Death with Dignity

There are 26 pews in St. Anthony of Padua’s in Yulan, New York, a deserted resort town in the Catskills. The Christmas lights are still up, the Poinsettias still alive, but J.J. Hanson is dead at 36, which is why the pews are packed with firefighters, United States Marines, and young children.

Funerals for the young are always loud—the sniffling is more frequent, the weeping more consuming—but the most conspicuous noise comes from the deceased’s peers: young parents trying to control noisy toddlers. A woman cradles a four-year-old boy in blue flannel at the Church entrance.