All the rituals and stories we create around and about Death are largely to comfort and help the living. The dead generally need very little if any help from the living. They are dead; their jobs here are done. There is nothing wrong with this idea, at least not from my perspective. Do what must be done to help those in need, always. Do it openly, though. Don’t cloak the true purpose of what you offer.
Funerals, wakes, burials, etc. are all to help the living accept and integrate that a major rite of passage has occurred. Sometimes the dead do need help, but the help they need is often not of the variety we provide in most of our one size fits all death rituals. Perhaps they once did, but things change and no two dead people are any more the same as they were when alive. What may have been designed to help those along their path from one community at one point in time may be useless to the dead in this time and place. I believe ritual and tradition are in place to help the living, especially when we are grieving and need structures in place to help us figure out what to do next. The structure of ritual aid us, the living, in feeling like we can do something, that we really aren’t so helpless after all.
Sadness and grief often put us in a place where we temporarily have no clue how to proceed. Even here our discomfort tends to fail those in need, leaving those grieving to figure out how to proceed after the fanfare dies down. We don’t like Death, fear Her mightily. We don’t want some sad, grieving person around reminding us of our mortality. We want them to hurry up and get over it already. Get back to being sunny or at least not grieving so we can feel comfortable again. Grieving is important. Sometimes grieving people do need help healing and integrating their loss. However “get over it already” isn’t the attitude to help either them or ourselves.