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Remembering a special young woman
Photo courtesy: Paula Romero Santistevan

By Pauline Rivera

ôLife is what happens when youĺre busy making other plans,ö is a lyric in a John Lennon song. That phrase to me means that sadness and tragedy can strike at your lifeĺs best years, your best moments, yet life goes on.

Raised in a small northern New Mexico town, where everyone knows everyone, our friends and family Gasper and Estella Romero lost their oldest daughter Paula in an ATV accident. Paula and her husband were enjoying the beauty of the mountains of Amalia, New Mexico driving down a mountain road when they hit a rock, losing control, sending them both into harmĺs way, death and injury. Paula was gone almost instantly and her husband Gilbert is now overcoming various injuries in the hospital.

Paula and Gilbert, a loving couple, radiated love and respect for one another every time you saw them together. The perfect picture of togetherness, compatibility and the notion they were made for one another always entered your mind. Yet, today they are separated by the tragedy of a horrible accident.

As parents we are protective of our children, whether they are 8 or 50. We want them to live, forever. Though an impossible idea, we at least want them to outlive us. We fear the one horrible tragedy, to bury our children. In our minds, itĺs not supposed to be this way, yet so many parents lose their children, and you wonder how they can ever get over that tragedy and loss.

The Costilla and Amalia communities are in deep mourning for Paula and praying for her husbandĺs full recovery. Paulaĺs parents, the Romeroĺs, a deeply religious family, know that their healing is through God, so they will endure.

I remember Paulaĺs parents, growing up. They were teenage sweethearts at Costilla High School. Gasper an outgoing, life of the party kind of guy born and raised in Costilla, and Estella, the more subdued, good girl next door from Amalia won his heart over. After high school they married and moved to the city. Paula, their first-born became their pride and joy. The Romeroĺs have two other children, Anna Marie and Julian who loved and admired their older sister who support their parents over their tremendous loss.

With loss comes prayer, memories and, yes, music. Music always plays into lifeĺs moments. It typically summons so many memories for people, no matter your age. In the early 60ĺs, for instance, there was a singing duet sensation, Paul and Paula. They sang a song of true love titled, Hey, Paula. I will always remember this special young lady and her love for her true love Gilbert when I hear this song.

Vaya con Dios Paula. May your family and friends remember the good you brought into their lives, may you watch over your family who so loved you and may you always walk beside your true love, Gilbert.





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