A young Flanders mother been sent home to her final resting place in Mexico.
Raquel Reyes-Marin, 27, died on April 7 after giving birth to her third child, and family members tried desperately to raise the money to send her body home.
As news spread of the family’s plight, concerned residents reached out with offers of help.
On Tuesday, Cristobal Albidiz, 28, Reyes-Marin’s longtime companion and the father of her three children, Jaqueline, 6, and Joshua, 3, as well as baby Jonathon, said friends and neighbors came together with donations to send her home. Collection jars were set up in shops throughout Flanders and Southampton.
“A lot of people have helped me already,” Albidez said. “It cost a lot of money, but thanks to everybody, she made it. She’s there now.”
His voice breaking, the 28-year old father of three described the last day he spent with the woman he loved -- a day that was supposed to be filled with dreams of new life, that, instead, darkened into a nightmare.
Reyes-Marin had already given birth to her older children by C-section, Albidez explained, and had some ongoing complications.
Her third pregnancy was deemed high risk; Albidez said; when she learned she was pregnant again, Reyes-Marin stopped working and stayed at home to rest.
After giving birth at Southampton Hospital, there were complications, Albidez said. She was subsequently transferred to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where she died.
"They told me if they moved her, she could die, but if she stayed, she could die. What are you going to do in that moment?" he asked.
After her sudden death, leaving behind two small children and a newborn, Albidez said neighbors, friends and strangers have been kind, reaching out to help.
“I don’t know what to say sometimes,” he said .”I’m just trying to get through this -- to figure out how I’m going to handle this. I’m really in shock. These things don’t happen every day.”
Her children, Albidez said, were the most important thing in their mother’s life. “She loved being a mother,” she said. “She told me if anything ever happened to her, to take care of the children. She trusted me.”
Without childcare, Albidez is unable to work. He has found comfort in his church but says the road ahead is uncertain. “It’s not easy what I’m going through right now,” he said. “I’m going to need some kind of help.”
Donations are being collected to help Albidez care for his young children.
Representatives at Stony Brook University Medical Center said it would be a violation of state and federal patient privacy laws, or HIPAA laws, to comment on a patient. Southampton Hospital officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.