And one final extract from Thomas Lynch's The Undertaking. I could include more, but....the book's got to go back to the library.
I often think about this schizophrenia, how we are drawn to the dead and yet abhor them, how grief places them on pedestals and buries them in graves or burns the evidence, how we love and hate them all at once; how the same dead man is both saint and sonovabitch, how the dead are frightening but our dead are dear. I think funerals and graveyards seek to mend these fences and bridge these gaps - between our fears and fond feelings, between the sickness and the sadness it variously awakens in us, between the weeping and dancing we are driven to at the the news of someone's dying. The man who said that any man's death diminishes me was talking about the knowledge at the corner of every obit that it was not me and some day will be. Thus graveyards are a way of keeping the dead handy but removed, dear but a little distant, gone but not forgotten.