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Adelia Enriquez, 68: Paul Anka's 'Diana'

Adelia Enriquez (right), of Baldwin Park, Calif., died at the age of 68.
Courtesy of the Enriquez family
Adelia Enriquez (right), of Baldwin Park, Calif., died at the age of 68.

More than 500,000 people have died in the U.S. from COVID-19 since the pandemic hit this country and the world just over a year ago. NPR is remembering some of those who lost their lives by listening to the music they loved and hearing their stories. We're calling our tribute Songs Of Remembrance.

My mama loved to dance and hum to tunes, and one song that was really special to my mama and papa was Paul Anka's "Diana." When my papa would sing this to mama, he would replace the lyric "Diana" with "Adelia" without fail. He would serenade her with this whenever we did karaoke or, for instance, when we had a huge party to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. It would make my mama laugh, but she loved it just the same. When I think about this, I have this image of her looking up and smiling at my dad belting out this song.

This last Christmas, I decided to learn how to play the ukulele, and for their 42nd wedding anniversary (Dec. 30), the week before my mama died, my husband and I went to surprise her and papa by (socially distant) serenading them. At first it was on their balcony, then when they came down to the front of their house we sang a few songs together including "Diana"/"Adelia," even if I could barely reach the high notes. She happened to tell us then that her and papa "had a cold," so I said I felt bad that they had to come down for us. She said "oh not at all, I love surprises!" This was the last time I saw my mama. I had no idea what a gift it was to do this and to sing her that song one last time. —Ann Enriquez, daughter

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