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How a Show About Funerals Helps People Grieve

February 07, 2018 | | Comments 0

Does the sight of funeral cars in a procession make you sad? When you see a funeral home or something else related to death, do you get a lump in your throat thinking about a loved one’s death in the past? If so, TV might be a way to overcome this.  Shows like HBO’s Six Feet Under brought the subject – and details – of death into living rooms across the country.

The popularity of Six Feet Under shows just how much people want to talk about and understand death better.  The show follows a family run funeral home and depicts death and the funeral process in great detail.  For funeral homes all over the country, the show gave the public a chance to see that funeral homes aren’t simply a place for death – they are a place to celebrate life.

Back in 2008, the (now defunct) TV Squad compiled a simple list of ways the show was helping others grieve:

1. “Everything. Everyone. Everywhere. Ends.” This tagline for the show points out a reality that some people don’t want to face. But once you come to grips with it, life is easier. Nobody gets out of this world alive and some leave it sooner than we expect. The show constantly reminds us of this in each episode.

2. The absence of grieving is acceptable. In one episode toward the end of the series, one character explains that he’s just tired of grieving. Instead of being sad, he just wants to make every minute of life count. There is a time for grieving, but it’s okay to let it go and move on once that time is over.

3. Death comes in the most unexpected ways. At the beginning of each episode, somebody dies. Sometimes it’s a normal way like choking on something and other times it’s as unusual as nearly getting decapitated from a street sign when standing up through the moon roof in a limousine.

4. The show makes you appreciate life.
For many people, being around death makes them appreciate life even more. Some characters in the show exhibit this at times since they are always around the idea of death in the family-owned funeral home.

5. Six Feet Under gives you perspective. When you think of death as an inevitable part of life, it makes you prioritize your life and think about what’s really important.

The fact is, the immense popularity of Six Feet Under gave many people the chance to find a way to grieve and move on.  watching the family and their clients go through the process was especially helpful since the show never glossed over the details of death.  When one of the main character dies near the end of the show run, the family comes together to wash and prepare his body with the cameras rolling.  Six Feet Under’s unflinching view of death provided catharsis for many and it’s a legacy that resonates today.

 

 

Filed Under: Funeral History

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