Now, she says, she wants to retrace that journey, carrying with her to venues all over L.A. a profound, floating conversation.
Trapasso says she also plans to make a documentary on how other cultures integrate death into life.
One of her partners, Leszek Burzynksi, a British-born director, says America needs to learn to do this better.
"In a funny way, in our culture death is seen as a postscript, whereas in other cultures death is seen as a chapter in a continuation."
That's a problem, says Trapasso's roommate, Jane Plotkin — a former marriage and family therapist who says she became a clairaudient, hearing voices from beyond, after a "major visionary experience."
"There are so many people who live in fear of death, and that's one of the reasons we have such a youth-obsessed culture and a culture that turns away from aging."
The way we die is about to change, Burzynski says. He's convinced of it.
Aging baby boomers will demand better options, and they know how to get things done.
His mother, he says, grew up in a village. As a girl, she helped wash and lay out the bodies of the dead.
Most deaths used to be at home, he says. Now that's rare.
"We all want to make a good death. If you ask anybody, 'How do you want to die?' they'll say, 'In the bosom of my family, with my friends around.' They don't say, 'In a hospital bed with tubes coming out of my nose and my ears, in a semi-coma — that's my perfect death.'"
Plotkin describes her mother's "grueling, grueling" end, on a respirator.
If one day she finds out she is dying, she says, she wants to choose when and "have some help to let go."
"I'd like to have a few of my friends and be able to say all the things I'm grateful for in my life and thank everyone and end on a good note."
Why are the odds stacked against getting to determine our own goodbyes?
Dori Fisher, the graphic artist, says seeing her first body terrified her.
Grandma never wore makeup or lipstick. That person in the satin-lined box looked like an over-decorated cake.
"I think that dying is as individual as living. And that's what we don't take into consideration," she says. "Everybody should be able to die in the way that they want to, maybe as they lived."
The volatility of grief, the way the young feel invincible, the heartbreaking loss of pets who loved unconditionally.