Tre Gaston-Ellis, siblings adjust to life after losing mother to COVID


Eulalia Gaston was not supposed to leave so early.

The mother of six had work.

Besides being the spirit of steel support system that kept her family together after her 27-year-old marriage ended six years ago, she had a new grandchild to care for.

With the pandemic spreading across the country, she approached vaccination with caution, much like many other Americans.

“I will get the vaccine after the FDA approves the vaccine,” she told Tre, Deaza and Railyne, three of her six children.

When she developed a cough in mid-July, she wasn’t overly worried because she was relatively healthy, aside from high blood pressure.

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She had contracted COVID-19. A long-time independent entrepreneur, Eulalia had many talents. She was a fabulous hairstylist, interior designer and cook, often serving her famous homemade pancakes and eggs to overnight visitors.

She initially avoided going to the hospital because she did not have health insurance. The hope was that she will beat the virus and come back to life as she knew it.

Season for Caring: Gaston-Ellis family seek to stay united after COVID takes over mother

Siblings Gaston-Ellis are raising their younger siblings after their mother died of Covid-19 in August.

Nicole Villalpando and Cedric Golden, American statesman from Austin

As her condition worsened, she went to the hospital on August 4, but by then it was too late. She died two weeks later, six days before the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine.

Eulalie was 54 years old.

“It was the shock of my life,” Tre Gaston-Ellis says of his mother’s death. “The shock of my life.

Faced with the loss of the family matriarch, the Gaston-Ellis children draw on the lessons she taught them: the value of hard work, respect for others and the importance of staying close to the family in the good as in bad times.

Tre, 26, was already the man of the house and now he’s tasked with not only providing leadership and mental toughness in a time of mourning, but also having to double as a brother and father figure for both of them. youngsters – Kalieve and Kaiden – who are a senior and sophomore at Cedar Ridge High School.

When Eulalia Gaston passed, the plan was to live in her rental house and take the lease, but that fell through. They live in three different homes which are within driving range.

Kalieve, a 17-year-old aspiring musician, lives in Pflugerville with Tre, his partner Shantel Isaac, 24, who works as a hairdresser and their 4-month-old son Malakhi. Kaiden, 16, lives with Railyne Gaston-Ellis, 22, in Round Rock, while Deaza Gaston-Ellis, 25, lives with a family friend the children call Aunt Val. Their father lives in San Diego but visits him.

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Tre Gaston-Ellis is cutting his hair at Delton’s Pecan Street Barber Shop and looking for a night job as a storekeeper at Walmart. Deaza Gaston-Ellis is in between jobs after working at Wells Fargo and then as a bartender. Railyne Gaston-Ellis is a teacher’s assistant at a local daycare center. Kalieve works at HEB. Kaiden is an avid writer who plans to work as an obstetrician-gynecologist. The older brother, LaRayia, lives and works in Atlanta.

Austin-based members see each other all the time, and hugs and kisses are part of the greeting. Barbecues, bonfires, cards, dominoes and the occasional Monopoly game marathon play the background role of a true feast of love.

“They are such a special family,” said Hospice Austin communications coordinator Melinda Marble. “They treat each other with great respect and affection and are incredibly close.”

During a visit to Tre Gaston-Ellis’ apartment in late October, they all pointed the finger at Deaza Gaston-Ellis when asked which brother looks most like their mother.

“It’s the delay,” Kaiden said.

“They both have to explain everything in detail,” says Railyne Gaston-Ellis.

Deaza Gaston-Ellis beamed as laughter filled the air.

For young people who are suddenly without their spiritual compass, they adjust as one would expect, although some days are more difficult than others.

Eulalia Gaston is buried 900 miles away at South Lawn Cemetery in Tucson, from where the family moved in 2009. The children hope to visit Tucson soon and honor their mother with a headstone for her grave.

The wishes of the Gaston-Ellis family:

Gravestone from the tomb of Eulalia; automobile or used car repair; estate attorney; help pay the bills; advice on how to apply for benefits; apartment deposit; clippers and barber supplies; lightly used lounge chair; bedding; laptops and printers; refurbished iPhone; televisions; grill / smoker; convertible car seat; high chair; crib; stroller; eyeglasses; orthodontic care; bikes for Kalieve and Kaiden; gift cards for clothing, footwear and winter clothing; baby toys; baby clothes; diapers and wipes; board games including Life, Jenga and Connect 4; PlayStation 5; Lightly used viola; advice on college applications; help with tuition fees; gift card for the rental of a tuxedo for the graduation party; 8 x 10 mat; Full length mirror; gift cards for HEB, Amazon and Sally beauty products.

Wish List available on Amazon.

Nominated by: Hospice Austin, 4107 Spicewood Springs Road, Austin, TX 78759. 512-342-4726, hospiceaustin.org.

His mission : Hospice Austin relieves physical, emotional and spiritual pain for anyone in our community facing the final months of serious illness.

Read more: Find more Season for Caring stories at Statesman.com/seasonforcaring

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