"He's not here no more," said Guadalupe Rivera. "He's not here no more. I'm not gonna hear him say, 'Where's my hug, mom?'"
Rivera was talking about her second oldest, Fabian Pineda, killed on the eve of New Year's Eve while on a road trip to a friend's quinceanera in Baja. It was not the kind of trip Rivera would have normally allowed her son to take, but he was 19, so she changed her mind.
"I let him go 'cause he was like, 'Mom, so what?'" Rivera said. "And I was like, 'Fabian, I really don't want to let you go, but I know, I know, I know you have your right to be free and be able to go and see different places.'"
Friends and family stood with tears in their eyes and candles in their hands in a Sacramento park, mourning the moments of freedom that put Pineda in the back seat of another family's truck when it blew a tire. He took the brunt of the rollover crash that followed on a Kern County highway.
"When he left I said, 'Can I get a hug?' And he told me to stand up and then I gave him a hug," said Pineda's sister, Ysenia Rivera.
Ysenia will hold on to that last hug forever, remembering a hard-working big brother who stepped in to a fatherly role for his siblings since their mom was a single mother of seven.
"When I went to school he would do my hair," Ysenia said.