This is going to sound stupid, but...
Okay. So I live in an extremely catholic state. Like, everyone here is religious, 90% catholic (obviously I may be exaggerating, but I doubt it). Any time there is a death or illness, I always get the same words of "comfort": it's all in gods plan; pray about it; at least they're in a better place now.
Ignoring the fact that I don't believe in an afterlife, the idea of "a better place" has always been the opposite of comforting to me. I mean, is that not exhausting? No end?? Wouldn't you just want to rest?
My immediate group of friends (who I consider family) are atheist, but, believe it or not, none of them have ever dealt with the loss of someone close. So they really never have anything comforting to say.
I myself am not afraid of death; I feel like nothingness could be a relief. It does, however, bother me to think of death of loved ones.
I guess what I'm trying to ask is this: how do you all, as atheists (and agnostics), deal with a loss or the death of a loved one? What are your words of comfort?