I just attended my ex-mother-in-law's funeral a couple weeks ago. This was the first time in 9 years that I had seen many of my ex-wife's family, including her. It was at first awkward and uncomfortable, and in order to make myself feel better, I went in with a few jokes, which helped lighten the mood for everyone.
Some people are afraid of death, like myself, because the thought of not being here anymore isn't something that they want to think about. Approaching it with humor helps people like me deal with it in our own way.