A Terrifying Night in Paris -- American woman killed in Paris attack... "It was the final hug we would share."
(by Andrew Calder via RedFlagNews.com) -- The night of November 13, 2015 I was supposed to go out with friends.
I am here studying at Strate College of Design in Paris with a group of other students from Cal State University Long Beach. We’ve been here since September 2015. I met Nohemi Gonzalez a few years ago through the design program at CSULB. I was excited and apprehensive to come to Paris to study. Nohemi and I became closer friends here in France where we have had to rely on each other through the tough times of a adjusting to a new language and culture.
So far it had been an amazing experience. We traveled around with our other CSULB students visiting historical sites and experiencing France and Europe. We were scheduled to go back to the United States in February.
The night of November 13 Nohemi was meeting a friend and fellow student visiting from CSULB who was in Paris for vacation. She asked me to go out with them, but I was exhausted and begged off to stay home and go to bed early.
The last time I saw her was Friday afternoon. I got lunch with her near school and after which I didn't want to go back to class; so when she gave me a hug goodbye, I held on as long as I could, because if I let go, I had to go to class. It was the final hug we would share.
That night, she met her friends at a restaurant in Paris. They were standing out front to get some air, talking about their lives here in Paris. That’s when the shooting started. Instantly the group was scattered as each ran in different directions. The other students escaped unharmed, but Nohemi had been fatally shot. She passed away at the scene of the attack. There was so much confusion that night. Nohemi didn’t have a cell phone and there was no way to see if she was okay.
I received a phone call shortly after the attack telling me what had happened. The desperate desire to go into the city and find her, was overwhelming. Only the knowledge that there was nothing I could do and that the city was engulfed in chaos kept me away.
Nohemi was an amazing person. She had become like a sister to me. As I attended her memorial service at Strate yesterday I had to laugh to myself that if she could see me crying she would tease me about it calling me a diva.
She was a strong woman who gave of herself and her time. She worked as a teacher’s assistant for our school in Long Beach and was always available to help students. Even if she was off the clock, she would stay late to make sure the job was finished. She always preferred to do things on her own. She made her own decisions and followed through with any goal she set.
Nohemi was the kind of friend that would drop anything if I called for help or even if I just needed someone to listen.
I am grateful that I knew Nohemi. Her death is a tragedy that I will never forget, but her strength and happiness is something I will always remember.
Please contribute to this fund for Nohemi's family to help ease the burden of the funeral costs and or make it possible to do something special in her name. We all feel completely helpless, as we cannot take away the pain that losing a child brings, but we can help with the financial burden and help her memory live on.