When the funeral home was preparing my sister’s body for the funeral, I stopped in because I was afraid they would put too much makeup on her, and she did not like to wear a lot of makeup.  I know you have to cover up certain…things, but beyond that, like not a bunch of eyeshadow and blush or anything.

I remember getting out of my white Volkswagen GTI in the funeral home’s hot and sunny parking lot. It was called Everly then.

I had some of Lisa’s makeup with me and the girl who was the funeral home’s makeup person was very welcoming and did not make me feel like some kind of morbid weirdo.

She even let me try to put eyeshadow on Lisa.

Putting makeup on someone’s dead face is completely different than putting makeup on your own live face.

I looked at the makeup artist. Wow, I said. This is not easy. She gave me a kind smile.

I let her get back to her work. She understood that my sister was a natural beauty, even in death.

I thought Lisa should have been buried in her pajamas. She sure did love her pajamas.

I wore one of Lisa’s sundresses to her funeral and for years after I always wore something of hers: clothes, lotion, perfume, bras, shoes.

In LA, I did not lift a finger to help pack Lisa’s things but instead lay in her bloody bed trying to find her while my mom packed everything from the bedroom and Dad & A packed elsewhere in the apartment. There were glow in the dark stars on her ceiling.

Once everything was packed and we were nearly ready to go back to Virginia with my sister’s body, my ma stood looking at the bed that I had finally climbed out of, then looked at me. What should we do with it? She asked me. The comforter, sheets, and mattress were saturated. I don’t know. I said. What can we do with it?

I don’t know what we did with it.

I think I don’t know what we did with it.

Maybe I do know, but I’m not sure.

Anyway, that was the end of May and beginning of June 1996.

It was the end of life with Lisa and the beginning of long sorrow.


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