo-Alvarez was born in Miami, Florida, in 1988 to a Cuban immigrant couple and was the youngest of three siblings. She crossed paths with her husband, Gabriel Alvarez, in 2010, at his aunt's store.
While Grace admitted he wasn't her type, his eyes, smile, and personality compelled her to know more about him. But when she learned that Gabriel was married and had just become a father, she decided to step back. They became friends and occasionally saw each other at the store for the next two years.
GOING THEIR SEPARATE WAYS
Per Grace, Gabriel parted ways from this then-wife in mid-2012 and invited her to dinner a month later. The two shared a kiss, but Grace told him she couldn't go through with things so quickly, given that he had just separated from his wife. Consequently, they went their separate ways.
Her happiest moment was overshadowed by sheer grief, and she struggled between love and loss.
BECOMING A COUPLE
In 2013, the duo met again, and this time, they decided to listen to their heart's voices. Gabriel was ten years older than Grace, but they were equals in every way. She noted how they shared the same sense of humor, challenged and believed in each other, and pushed one another to keep going. Grace added:
"He was an absolute gentleman, who surprised me with flowers and always made me feel safe and down to earth. He quickly became my favorite person and best friend. We ALWAYS chose each other, and even in arguments, respect, trust, and love were never a question."
According to Grace, Gabriel had been divorced twice, but he could do anything for her happiness. When he proposed to her, Grace explained that Gabriel waited to live together until marriage, respecting the wishes of her conservative father. The couple tied the knot on March 28, 2015.
After marriage, Gabriel's then-three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Gianna, began living with them, who Grace referred to as her "heart daughter." Grace started her event planning and designing venture with her husband's support, who also became her business partner.
STARTING A FAMILY
In September 2016, the Alvarez family welcomed another adorable addition, Gracie Marie, into their hearts and home. Grace mentioned that she had always wanted a large family with four children, and on Valentine's Day in 2021, she learned that she was pregnant again.
Given her last pregnancy, Grace said she was told her baby would be delivered on November 1, 2021, via a planned C-section. Life was good for the family of four, with Grace's business picking up pace and Gabriel becoming the Vice President of his construction company.
EXPRESSING THEIR LOVE
The couple's girls were doing well in school, and they were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new baby boy, Gabriel Tomas. Grace celebrated her birthday with her family on October 20, and after executing a grand event on October 22, they entered into nesting mode.
On October 25, they woke up as usual, and Grace noted how her husband brought her coffee in bed and played with Marie. Then, after having breakfast together, he waved her goodbye with a sweet kiss and said her favorite three words, "I love you."
Grace called Gabriel that morning and shared a long to-do list that he agreed to complete before her delivery. But when she texted him again in the afternoon, she said she didn't get a reply. Initially, Grace thought he didn't respond because he might be busy at work.
After that, the mother said she went to pick up Marie from school. While she stood in the pick-up lane, she received a call from their best friend, who asked if she knew anything about Gabriel's accident. Grace said she didn't know anything and immediately called Gabriel.
HANDLING HER EMOTIONS
The shocking news sent her into a frenzy, and she then called Gabriel's boss, who was also his best friend. Eventually, he picked up, and Grace recalled how she begged him to confirm if Gabriel was alive.
However, the boss told her to stay calm, pick up her daughter from school, and go home. But Grace said she knew at that moment that her husband was no more, and containing her emotions in front of her daughter was the hardest thing she had ever done.
STAYING CALM AMIDST THE CHAOS
Grace recounted getting out of the car and entering her daughter's school, which had also been her elementary school. She asked the security guard to help her daughter sit in the car and went straight to her former teacher, and told her:
"Gabriel had an accident, he died, and I need you to drive me home."
A MOTHER'S BIGGEST TRAUMA
Once Marie was home safe with her aunt, Grace mustered up the courage to break the news to her mother-in-law, who was devastated by the loss. A heartbroken Grace hugged her father, worried about telling everything to her little girl, Marie. She recollected:
"Telling my daughter and seeing her change from this innocent 5-year-old who was always laughing and being silly to a little girl whose eyes no longer lit up and whose smile would just no longer come out is one of the most heartbreaking things you can experience as a parent."
A SOUL-STIRRING COINCIDENCE
Later, Grace learned that her husband died instantly from a construction machine that fell on him. In the face of unspeakable loss and tragedy, she tried to be strong for her kids and the baby boy she was carrying inside her belly.
When Grace welcomed her son, she said she could feel his dad's presence the entire time. The mother described that her boy looked just like his father and even shared the same eyes as him. She noted:
"He was born at 1:05 p.m., the exact same time as his father’s death. I believe his father met him in Heaven and carried him before I did."
LIVING WITH THE PAIN
Grace expressed that her life changed drastically following her husband's death. Her happiest moment was overshadowed by sheer grief, and she struggled between love and loss.
The Alvarez couple had planned to spend many more happy years together as a family, being doting parents to their kids. But Gabriel's sudden demise left Grace in heart-wrenching pain and a gaping hole in her heart.
WATCHING OVER HIS FAMILY
The mother had hoped that her little son would receive countless warm and tender hugs from his father, but instead, she had to visit her late husband's grave and be strong for her children as a single parent.
Despite spending only eight years of her life with her beloved husband, Grace vowed to carry his love and memories in her heart forever. Our thoughts go out to this courageous mother, and we're sure her husband is with her and their kids in soul and spirit.
Please like and share this story with all those who believe their loved ones can send them signs from above.
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