Be with the dying when they're dying, if you can.
Look the dead in the face. Keep the difficult vigils. Hard as it may be, stand and watch.
If you bury your dead, bring a shovel; if you burn them, warm to the fire. Look into whatever riddance you consign them to. Lend a hand, or stand and weep, or watch and wonder. But stay until it is over, until it's done.
Keep the names of your dead alive among your people. You get one father, one mother, one true love, one life and a couple of good dogs. There's no easy way to do this. So do it right: Weep, laugh, watch, pray, love, live, give thanks and praise; comfort, mend, honor, and remember.
-- from Jim Baldwin