Lessons Learned About Death in Popular Culture

We host many events here at Cypress Lawn — from tours of our world-class Arboretum to lecture series and flag retirement ceremonies to Memorial Day celebrations and more.


One event we remember with fondness happened back in 2019. Dozens of people of all ages joined us on a Saturday night to watch an outdoor showing of the Disney/Pixar movie Coco. The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead. The film’s themes highlight the importance of remembering those we love — something that is always on our minds as we help families honor the special people they’ve lost.


Our Cypress Lawn staff was not surprised that the themes of this movie resonated with so many. While it’s tempting to avoid talking about (and even thinking about) the topic of death, we all encounter the grief, pain, and confusion that comes with losing someone we love. When a family member or friend dies, our culture tells us to move on — and fast. Death and grieving are topics that tend to be ignored or dismissed because they make many people feel uncomfortable and scared. Films like Coco remind us that grief cannot be rushed.


NBC’s hit show This is Us drew attention to other aspects surrounding death. Characters dealt with denial, an unwillingness to talk about the pain of loss, and the difficulties of addressing end-of-life issues with children. The show’s popularity is often attributed to its handling of real-life events, including the characters’ struggles with grief. Seeing these realities play out on screen can be a powerful healing tool and an impetus for needed conversations.


There’s tremendous value in remembering those who have died, and there are many ways to feel close to loved ones long after they’re gone. From tangible traditions like displaying photos of loved ones along with their prized possessions to telling stories to keep memories from fading, these simple acts can help you feel more connected to your loved one.


We realize how important it is to feel supported through life’s many ups and downs. If you find yourself wanting someone to talk to, remember you can always turn to Cypress Lawn’s compassionate staff members for encouragement and a listening ear.


If you would like help coping with grief, whether this includes meeting with a therapist or joining a grief support group, we can connect you with resources in the Bay Area. Contact us anytime through our website or by calling (650) 550-8808.