Three days within the deadliest month within the covid pandemic

by akoloy

1:58 p.m. PT Wednesday

Nyesha Montes De Oca arrives at Guerra Gutierrez Mortuary with a silver make-up case and two buying luggage. She has an appointment together with her mom, who died at 6:05 p.m. on Jan. 4.

She has not seen her mom since then. And she has not hugged her mom since April, when Montes De Oca moved her into a talented nursing house.

A mortuary proprietor opens the chapel door for Montes De Oca, wearing a black athletic pullover, denims and black high-top Chuck Taylors. At the tip of the room, Irene Gonzalez, 66, lies in a sea-green gown.

It was Montes De Oca’s request that she be allowed to use her mom’s make-up and provides her a pedicure.

“This was the last thing I wanted to do for her,” says Montes De Oca, who’s 38.

She begins on the ft, flipping open the case for clippers and information. She paints in brief, cautious strokes — working across the toe tag itemizing the reason for demise as covid-19.

The coloration: “Million-dollar Red.”

“It was her favorite, but they don’t make it anymore,” Montes De Oca says, a catch in her throat.

Gonzalez’s footwear sit subsequent to her on the desk. They are excessive heels, pink and pink and sequined. She purchased them for her daughter years in the past.

“I told her they are way too girly for me, but that she should hold on to them,” she says. “Now, she’ll be buried with them.”

Her mom had all the time been “girly,” in Montes De Oca’s phrases. After emigrating from Jalisco, Mexico, as a younger lady, Gonzalez gained a number of native magnificence pageants.

It was not her factor in any respect, however Montes De Oca agreed to humor her mother as a youngster, getting into and successful a pageant in East Los Angeles. Gonzalez wore the sea-green gown the day of her daughter’s victory.

Montes De Oca grabs a couple of small compacts and a roll of brushes.

First, she rubs slightly powder beneath her mom’s eye, one facet, then the opposite, their faces simply inches aside. She makes use of a small pencil to fill in her mom’s eyebrows, one other to melt some smile wrinkles across the eyes. Then, she applies coloration to the closed lids.

At one level, to nobody particularly, she says, “I’m barely keeping this together.”

She leans down to the touch up her mom’s proper eye, a gesture of poignant magnificence, a daughter perfecting a final makeover for her mother.

After months aside, daughter and mom are collectively once more.

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