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Old 11-24-2012, 07:41 AM
Location: Victoria TX
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I do not take on the burden of comforting them. I leave that task to those who are of like mind, who can relate better to the sentiments of the person in need of comfort. I don't assume that I can be all things to all people.

Old 11-24-2012, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Miss Crabcakes View Post
The very last thing I'd ever want to here is 'they're in a better place', which I find extremely hurtful and insulting.
To me, "they're in a better place" says "don't be selfish! Stop grieving!". It's an attempt to shut up the bereaved.
Old 11-24-2012, 08:03 AM
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
I do understand that every person have their own faith and belief of afterlife, but you don't comfort them at all when you see them feel very sad, cry non-stop, anxious, and sad? I had relatives who passed away, and at funerals I cannot express the feelings when I see the parents and close family of the dead person.

My cousin was only 40 years old and had 3 young children. He unexpectedly died after a surgery by the mistake of the doctors, and when he died his kids felt much better after knowing that he is an Angel, he is watching them in heaven, etc. otherwise they would have felt much worse and depressed. I cannot even describe how his parents felt during his funeral... Very sad
Just FYI--in Christianity, people do not turn into angels when they die. I'm pretty sure they don't turn into angels in any other mainstream religion, either.

If I know the bereaved do not share my religious beliefs, I will keep them to myself. What I find is often comforting is sharing a good memory of the person who died or a trait of that person (e.g., "s/he was always smiling") that shows I remember and valued the deceased. Sometimes it's hard to come up with that positive memory, but there's always something you can say. A woman I know lost a brother. Her brother was a complete jerk, a nasty human being, and I was not one bit sorry to hear he'd dropped dead, but I too have lost a brother and so I was able to share that, "It's a different type of sorrow to lose a sibling, isn't it?" when I saw her.
Old 11-24-2012, 08:09 AM
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
I comfort people by celebrating the life of the deceased person. Saying *I remember* and then talking about what was good about the person is a comfort, imo. I never felt better about a loved one watching from heaven since I don't believe that happens.

I might suggest that we go to special places that remind us of the deceased. We visit with each other. I listen to the person talk about his or her feelings at this time. It is important to be there without pressuring the other person to respond. Sometimes, just sitting with someone in silence is enough. I tell them I am sorry for their loss or that I am thinking of them. I try to allow them time to grieve, but continue to call or email, too. Just letting them know you are there can also be a comfort. And, I allow the person to have their own religious beliefs to comfort them even if I don't share those beliefs.
On the sick side: I have a coworker/friend who always says, "Remember, he can see you in the shower now!" when somebody we know dies.
Old 11-24-2012, 08:11 AM
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,022 posts, read 54,523,130 times
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Originally Posted by Wild Colonial Girl View Post
To me, "they're in a better place" says "don't be selfish! Stop grieving!". It's an attempt to shut up the bereaved.
I think it's more like "Your grief is making ME uncomfortable!"
Old 11-24-2012, 08:14 AM
Location: Vermont
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I can also say that when I ran into an old friend at court the other day and she told me she had just learned that a good friend of hers had died, a big hug and some time sitting quietly with her was very comforting to her.
Old 11-24-2012, 12:06 PM
Location: North by Northwest
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Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post

I always wondered this, but since I only have one atheist friend (who is Jewish) she did not respond to my question very well, because she was confused with her non-faith.

When a person you know is going to die or has died (for any reason), how do you comfort his/her close family?
Like us religious people, we often say "he/she will be going to a better place", "It was God's will", "You will see him/her in heaven and paradise", "He/She is God's Angel", etc. - How do you as a non-believer do and say?

Thank You for respond
I let them talk, and I listen, chiming in when there's common, spirituality-neutral ground (ex, agreeing that "He was a great person; I'm really going to miss him" and then offering an anecdote). If they say something like "He's in God's arms now" or "His passing was God's will," I'll smile without comment--speaking up and "agreeing" would appear disingenuous, but offering a kind smile and a warm embrace is a respectful way of "being there" during the grieving process, without either pandering by feigning agreement or being a cold-hearted SOB by using it as an opportunity to stand on a soapbox and derail religion (obviously, it would take a pretty deranged person to do such a thing).
Old 11-24-2012, 12:51 PM
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I comfort them by making them realise that their existence, their memory, their respect, their cherishing is what gives the death of that person any meaning at all. Their living on gives them the chance to assimilate the parts of the dead loved one into themselves and make it live on in them. They can keep a little bit of their loved one alive by making that loved one an ongoing part of their life.

I think we have to remember that grief is a wound and like any wound it has to heal. Religion and the fairy tales it gives us about the after life is a quick fix solution that ignores the wound and tries to pretend it is not even there. One does not have to really face the idea someone is gone if they maintain the belief that they are not REALLY gone. As with most mental trauma however I question the wisdom of pretending the problem is not there. Grief is something to be faced, acknowledged and dealt with and we should help our loved ones in any way we can on that journey.
Old 11-24-2012, 01:33 PM
3,574 posts, read 4,171,618 times
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Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Sadness is part of grieving. It is NOT bad to feel sad when someone dies. For the kids, trying to make them feel all better is NOT very helpful. There are many books that can help children with their feelings. Not talking about the sadness often makes things worse.

Sad Isn't Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss (Elf-Help Books for Kids): Michaelene Mundy, R. W. Alley: 9780870293214: Amazon.com: Books

Amazon.com: Help Me Say Goodbye: Activities for Helping Kids Cope When a Special Person Dies (9781577490852): Janis Silverman: Books

I Miss You: A First Look At Death: Pat Thomas, Leslie Harker: 9780764117640: Amazon.com: Books

Atheists have morality, btw. We don't derive it from religion. We think carefully about these things and use empathy.

Nunnor is (once again) wrong-headed in seeing the world through a very narrow religious view. Talking about the life of the person is NOT going to make them sad. It's uplifting to remember the good things about the deceased person and even can result in a laugh. I've seen this myself.

BUT EVEN IF IT DIDN'T HELP... going through the grieving process is very important. Trying to mute the sadness by giving the surviving family false hope and filling them with lies only makes the process worse. You NEED to feel bad... very bad even... to get through it. It's cathartic. This has been proven over and over by psychologists.

The pompous, backwards comment about how only she grew up with morals (and not us Atheists) is not only insulting, but immoral in itself! Nunnor, you have no idea about how much more moral we may be than you. Your posts are getting tiring. The inanity is mind-numbing.
Old 11-24-2012, 01:40 PM
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,490 posts, read 62,120,010 times
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Originally Posted by Nunnor View Post
How do atheists comfort people in death?
As opposed to telling them fairy tales and other such unsupportable nonsense?
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