Oct 2, 2014

When Words Aren't Sufficient - Atheists and Loss

This doesn't just apply to atheists.  But I'll start there, because it's what I know.

Life is hard, and losses happen.  And when it happens to someone you know, it is so, so important to reach out and show your support.  But it's hard to know what to say.

I feel like one of the go-to responses is, "I'm praying for you" or "I'll keep you in my prayers."  But, as an atheist, that's not really something I can say, or feel comfortable saying.  The sentiment is still there, and I feel just as deeply as I would were my beliefs different, I just don't have the offer of a higher power as comfort.

There are other things you can say, like "I'll keep you in my thoughts" or "I'll send my good karma your way" but it doesn't feel the same.  It's like you're not offering enough.  And you feel kind of helpless, because no matter what words you use, they're so insignificant in the face of tragedy.

This is the part where I know I'm not alone.  Regardless of religion, it is tough to know what to do or say for someone when they're suffering and you're not.  I can only hope, that behind our insufficient words, the sufferers we seek to help can read the real message.  I am here for you.  I support you.  I hate that you're in pain and will do whatever I can to help.

What do you think is the best way to help others who have had a loss?

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