I think, before I can sleep, I need to get out the really suffocating idea that’s settled in my head after watching the Six Feet Under final.
In the end I think the big reveal were the Fisher’s physical death notices: it implies so quietly, so logically, that all those people who died at the beginning of each episode had lives just as big, just as complicated, just as lovely, as petty, as hysterical, as fortunate, as tragic, just as sprawling as the Fisher family. They were all as deserving of narrative as Nate, or Billy, or Claire, any of them, though they were only ever presented as narrative parallels. They were illustrations, metaphors for the Fishers, but the ingenious implication of that coda was that life, everywhere, is huge and beautiful, that death is inevitable, that the most average-seeming life (from the outside) is actually this complicated microcosm of history and response and environment. And for me, anyway, it pulls a pretty intricate looking glass over your own life: if this was the end, what does your history tell your future great-grandchildren, who will never know you personally? Will only have dates and occasionally told, half-remembered stories? What will the plot points of your life reveal to them? Your love and your tragedy. Are you happy? How much of what you have right now is important to you?
So the intense, human sadness at watching this family die, one by one, in ways both natural and tragic, is multiplied to all the other people who served as those opening plot parallels, and then by extension everyone who has ever died and who is living. To ourselves.
We get almost no time at all to weave a life. I’m 28 years into mine, and I have no idea what stories I even want to leave behind.