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May 19, 2003
I saw my first real live dead person this February. Years ago, I decided I would prefer my first dead person to be someone not too close, but someone with whom I had some connection and affection. So when "S", one of my boyfriend's sisters, whom I knew and liked although I'd only seen her a few times, died, I knew she would do nicely.

When I saw her lying in her coffin, I wanted her to appear as if sleeping, the way I'd heard dead people looked. It quickly became clear, however, that what I'd heard was not so.