Twenty years ago today, my sister and I weren't watching the premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because we were at our father's bedside (arguing, of course) waiting for him to die, which he did the next morning.
I never consciously realized why I hadn't started watching Buffy when it came out, but it never stopped me from being a great fan of the series. Five years later, when Buffy suffered the tragic loss of her mom, it was with great appreciation, sadness and through tears that I understood not only what Buffy was feeling, but Anya, Tara, Willow, Xander and all the Scooby gang.
Death was the norm on Buffy, but not by natural causes. People didn't just die without them being monstrous or deserving or being sent back to where they belonged. "The Body" was the juxtaposition of what death meant and will mean, what pain was and will be going forth, what you can get through and what seems insurmountable.
I still use "The Body" as a reference point when trying to explain the loss of a parent to others. The shock, the bewilderment, the bizarre turning point from loved one to (in my case) a yellow wax bean of a man instead of your father, or from your mother to a body, hasn't been expressed better from so many viewpoints in any other program before or since. It remains one of the most significant explorations about death in entertainment. – Carissa