When people die, it’s always hard. But, when you are an atheist, it is extra difficult. It’s not so much that I am confused about where the person went or what that means. I am pretty certain that they are NOT in heaven. They have not met God. They aren’t looking over me, or you.
What is tricky is that so many people do believe that, or want to. So, how does one tread lightly on those feelings? I can’t say that I agree. I also can’t very well lecture a mourning person about critically thinking about the issue.
I have come to the conclusion that people who are mourning are mostly in need of reassurance. It’s not so much that they need you to tell them how exactly it is going to get better. It’s more important to tell them that it will be OK. I do believe that. I do believe that it will be OK. So, I can say that and mean it with all of my heart. I try to speak my truth, but allow them to feel however it is that they feel. I nod quietly when they bring up Heaven or God. I never refute their belief system.
I remind them that the deceased will live in their heart forever.
So, if you are dealing with this issue, as well… Just follow your heart when speaking to the grieving friend or family member. It is not your mind, your opinions, or your thoughts on the issue that they need – they need your humanity and your heart. They need your kindness and your gentleness. Give them the best of you and don’t worry about anything else.