INT: A FUNERAL(ˈfyo͞on(ə)rəl) HOME

Patrick(ˈpatrik) is the funeral director(diˈrektər) at the funeral home that he owns.


They say that time is the great equalizer(ˈēkwəˌlīzər), but time is really aggressively(əˈɡresivlē) unequal(ˌənˈēkwəl), is it not? You look at redwoods(ˈredˌwo͝od) and tortoises(ˈtôrtəs) and even crocodiles(ˈkräkəˌdīl) that were indifferent to humanity((h)yo͞oˈmanədē) during the Civil(ˈsivəl) War and you see how they continue their endless, marching(märCH) crusade(kro͞oˈsād) of general ambivalence(amˈbivələns) even now. Time shines(SHīn) its light a bit more cruelly(ˈkro͞oəlē) on humanity. We start to show our wear(we(ə)r) and tear(te(ə)r,ti(ə)r) early. We strive(strīv) to preserve(priˈzərv) freshness and-barring(ˈbäriNG) that-we cling(kliNG) to the people and things that we believe give life meaning.

I have watched so many families come through these doors. I have washed(wäSH,wôSH) and dressed so many bodies. None of these people expect to end up here, not really. It’s a fear, but not a belief. There is no faith(fāTH) in death, although that may be the one thing you can have absolute(ˈabsəˌlo͞ot,ˌabsəˈlo͞ot) faith in.

I believe that the major(ˈmājər) religions(riˈlijən) understand this. I am a Christian(ˈkrisCHən), myself. It does not escape(əˈskāp) me that the finality(fīˈnalədē, fəˈnalədē) of death that I see at my job every day is heavily(ˈhevəlē) juxtaposed(ˈjəkstəˌpōz,ˌjəkstəˈpōz) by the idea of resurrection(ˌrezəˈrekSHən). The verse(vərs) I always come back to, though, is from the Book of Matthew(ˈmaTHyo͞o): “Are not two sparrows(ˈsparō) sold for a cent(sent)? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father(ˈfäT͟Hər).”

What a marvelous(ˈmärv(ə)ləs) take on death, is it not? Time is not kind to birds, who are given a few years on Earth and then die without anyone taking account of their accomplishments or the meaning of their lives. God does not keep them from dying, nor does he tally(ˈtalē) up their actions, good or bad; he simply watches them fall, and takes note.

I speak of the kindness of time, but that is merely(ˈmi(ə)rlē) more of the same human wishful(ˈwiSHfəl) thinking. Time, like the redwood, is indifferent to us and in that, I suppose, it does indeed make all of us equal(ˈēkwəl).