A man died in a small town. He was the mayor years ago, and his son is the mayor now. What looked like the entire town showed up to the church in the square. Loudspeakers broadcast the words of the priest and the man’s family, friends, and loved ones. They talked of his accomplishments. They talked of him as a father, as a friend, as a fellow citizen. For several hours the people in the town stood and sat in the sun and in the shade to listen; men and women, young and old, together and alone.
Then the people followed his casket out into the plaza and down the street toward the cemetery. They followed on foot and they followed in trucks, singing and honking as they went. At the cemetery the town reassembled to see the man placed in his grave and shake hands with his bereaved family. It felt like a burial from long ago, when humans lived in communities connected through life and death.