Photo Courtesy of Vanessa Flores.

From left to right, mom Guadalupe Cornejo, sister Vanessa Flores, brother Mateo Florentino, and Monserrat Flores celebrate their mom’s birthday.

A Long Life Ahead Got Cut Short

May 20, 2021

Ever since Monserrat (Monse for short) Flores, 19, was a little girl, she always loved being around children and she dreamt of opening a daycare or becoming a teacher one day.

On December 5th, 2020, the coronavirus cut those dreams short. 

“I never thought this would happen to us. She was just starting her life, her career,” said Monse’s mother, Guadalupe Cornejo.

Flores was a part of the graduating class of 2020 at Godinez Fundamental High School. She worked the front lines at Northgate Market, along with her mother, while taking classes online at a local community college in Santa Ana. 

Her sister, Vanessa Flores, said that she first came down with the virus around Thanksgiving of last year. 

Cornejo said that everyone in her family was ill, so it was extremely difficult to support one another with following quarantine. 

“I thought I should have been here with her. I thought that maybe I could have done something to help her but we were all sick,” said Cornejo.

For Monse, she passed away on the fifth day of being sick with COVID-19. 

“I am hurting and it is an open wound that will never close,” said Flores. 

She added, “I will always remember her as the cheerful and comforting person she was. She would always tell me how proud she was of me and how I have to keep pushing through and be strong no matter what.”

These unfortunate series of events were accompanied with an extreme financial hardship. 

To help reduce costs, a GoFundMe page was created and shared with family and friends.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was another great resource for them. 

FEMA started providing COVID-19 Funeral Assistance when the pandemic began back in March of 2020. Since then, it has helped many families with expenses for funeral services and/or cremation. 

There are such requirements like the death occurring in the United States, proof on the death certificate that shows the cause was due to COVID-19, and the person applying must be a U.S. citizen. 

Drama director at GFHS, Richard Marting, is fortunate enough to have known Monse for two years.

When he first heard of the news, he was in shock. 

“I couldn’t believe that someone so young and someone that had been in my classroom had died, let alone from the coronavirus. My heart breaks with her family and her sister that have to deal with this loss of a young life that was just starting,” said Marting. 

Whenever Marting thinks about Monse, he thinks about her infectious smile and sense of humor.

“She would just light up the room when she came in and was a fun, loving, caring student,” added Marting. 

As the family continues to grieve over the loss of Monse, they do it slowly. 

“I’m very sorry for the other mothers who also lost their children and lost children of the same age as my daughter,” Cornejo said.

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