Death is a topic I'm pretty familiar with. I've done almost fifty funerals and in almost every case I have personally talked with and comforted the bereaved. On the one hand these help pay the bills (I usually receive some sort of honorarium), on the other hand I'm one of a few ministers who don't have a set fee, because I believe that everybody deserves a proper burial even if they can't afford it. There was one funeral however where the attendance consisted of the Funeral Director, The Cemetery worker, and Myself. I've been to funerals where some family members weren't allowed to attend, and one where an inappropriate "eulogy" was shared.
I've always maintained that Funerals are for the living, not the dead. Even in the case of the non-attended funeral, there was someone living who wanted to know that their relative was buried "properly."
The news that Fred Phelps of Westboro B*****t C****h passed away has been met by mixed reactions even before it occurred. While I can understand so many emotions regarding a controversial figure such as Phelps, I also read about how some of his family have been cut off and not allowed to say goodbye. Every person is a son or daughter to someone, maybe a dad or mom, a cousin, uncle or aunt. Our sins, no matter how grievous we judge them don't dilute our humanity but reinforce it.