Somehow, 12-year-old Mesai Alonsabe-Davis remained stoic, though obviously somber. The joy of hosting the 6th Annual Mesai’s Merry Toy Drive vanished Friday when his uncle, Romeo Alonsabe Jr., was found dead at the Vallejo family’s home.
“He passed away yesterday in our house. I’m feeling really bad about that,” Mesai said Saturday morning, nearby a handful of toy drive volunteers and a D.J. at Java Jax downtown.
Mesai’s mother, Michelle Alonsabe-Davis, said she was told Saturday her brother tested positive for COVID-19 by the Solano County Coroner’s office.
It was Mesai who discovered his beloved uncle.
Mesai said he dedicated Saturday’s toy drive to his uncle.
“My uncle was so nice to me, so caring about what I do and all the stuff I do,” Mesai said. “I was very close to my uncle. I don’t know why he had to go.”
The 42-year-old Romeo Alonsabe Jr. was the toy drive’s annual photographer, “just doing everything around here with us,” Mesai said. “He was always there to support me.”
Mesai’s mother contemplated canceling the toy drive after her brother’s sudden passing.
“My mom said, ‘I don’t know if we should do the toy drive.’ But I think my uncle would have been sad about that,” Mesai said, lamenting “He would have been here if he didn’t pass away. I know my uncle is up there in heaven looking down on us, thinking ‘I wish I could be there.’ I’m sad about that. I can’t stop thinking about that.”
“We went back-and-forth” whether to cancel, Mesai’s mom said. “I was going over it and over it. I would envision my brother helping set up the toy drive. He was the historian, taking photos. That’s what he normally does.”
Romeo Alonsabe Jr. was sick since Thanksgiving, suffering headaches and complaining of “head pressure,” Michelle Alonsabe-Davis said.
“He’s always had migraine headaches. He thought it could have been another migraine he had it so often. He was also feeling weak,” she continued.
Her brother, however, declined medical help.
“He was not the ‘doctor’ kind of person,” she said.
Alonsabe-Davis, her husband, Donnie, and Mesai were all tested for COVID-19 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vacaville on Friday and await the results.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been in these shoes,” Michelle Alonsabe-Davis said.
Alonsabe-Davis lost another brother, Ian, 29 years ago. He had congenital heart problems and wasn’t supposed to live past 6, she said. He died at 22.
Saturday’s Merry Toy Drive was a momentary lift, Mesai’s mom said, with more toys dropped off than expected.
“When we do good, we see good and bring more positivity into this world,” she said. “Right now, I feel there’s a big dam over the world.”
Mesai said that believing his uncle “is here in spirit” helped ease the pain.
“This is a memorial to my uncle,” Mesai said. “I don’t know why he had to go. I wish I could see him again.”