03/19/1985 – 05/21/2012
Paloma was quite simply amazing. She was beautiful, lithe and graceful with an underlying strength that stopped you in your tracks. Paloma was supremely artistic, athletic, adventurous, intellectual, and spiritual. First and foremost Paloma was a dancer, trained in ballet, modern and jazz and gifted with a natural presence when she performed. She swam like a fish, was an avid hiker, loved riding dirt bikes, wrestled like a pro and could throw a football in a tight spiral with those beautiful long fingers. Paloma was an artist. She threw herself completely into her passions: painting, shopping, room makeovers (including hospital rooms) and for the last years of her life- cooking- oh how this girl could cook! She loved all kinds of music and art and had a compassionate and tender heart. She had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. She cared deeply about children and animals. She hated to see sadness in others and to the end carried the weight of others on her shoulders.
Born and raised on the Mesa, Paloma attended local schools including Starr King, Waldorf, OAS, La Cumbre, San Marcos High and UCSB. Although she never truly enjoyed good health, Paloma worked so hard and was so successful that it was possible to deny the gravity of her health issues for a while. It took many years to diagnose the cirrhosis and other issues that she developed as a young teen. She knew something was terribly wrong but hid it, saying to herself “Stop complaining, you have a great family, and have had a great life so suck it up!” Her illness caused her much pain and trauma over the last 13 years.
After a very difficult and successful liver transplant at the Ronald Reagan -UCLA Medical Center on May 21, 2012, Paloma was fortunate enough to have 10 days where she felt absolutely great for the first time in her life. She exclaimed “I feel like a million bucks, a shiny new penny, even my eyeballs feel new and my ankles don’t hurt anymore”. The Doctors were astonished at her post-op progress. People came to see her just to see her huge smile. On May 31, 2012, Paloma suffered a massive stroke and slipped into a coma. Three days later she was pronounced dead and her wish that her organs be donated to save someone else’s life was fulfilled.
We would like to thank all her friends and family that prayed for her all these years. Your thoughts and prayers had a profound impact. A special thanks goes to the medical staff of Santa Barbara County Health Systems, especially the Lab staff who rooted for her every week, Cottage Hospital Emergency Room Medical Staff especially Rona and Chris who hustled to care for her each time she appeared at the door. Last but not least, we extend our eternal gratitude to the Surgeons, Hepatologists and Nurses of the Liver Team at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center including Drs. Busutill, Lau, Agopian, Butler and Wagner for their gift of 10 days of hope, gratitude, expectation, clarity and feeling normal. The phenomenal Nurses on The Liver Team treated Paloma like she was with family.
Above all else, Paloma was courageous and never gave up. She wanted to live!! Every time a new medical problem appeared she said “Let me freak out for a half hour then I will get it together”. Half hour later, she would start researching the latest complication. We will forever miss “the Missy”.
Paloma’s Memorial services and a celebration of her life will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2012 starting at 1 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Church at 21 E. Sola St. A celebration of her life will follow at Duo Catering at 614 E. Haley. All those who knew her are invited to attend.
Paloma loved her rescue dogs. To that end a memorial fund has been established at Montecito Bank and Trust called the “Paloma Gonzalez Memorial Fund”. Deposits can be made at any Montecito B&T branch: Locations listed HERE or mailed to one of the branches. The Montecito branch address is :
1106-A Coast Village Rd
Montecito, CA 93108
Checks should be made out to the “Paloma Gonzalez Memorial Fund.”
Arrangements entrusted to Pueblo del Rey Funeral Services (805) 895-8409.