A lot of times families don't see each other because of past issues that they're too stubborn to let go of. When a loved one dies that's when everyone suddenly realizes how short life really is and how easily people can be taken away from this earth. Families come together to mourn or celebrate that life that was taken. And truth is. No matter what. When you're hurt, or down or loose someone. family is always going to be there to help you get through it.
Unfortunately that is the way "families" are now-a-days. We used to get together around the holidays but slowly that stopped with a "ton" of various excuses. Now as you pointed out they only get together at a funeral. I have repeatedly asked for all my children to get together with me once each year while I am still alive. I would love to be involved with my grand kids and my great grand kids and my great-great grand kids. However "distance" and "apathy" prevail. As I tell my family, you have to make a few sacrifices if you really want to bond as a family.