We found a beautiful spot to bury my sister, about fifty miles outside of Las Vegas in the Nevada desert. The Professor helped me wrap her body in a sheet and lower her down into the plot that was already dug, but I had to refill it myself. Michael was tending to his sister because she seemed to be getting sicker. Renee remained inside the SUV; she said that being around during all of this would just put her in everyone's way. And Rose, she was a complete wreck. I would not have dared to ask for her help. With her mental state being in jeopardy, it could have pushed her over the edge. As for Richard, well everyone, including myself, thought that he would be joining up with Tina sooner, rather than later.
So, the Professor was the only one available. We placed her body under a Joshua tree. The burial spot looked completely out of place. It was the only splash of color in a seemingly black and white world. The tree itself appeared to be the only one in the entire wasteland. I felt like it was a nice resting spot for her.
Each one of us said a word or two about Tina, on how she had affected our lives one way or another. I mentioned how she had a soft spoken voice, but a brave and mighty heart. Without her, none of us would have been able to escape from Palace City. It was because of her sacrifice that we could all move onward to Haven.
After the small service, each of us passed by the grave site and placed a desert rose on her grave. It wasn't much, but I knew Tina would have liked it. I was unable to make her a proper headstone, so I cut the bark away from the tree with one of my long daggers and engraved her name, along with the date of her birth and death.
As we all loaded back into the SUV, I noticed that Rose was still at the grave site. I walked back over to her and told her it was time for us to go. She didn't answer me, but remained standing there as the tears ran down her face. I grabbed her arm, trying to bring her back into the present and our pressing need to get moving. She pulled her arm away from me, screaming that she was not going to leave. I tried to reason with her, but that did no good as Rose was too frantic. She wasn't ready to let go! I told Rose that I understood her pain; Tina was my sister as well. But, there was no time available to us to grieve like this. I gently took her by the hand and tried to walk her back to the SUV, but once again she refused to go, saying that I did not understand and that they were as close as twins--Tina was only ten months older than her. I told her that we were family and I would never leave her alone. My attempts to reason with her were unsuccessful; she continued to resist. Michael finally came from the car and helped me to physically drag her back to the vehicle. Rose fought us all the way, kicking and screaming, even when we got inside the SUV.
Some miles up the road I had to pull over because my daughter Maria had become violently ill. Once the SUV came to a complete stop, she jumped from the vehicle and ran off, looking for a place of privacy. Some of us got out of the SUV, taking the opportunity to stretch our muscles and walk around for a while. At first I stayed inside with Richard, but he was fast asleep. So, I made sure that he would be all right for a few minutes alone. He had already survived the unservivable, I was sure he would be okay.
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