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What do I say?

I am meeting up with a friend I've not seen for quite some time. Sadly her mother passed away not so long ago and my friend believes in god and an afterlife. I feel I have to say something to support her but I believe in neither of those things. When her mother passed away I would not lie and say I will pray because that would be dishonest. I'm just wondering how to play this - or am I worrying too much?

Sandster 7 Jan 30

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25 comments

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11

In my opinion you are worrying too much. Just be yourself and show her your concern, your caring and your love. God or religion need not be a part of it and when/if she brings the topic into the conversation, just smile and ignore it.

7

The best thing you can do is honor her pain. This is not the time to worry about beliefs or even what really happens after someone passes. She's grieving, and the best you can do is be a safe place for her grief. This is her process, and right now, "reality" has completely gone.

My brother-in-law was one of the 18 Marines who were killed over Mississippi when their C-130 crashed. I can guarantee you, nothing you can "say" is going to make her feel better. But knowing you're there, and giving her that space, that will make all the difference in the world. And I rephrase... in the face of grief, "reality" takes a back seat. And that's natural. It's how the mind copes with loss.

7

Say you are sorry she lost her mom and that you are there for her if she needs you for something.

6

I would just listen. sometimes people just need a ear to talk into. Just be there for your friend.

5

Simply say that you are sorry for her loss.

5

I honestly don't think I could add to, or improve upon, the advice others have offered here. Good luck.

5

I think I'd focus on expressing sympathy, listen to her and be there for her, and ask what I can do to help.

4

Speak of your sorrow and acknowledge your friend’s sorrow. Then speak of good times and remembering. I love to hear stories of my son, I can’t imagine that your friend would not.

4

Offer your condolences..

4

Say what you think, and feel.. That’s all I’ve ever done in similar situations. Help your friend move ahead while honoring her mother. Would her mother have wanted her to be devastated by grief? She may not have her mother, but her mother had her. I feel it’s more important to come up with reality based thoughts than religious ones, as reality is where she’ll end up. Just help her through as if she were you..

Varn Level 8 Jan 30, 2018
4

You have to value the friendship... since I don't believe in god, I don't mind taking a mulligan on my non believe for the benefit of a friend or loved one. Time may come later you could explain your point but is not about you at this moment is about her and her feelings for her mother. She is grieving.

3

focus on your friends grieving, more than her mothers death? even when shes thinking of her mother, your listening to your friend?

3

I just tell them that they will be in my thoughts, which is true. But then again, everyone that I'm friends with know I'm an atheist.

2

Offer condolences and regrets, share memories.

2

Try and support her emotionally. You don’t have to say that her mother went to heaven.

1

Did you know her mother? If so, share a favorite memory. It helped me to hear other people’s memories when my husband died.

1

play it by ear and say your sorry for her loss

1

I noticed you use the term 'passed away' instead of died. What prevents you from doing something similar in this case?

0

Ask her how she is doing, after expressing sympathy for her loss.

0

A Zen priest was asked to write a blessing for a family he was friendly with. He wrote ;
Grandfather dies, Father dies. Son dies.
The family were rather puzzled by this seemingly gloomy blessing and asked him to explain. " Take a close look at the order of events " he said " there are no tragedies here. All is in order, Grandfather, father then son ".

0

Hereabouts we say" I am so sorry for your loss" - and then maybe, would you like to talk about her?

0

"i feel your pain & am here for you, if you need me."

0

Honesty and truth is powerful but also deciding when to stay quiet can be as well. Idk each situation and person is different but worrying won't do anything positive so well i guess this don't help at all but a long friendship should create some understanding i guess???

0

Well, when you value and respect her, you also should respect her choices. Even if you know she has been indoctrinated to make these choices. I would probably say something like: "You know I'm not religious, but I know you are. Don't you feel comfort in knowing that your mom probably will be in heaven and that you will meet her there when you have finished your life on earth." Just follow your heart in compassion and I guess you will find the words that she needs.

Gert Level 7 Jan 30, 2018
0

Tell her very heartfully that you are sorry for her loss and that you are there for her.

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