This is a beautiful, reverential essay from Elizabeth Savage via Tablet Magazine.
It gives a window into one of the very dignified Jewish traditions regarding death.
Read the whole thing.
There is a whole category of Jewish practice that is called 'chessed shel emet'. It's sort of hard to translate but it's basically the purest form of good deed.
Guarding the dead (and indeed, preparing the dead for burial) is one of those acts of chessed because the dead person cannot return the kindness to you. It's done just for the purpose of goodness and G-dliness and holiness.