Columbia Funeral Home
with William Pennington
Grieving is hard, and I'm sure you've had your fair share, but the older you get, the more funerals you attend, and before you know it, you're the next one in line. When my last grandmother passed away, I felt like I was in Space Invaders...one line of aliens closer to the end.
I've thought of death a lot, and I think it all started when we moved across the street from a funeral home when I was 4. You see people grieving, week after week, and it messes with your brain a little. Might make you calloused and seem uncaring when a friends uncle dies. Death happens, but it doesn't get any easier when a close one passes. I'd like to think that it does get easier the more you're around death, but I don't think it does.
My favorite book on death is called Stiff, first seen in the HBO show Six Feet Under, which was filmed here a bit. Here's an interesting Rainier Valley walking tour brochure that briefly mentions the connection with the show. For some reason, few people seem to notice that part of it was filmed there. The show was really one of the first great HBO shows of the golden age era of television.
Looking back, I can't imagine us not living across the street from a funeral home. But as an adult, I can't imagine living across the street from one now, as death isn't that interesting to me anymore. It's nothing. Death is nothing, but it's also a curious thing.
Before he died, my uncle was working on his own casket, which he was eventually buried in. That sounds like a fun project, actually. In South Korea, people shut themselves into coffins to better understand their place in life (and death).
Columbia Funeral Home is easy to drive by, but it's not easy to end this essay.