Patterson woman’s death hits hard at holidays
by Kendall Wright | Patterson Irrigator
Dec 10, 2009 | 2637 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Leticia Solano
Leticia Solano
To help Leticia’s family:

• Send donations to Wells Fargo Bank account No. 2705631691

Giver. Beautiful. Funny. Optimistic. Future mother.

This is how friends and family of 25-year-old Leticia Solano, who died in a car accident in Turlock two days before Thanksgiving, remember her best.

“She was just so young,” said longtime friend Oyuki Angel, 23. “All she wanted was to have a family of her own and to become a mom. She had her whole life ahead of her, and it makes me really sad to think that that was taken away.”

Just after dark on Nov. 24, Solano and friends were coming home from shopping when the accident occurred near Washington Road and West Main Street in Turlock. Lizet Montez, the driver of the vehicle, said when the car drifted onto the dirt shoulder of the road, she lost control and hit a light-pole.

Three others, including a child, were injured in the crash, but Solano — who was riding in the front passenger seat — later died from her injuries.

“I know it was an accident, but it’s hard not to feel like it’s your fault,” Montez said. “Everyone keeps telling me that it could have been anyone.”

Solano moved to Patterson when she was 17 from Jalisco, Mexico, with her parents and three younger sisters. She was also a parishioner of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Patterson and had just started a new job as a cashier at La Perla Tapatia a few days before her death.

“(Leticia) was the type of person who would help people no matter what,” said her best friend of eight years, Lizet Montez. “The people around her were her whole world, and any favor you would ask her, the answer would always be ‘Yes.’

“I just miss simple things, like getting to talk to her, or getting a text message. We were like sisters.”

More than anything, friends described Solano as the pillar of her family who carried many financial and familial responsibilities for both her parents and sisters.

“Her family is so devastated, and they’re not holding up well without her,” Angel said. “She translated, took care of her things with her sisters’ school, and drove her mom to work. She was the one who did everything.”

Things have been especially hard for her parents, Anatolio and Guadalupe Solano, because Leticia’s death came right before the holidays.

“I don’t know what to do anymore,” Guadalupe Solano said. “She meant the whole world to me. She meant everything.”

• Contact Kendall Wright at 892-6187 or
Comments-icon Post a Comment
December 13, 2009
I know this isn't much, but perhaps someone can use this now:

The Holiday Bill of Rights for Those Who are Grieving

1. You have the right to say TIME OUT, anytime you need to. Time outs to let up, blow a little steam, step away from the holidays, have a "huddle" time and start over.

2. You have a right to TELL IT LIKE IT IS when people ask, How are you? You have a right to tell them how you REALLY feel, not just what they want to hear. You need to take care of yourself. Be attuned to your feelings. (P.S. You also have the right to smile and say you're fine,

because telling them how you really feel, isn't worth your time – some people will never understand anyway)

3. You have the right to SOME "BAH HUMBUG" DAYS. You don't have to be "Jolly Old St. Nicholas" all the time. You are not a bad person just because you don't feel like singing Christmas carols all day.

4. You have the right to DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. There is no law that says you must always do Chanukah and Christmas the same way. You can send 10 cards instead of 100 -- or no cards at all. You can open presents at somebody else's house. You can do without a tree. You can have a pizza instead of turkey! - The list is endless.

5. You have the right to BE WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. Be at home, or at the relatives or with friends. Be in any city, any state you choose! NOBODY SAID YOU HAVE TO HAVE SNOW TO HAVE CHRISTMAS. There's no law that says you must stay home!

6. You have the right to have SOME FUN. Don't be afraid of what someone will say if they see you laughing and having a good time. Laughter is every bit as therapeutic as tears. If you are doing something that your loved one would have also enjoyed, think of their laughter and feel

their laughter inside of you.

7. You have the right to CHANGE DIRECTION IN MID-STREAM. Grief is unpredictable. You may be all ready to go somewhere or do something and be suddenly overwhelmed, immobilized. When that happens, it’s okay to change your mind.

8. You have the right to DO THINGS AT DIFFERENT TIMES. Go to church or synagogue at a different time. Open presents at a different time. Serve your meal at a different time. Give up and go to bed at a different time. Don't be a slave to the holiday clock.

9. You have a right to REST, PEACE, and SOLITUDE. You don't need to be busy all the time. Take a nap whenever you need one. Take time to pray and meditate to recharge your spirit, it can do you much more good than eating another huge meal.

10. You have the right TO DO IT ALL DIFFERENT AGAIN NEXT YEAR. Just because you change things one year: try on something different, does not mean you have written it in stone. Next year, you can always change it back or do it, in yet, another new way.

© 1992 Bruce H. Conley

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