Then show me the last ten minutes of Six Feet Under. I will sob. Usually it happens when Nate appears in the hospital to his mother as she is dying. But really, the entire ten minutes send me off into weepy land.
I have been in love with Six Feet Under since the show was first created. It was good television. Good writing. Phenomenal acting. Amazing storytelling. Creatively told and shown.
But it was more than that. What made this show matter so damn much to me was the relationship between Claire and her brothers. Each one resembled various aspects of the relationships between my brothers and me. Perhaps that one that was most strongly resonant is the one between Nate and Claire. Like my oldest brother, Nate was not with the family at the beginning of the series. He moves back upon the death of his father. He has been away. Living his own life. And being apart from the whole family.
My oldest brother moved away when he was 18. He went to college. He went to grad school. He found a job in California. He struggled with what to do when my mother became ill. But stayed in California. Eventually getting married and having a family. He found his way back here a few years back and I am incredibly thrilled to have him local. And to have my sister in law nearby and get to know my nieces.
But I think what happens when you have a sibling move away when you’re only 8 is that person becomes incredibly mysterious. He had this whole life that none of us were a part of. He was exotic. He became almost mythic. He was the prodigal son. I remember when he was in grad school and he disappeared for a week. My mother went crazy looking for him. It turns out he ran off to Venezuela for a vacation and didn’t tell anyone. When he came back, my mom was furious but my dad just laughed. He wanted to know what his old stomping grounds were like.
That’s what people do around my brother. They just love him. And as the little sister, whenever he came back from college or on any visit – I could not wait to see him. It continued even through my adult years. If he was here for New Year’s Eve, I didn’t make plans because I wanted to hang out with him. If he was here in the summer and wanted to rent a house in Cape Cod I was totally going even if it meant I was going to be with my parents, brothers, sisters in law and babies all week.
And I always wanted his approval, acceptance, inclusion. When he started sending me mix tapes I felt hip. When I got a care package from this mythical place called Trader Joe’s in college, I knew I would be awesome.
Nate and Claire have a very similar relationship. Or at least that’s the part of their relationship I always identified with. In the series finale when she sees Nate’s ghost cheering her on, I imagined my brother saying similar things. There was this very natural relationship there and it just rang so strongly. Like in this scene:
[This is not to say that my other brother and I are not close. The relationship Claire has with David is very similar. We’ve always been around each other. We sort of know how the other thinks. Also, he looks way more like Ben Affleck.]