Updated: Sep 22
My first experience with performing nail services on a deceased client was nothing like I thought it would be. When you discussing the dead, it seems to be creepy to most people. For me, that's not the case simply because with the dead you more so know what to expect, the living is unexpected. You don't know what a person is thinking or what's their next move. So for me, the unexpected is worse. Dealing with the dead was quiet. The mortician wasn't a creepy old guy, the room did not have blood and jars of suspicious parts, it was spotless and calm. I learned a little bit about embalming and that the mortician also performs haircuts, applies makeup and nail polish if needed. The biggest thing was the compassion and the care that is given to each of them, although they are no longer living.
One of my clients asked if I would do her niece's nails for her funeral, and although it gave me chills, I was a little honored that she even considered me for the job. Although I didn't know what to expect, I agreed to do the service. No, I didn't know the young lady personally, but my clients are like friends and family, so I tend to go above and beyond to do what I can for most of them. I was familiar with the extent of her injuries so my mind started to wonder how she would look and I have heard of corpse's moving during rigor mortis, but that happens before the embalming, so I didn't have to worry about that part. Now there were two other bodies covered with sheets that I knew nothing about, so my thought process was if I had seen anything move I was gone. I would have called them from the interstate to apologize, but that didn't happen.
I had my earbuds in, and I got to work like it was nothing. At first, the mortician talked to me so I could be comfortable; it worked. I had to perform the entire service standing. Her hands laid to her side, resting on the armrest. It took me longer to do her first hand because we were talking, but after he left I was able to work at a consistent pace. Everything that I use was disposable. I used a sanding band to remove her gel polish from her previous set, I cleaned up her cuticles and roughened her nail plate with the same sanding band. I didn't use primer, but I did everything else the same for a fill-in. Instead of me using acrylic, I used polygel because of the stiffness of her hands, they were not fully stiff, but they did have limited movement. The reason I used polygel is so I could have more control in this situation. I used gel polish because it dries faster. I used my rechargeable light because the bottom can be taken off, I only had to place the light over her hand. I did the gel polish on the pinkies and thumbs separately because of the mobility of her fingers. Her family sent me a photo of the color and design, and I did what they wanted.
Some people would wonder why she needed to have her nails done. It's not for me to question her family's decision. All I was there to do is to make sure her nails were beautiful. Sadly, so many young people are unexpectedly taken from this earth, and there is nothing that can be done. I hate we met in this manner and wonder what her life would have been like if she had not gone to that party. In the end, we all have an expiration date, and there is only one person who knows that date. Live your life as positive and best as possible, so when your day comes, you have no regrets.
I want to thank E.G. Cummings Memorial Funeral Home, Inc. & The Moss Family
RIH Alexis Moss