The Undertaking PBS-TV Show

The Undertaking

"The Undertaking," a PBS Frontline program, is a moving, behind-the-scenes exploration of how funeral service professionals care for the living and the dead.

This hour-long episode promises to accurately depict the care and compassion funeral directors provide every day to grieving families with rare access to the day-to-day workings (from arrangements conference to embalming) performed at Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors homes in Michigan. The film features NFDA At-Large Representative Patrick Lynch and his brother, author and funeral director, Thomas Lynch.

In his critically acclaimed book, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, excerpted in this film, Thomas Lynch chronicles a life spent in the presence of the dead. "We have in some ways become estranged from death and the dead," Lynch believes. "We're among the first couple generations for whom the presence of the dead at their own funerals has become optional. And I see that as probably not good news for the culture at large."

The Lynch family believes that the rituals of a funeral are more than mere formalities. "Funerals are the way we close the gap between the death that happens and the death that matters," Lynch contends. "A good funeral gets the dead where they need to go and the living where they need to be."

For Lynch and his family, their business has always been about more than just caring for the dead. "What I've written is that while the dead don't care, the dead matter," Lynch explains. "The dead matter to the living. In accompanying the dead, getting them where they need to go, we get where we need to be - to the edge of that oblivion and then returned to life with the certain knowledge that life has changed."

This program provides an opportunity for a wide variety of professionals -funeral directors and their staffs; community caregivers, including Hospice workers, clergy, doctors, nurses, psychologists, educators, social workers and bereavement counselors to see services of the funeral director, the value of the funeral and related needs of the family cast.

To view the program click on the link below to PBS.
PBS Frontline - The Undertaking