sad but sweet story
After years of battling the physical and emotional changes in her body, Angelica Contreras wanted peace. Although she could no longer speak or write, Angelica was still able to answer her grandmother when asked if she was tired of the struggle. Her family had worked out a system to ask her questions. One finger raised meant, "yes." Two meant "no."
Angelica made it clear. "She was ready to go to heaven," Connie Contreras said.
Angelica Monique Verala Contreras died Nov. 14. The Phoenix resident was 20.
It was the end of a long fight. Her problems started when she was in seventh grade. The vibrant, active young girl had become clingy, anxious about leaving her mother's side.
"I had moved her from a public to a private school, and I thought she was having trouble adjusting," her mother, Noreen said. "She would cry, not wanting to go."
After going to counseling, the nervousness slowly dissipated. Angelica, the girl who loved to read, dote on her younger sister and work on her ever-expanding Elvis collection, seemed back to her old self. She was excited to start her freshman year at Bourgade Catholic High School, quickly joining various clubs.
"But all of a sudden, the change came again," Contreras said. When family members would drive her to school, she would get out, but then turn to chase them as they drove away.
Doctors said she was manic depressive and prescribed medicine to treat an emotional disorder. But a phone call from her father, Michael Varela, in 2005, painted an even darker future for Angelica. He had just been diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a genetic neurological disorder that leads to degeneration of the body's functions.
Angelica was frightened at the prospect that she might have inherited Huntington's. But when doctors confirmed her fears in late 2005, "she actually relaxed," her mother said. She set out to make her final dreams come true.
"She wanted to go to Graceland," Noreen said. "She wanted to see where Elvis lived."
Her grandparents had ignited Angelica's passion for the King when she was about 7. Richard Contreras would dance with her in his arms to Elvis records. Her favorite song? Love Me Tender. Over the years, she decorated nearly every empty spot of her bedroom with Elvis memorabilia.
With help from the Contrerases' church, family, friends and donations by Swift Transportation Corp. in Phoenix, money was raised to help pay for Angelica's trip in July 2007 to Memphis, Tenn.
"She was so excited," Noreen said. "Her face was the happiest I had ever seen it."
In the weeks that followed, memories of the trip eased painful days.
"I think it really helped," her mother said. Using blocks to spell out words, Angelica told her mother that she wasn't afraid to die.
To help boost her spirits, Paul Spoonmore, an Elvis impersonator in the Valley who had given her a benefit concert, made frequent visits. He had become like a member of the family. He was there by her bed at the hospice, holding her hand, that last day. "I was singing There Will be Peace in the Valley," Spoonmore said. "She took a final breath and was gone." (News, Source: Connie Cone Sexton, Arizona Republic)
That is a very sad but sweet touching story.
If Elvis only knew how many people he helped emotionally & Phycically it would blow his mind! She went to meet Elvis in that mansion in the sky! Corny i know but true!
I'm the King of the Jungle, They call me Tigerman
That is so sad but I'm glad she was able to see Graceland before she passed.
This is so sad...................I can't get this out of my head.The child sure had great taste in music.
Yep a very said story. It's touching that she got to see graceland before went.