Three days within the deadliest month within the covid pandemic

1:58 p.m. PT Wednesday

Nyesha Montes De Oca arrives at Guerra Gutierrez Mortuary with a silver make-up case and two procuring baggage. 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 he or 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. On the finish 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 very last thing I needed to do for her,” says Montes De Oca, who’s 38.

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

The colour: “Million-dollar Pink.”

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

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

“I informed her they’re method too girly for me, however that she ought to maintain on to them,” she says. “Now, she’ll be buried with them.”

Her mom had at all times been “girly,” in Montes De Oca’s phrases. After emigrating from Jalisco, Mexico, as a younger lady, Gonzalez received 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 young person, getting into and profitable a pageant in East Los Angeles. Gonzalez wore the sea-green gown the day of her daughter’s victory.

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

First, she rubs somewhat 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 shade to the closed lids.

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

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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