August 15, 2004 6:00 AM

California family in shock after losing their Marine

Since April 9, when Marine Pfc. Eric Ayon, 26, lost his life at a dusty intersection in the Iraq desert, time has stood still for his family. His sister, Cynthia Ayon, 23, tells herself that her brother is just away on vacation. Henry Ayon, their father, tries not to talk about what happened to his son. His mother, Maria Ayon, visits his grave every day, and at home she talks aloud to him. The silver Toyota Solara that Ayon promised to his teenage sister, Jazmine, if anything happened to him sits in the driveway. Sometimes, the family members climb into it, start the engine and roll down the windows, but they dont go anywhere.

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