Bonnie Esquina remembered the shock of receiving the news that her daughter had died.
Her dogs barked, alerting her to approaching visitors, and she thought her daughter, Erika Esquina, must be home. Instead, there were two policemen and a chaplain approaching her door.
“I thought this must be a dream. You must be mistaken. Maybe there’s a wrong identity—that’s what I was thinking,” Bonnie Esquina said. “Not my child. She was just too perfect, and no one is, but she was real near it.”
Erika Esquina, former mass communications sophomore, died Oct.11 in a car crash on her way home to Pearland from Texas State. The loss was felt across campus by her friends, classmates and teachers.
Erika Esquina transferred to Texas State from Stephen F. Austin University this semester. She quickly became involved on campus through Diamond Sweethearts, a student organization that supports the Texas State baseball team. She was one of about 60 girls chosen to be a Diamond Sweetheart out of more than 200 who applied.
Taylor Shelton, communication studies sophomore, was one of the club officers to interview and choose Erika Esquina to be in the group. Shelton remembered picking her because of her passion and professionalism.
“She was a breath of fresh air,” Shelton said. “We all just loved her. You see tons and tons of girls, and they can seem the same after a while, but when she left the room, it was unanimous. She was going to be in.”
Kalisha Ybarra, president of Diamond Sweethearts, remembered hearing the news of her death. The Sweethearts had a social mixer planned for that night, but canceled it when they found out. No one was in the mood for partying, Ybarra said.
“Everyone got together at my house, and we hung out and were there for each other, Ybarra said. “It really hit us hard. She was always so lively and was a good energy to be around. We all miss her a lot.”
Shelton and Ybarra, along with some of the other Diamond Sweethearts, went to Erika Esquina’s viewing, which drew more than 600 people.
“It was just such an outpouring of love, and I know their prayers were with us,” Bonnie Esquina said. “It’s what’s carried us from day to day, me being without my Erika.”
The Esquina family has always been close, and the loss has been especially difficult for them. Bonnie Esquina was a stay-at-home mother who spent a lot of time with Erika Esquina and her sister, Jenny, when they were growing up.
Erika Esquina had taken dance lessons since she was 3-years-old and became a cheerleader in middle school. Her mom loved taking her to practice and watching her perform.
It’s hard to believe that her daughter is gone, Bonnie Esquina said, but she is determined to move forward with the help of her Christian faith.
“She is joyous, she’s in no pain, she is at peace and those that she leaves behind are the ones that have to deal with her loss,” Bonnie Esquina said. “We don’t know what heaven is like, but she’s at peace. It seems selfish to miss her, but our entire lives will be changed forever, and it is our faith that keeps us going—knowing that she is in good hands.”