This is fantastic. Great Christina asked her readers what was helpful when they were grieving, then compiled a blog post of the best/most common answers.
Too often, as she says, religious individuals don’t know how to comfort nonbelievers. Even nonbelievers have a hard time comforting other nonbelievers when they are grieving, especially, as Christina mentions, in the United States where death and religion seem so intertwined.
I can speak from experience that expressions like, “It’s all part of God’s plan,” or “They’re in heaven now,” usually make me feel like punching the speaker in the face.* Everything in Christina’s post is pretty solid.
When my dog died last month** “I’m so sorry” was pretty much the most comforting thing I could hear. This one phrase seems to acknowledge that Ellie was a big part of my life and that I’m allowed to be as sad as I am.
*Even when the first phrase is uttered in relation to something else. It’s fine if that comforts you, but don’t bother saying it to me. Sucky things in life are not made better just because you happen to believe the ultimate puppet master has written an interesting script.
** Say what you will, but know that my dog, Ellie, was an extremely important part of my life. I’ve had more trouble with losing her than with losing my grandmothers.