“We really are just biology, aren’t we?”
Nate Fisher says, upon seeing a corpse in “The Invisible Woman,” an episode of S2 “Six Feet Under.” It was a woman who’d become particularly decayed, as no one found her for awhile, after she died. Rico was doing his “Grey’s Anatomy”-God-complex thing, all psyched for this particular restoration challenge, though his eyes showed some fear that he may fail, which he eventually does, in a heartbreaking scene that Freddy Rodriguez nails.
Meanwhile, Nate is doing what he does throughout the episode — stares at coffins and dead bodies, knowing he soon may be in one, and one. He wasn’t religious, but he’d always believed in God, until his wicked-smart girlfriend challenged him on that faith. Right before he found out there was something severely bad going on inside his brain.
And it’s all so unfair:
“There’s got to be some kind of mistake. I don’t smoke. I haven’t had any red meat since 1989. I run three miles a day,”
Nate says, upon hearing the news of his condition in an earlier episode.
is the tagline for the S5 box set of “Six Feet Under” DVDs. And it’s really remarkable, rewatching the series, knowing how it ends (shoutout to my friend’s book!). The artistry of the show is incredible, and I don’t understand why Peter Krause isn’t a bigger star, unless he doesn’t want to be, in which case, rock on.
Because he was breaking my heart all over the place last night. Luckily I don’t have health insurance, so if there’s some wonky stuff going on in my brain, I am blissfully unaware of it.
But I am aware of my mortality, and my inability to rewind time, and go back to my early 20s, but with the knowledge of my almost-late-30s, including vegetarianism (NO DIET PILLS, early-20s Me!). I’ve had a Peter Pan complex since I was younger than Peter himself. I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to get old.
I don’t want to die.
Especially with the question hovering in my head, “We really are just biology, aren’t we?” Because even before Nate said that, that’s what I was thinking, upon seeing the body of Emily Previn. That’s what I think, when I watch “Six Feet Under.” That one day — who the hell knows, maybe today — I’m going to be a dead body. And I don’t know, if I will continue in an afterlife. I hope so. I still have a mustard seed.
But I don’t know.
“We were such children when we met. Then we watched those children disappear,” Ruth says to Ghost!Nathaniel in an earlier episode. In “The Invisible Woman,” she makes all of her children go to the funeral in their home, their funeral home, because Emily Previn had no one. Ruth saw her own possible future, as a woman who, despite her glorious red hair, was a long ways from the Nielsen demographic. As was Emily Previn.
And no one should be invisible; everyone deserves someone there to say goodbye. Then Ruth goes and stares remorsefully at the pictures of her children when they were children, and cries, and of course, I do too.
Because everything ends.
“Why do people have to die?” A woman asks Nate in one of the most famous clips of the show ever.
“To make life important,” he answers, after a long pause, as he ponders the question for himself, as well as her. And continues:
“None of us know how long we’ve got. Which is why we have to make each day matter. And it sounds like your Aunt Lilian did exactly that.”
“Yeah, she did,” the woman replies, looking happy for the first time in the episode. And Nate continues,
“Then you can be happy for her. A life well lived. That’s the most any of us can hope for.”
And he says all that right after finding out about his brain thing. He’s working a job he never wanted, and just found out he may die soon, but simply rises above and helps someone who is grieving terribly. In the process, he finds some of his own answers. Some of his own hope, in his own words.
I don’t have many answers whatsoever. But I still have hope. And whether I die today or at 105, I want to know that I lived. So when I’m lying there one day, just biology perhaps, my loved ones can still smile, and live their own lives. And so on, and so forth 🙂
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