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After Losing their Mother, Children Thankful for Friends


WOODBRIDGE, Va. — Five children who lost their mother now only have their father’s salary to support them. With government assistance yet to come through, the community is once more stepping in to help a family in need.

It was pancreatic cancer that took the life of Lucinda Tucker Rivera, 42, of Woodbridge, on June 7. She left behind a husband who works in construction and painting to support their five children, ages 4 – 13.

The family applied for federal food assistance but has not gotten yet, and now friends of the family are collecting food donations at a Bob Evans restaurant across from Potomac Mills mall through the end of the month.

The oldest of the five children, Carlos, 13, is an old soul in a youthful body. Since his mother’s death, he’s taken to his schoolwork and has been accepted into a special academic program affiliated with George Mason University. He knows if he maintains a 3.4 grade point average in school, he’ll be eligible for a partial scholarship to the college.

“I’m really looking forward to going back to school,” said Carlos. “I really like math and science because they just come easy to me.”

His sister, Angel, 11, likes P.E. and art class, where she loves to draw. She also loves music.

“I really want to go see a concert this summer. I really like One Direction!” said Angel.

The teen boy band is her favorite, she said, from their dance moves, to the style of clothes they wear, and yes, because they’re so cute on stage.

Their father works during the day, and the children being looked after by family friends. Carlos and Angel were the only ones home during our interview, as the other children had been taken to daycare.

Both children have fond memories of their mother who, from a hospital bed in December, ordered Christmas gifts for them in an effort to make their last holiday together a special one.

“Even though there were sometimes she couldn’t get us presents, Christmastime was always special,” said Carlos.

Thanksgiving was a special time too, as Carlos would often help his mother prepare a holiday feast for the family.

“I want her to be remembered as a good mom because she had a great personality,” he added.

The family lives in a small home in an older neighborhood outside Woodbridge’s Belmont Bay area. It’s a far cry from the high-rise towers and fancy row houses of the developing neighborhood next door, but for them, its home.

As for the rest of their summer, the children planned to attend a special summer camp, hope to spend time at the mall, and maybe see a movie to two.

Carlos likes to sit on the front porch and talk with his friends and his neighbors.

“I have a big family and have a lot of friends, and I wouldn’t really talk about [the loss of his mother] but it’s become easier, and they’ve helped me a lot,” said Carlos.

Angel Rivera, 11, and Carlos, 13, talk about the loss of their mother, and said friends and family have helped them through a difficult time in their young lives. (Mary Davidson/


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