Living Jewishly Means Dying Jewishly, Too An ELI Talk by Dr. Michael Slater, M.D.
(ט) וַיִּקְרָ֛א יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶל־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ אַיֶּֽכָּה׃
(9) The LORD God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”
רב המנונא איקלע לדרומתא שמע קול שיפורא דשכבא חזא הנך אינשי דקא עבדי עבידתא אמר להו ליהוו הנך אינשי בשמתא לא שכבא איכא במתא אמרו ליה חבורתא איכא במתא אמר להו אי הכי שריא לכו

R. Hinmnuna once came to Daru-Matha. He heard the sound of the Shofar announcing that a man had died. He saw people continuing in their work. He said to them: "May you be excommunicated! Isn't there someone in town who died (and needs to buried)?" They said to him: "We have a Hevrah (a group) in our town". He said to them: "If so, you are permitted to continue in your work".

בראשונה היתה הוצאת המת קשה לקרוביו יותר ממיתתו עד שהיו קרוביו מניחין אותו ובורחין עד שבא רבן גמליאל ונהג קלות ראש בעצמו ויצא בכלי פשתן ונהגו העם אחריו לצאת בכלי פשתן אמר רב פפא והאידנא נהוג עלמא אפילו בצרדא בר זוזא:

Formerly the [expense of] taking the dead out [to his burial] fell harder on his near-of-kin than his death so that the dead man's near-of-kin abandoned him and fled, until at last Rabban Gamaliel came [forward] and, disregarding his own dignity, came out [to his burial] in flaxen5 vestments and thereafter the people followed his lead to come out [to burial] in flaxen vestments. Said R. Papa. And nowadays all the world follow the practice of [coming out] even in a paltry6 [shroud] that costs but a zuz.