• How do you feel about the statement "they're in a better place" or " they're no longer suffering. "

    Asked by Bengal on Thursday, August 22, 2019

    How do you feel about the statement "they're in a better place" or " they're no longer suffering. "

    I found out this morning we lost one. A lifelong acquaintance and distant cousin whom I had seen multiple times in the cancer center waiting room; read his obit this morning. After a bit of a breakdown I told my sister what I had just read. Her response, "well, he's no longer suffering.". I've heard these platitudes before when someone doesn't make it. To me " a better place" would be with his family, health restored, allowed to live out his life.

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I have held my Mother's hand as she was dying from lung cancer. My Father's as he lay dying from prostate cancer. Both of them were in terrible pain going into hospice care. But, after hospice Nurses started getting them dialed in their pain level went down to a 2. I was given a vial of morphine and told how to dose it and we kept their pain level down. As for the two phrases, the "in a better place now". That depends on if you are a deep believer in religion. As for no longer in pain. I will go along with that one. After watching Mom and Dad and going through the pain I have been in, I can see that when a person passes away when they had no hope of recovering, they are no longer in pain.

      30 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      Thanks for sharing that, Greg. Hearing what you and your folks have been through gives a better understanding of knowing one can reach a place where they're ready to be done with it all and there comes a time to end suffering.

      I am not religious so the who!e "better place" thing has always seemed like a self comforting statement more for the benefit of the speaker.

      30 days ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I also don't care for the "everything happens for a reason" phrase.

      30 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      Yeah, don't get me started on that one!

      30 days ago
    • beachbum5817's Avatar
      beachbum5817

      I also am not a huge fan of the "he's in a better place". @Bengal, I agree that most people would rather be with their loved ones and friends. The "no longer suffering" is ok with me if that is appropriate. That was what I used after my husband passed away, because he was in awful pain for 6 months. All the Oxycontin and Oxycodone couldn't touch his pain.The only thing that worked was the Morphine that he got once he was on Hospice. The other day my daughter said to me that she wishes that her dad could still be here, but she knows that he couldn't keep on going with such terrible pain. So, we are comforted by the fact that "he is no longer suffering".

      30 days ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      To be honest, I don't have a problem with the phrases themselves, just the timing in which they are delivered. When a death first happens the grieving family member or friend may simply want someone to give them a big shoulder to cry on, someone to empathize, someone to let them vent. Emotions are raw right at that time, and that is when the aforementioned prhases become platitudes instead of words of comfort. As a Christian, I have always felt that if someone passes away from a condition that has robbed them of their quality of life, the passing is merciful, a release from pain and sickness. It's true that the patient wants to be well and with family; who wouldn't? The issue is if someone cannot recover from their condition, would they not want to be released from pain and suffering and be kept comfortable so their last days aren't spent in agony? As for the phrases brought up in the question above, some people might draw comfort from them once the sting of grief has subsided a bit. Let me use myself as an example. When I first got diagnosed, one of my pastors, meaning well at the time, said that God was using my getting breast cancer for some reason and not to be afraid. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about at the time and wondered how he could say such a thing when I was still in shock. I was facing chemo, surgery, radiation, and knew no other ladies in our church who had been through this. Our other pastor, having had a mother who survived breast cancer, allowed me to cry and just come to terms with the cancer journey. Through active treatment, I had my good days and bad days; I was brave and positive most of the time and presented as a warrior in public despite my feeling too exhausted to be one. Then there were times I would have adult temper tantrums behind the closed doors of my home because I was sick, lonely, and too far away from family. Now that 6 years have passed, I think I am beginning to see what that one pastor was talking about. Since my cancer diagnosis, I have moved closer to family and now live right down the street from my sister; I am able to empathize as best I can to all of these fine folks on this website; and a gentleman who had cancer a year after I did felt comfortable asking for time to vent or questions on what it's like to go through active treatment. To answer your question, I think it's not the phrases themselves; it's the timing and delivery that matter, plus you must remember the audience who will be hearing that question. Christians might take it differently from other people. HTH HUGS and God bless.

      29 days ago
    • JaneA's Avatar
      JaneA

      Many people are a total loss for words when it comes to talking about death. So they repeat what they've heard someone else say.

      I lost my first husband 15 years ago due to heart disease, dementia and renal failure. I watched him slowly waste away, down to 115 lbs. and watched him slip into confusion, depression and despair. When he died from the effects of the renal failure, I felt that his death was a release from his body that could no longer function. I missed him terribly, but I also knew that he had no quality of life. In these situations, being released from suffering is a blessing.

      29 days ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar
      PaulineJ

      20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

      21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

      22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

      23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

      24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

      25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

      26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

      27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

      28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.

      29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;

      30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

      Philippians 1 King James Version (KJV)

      29 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I don’t mind “no longer suffering,” despite it's being a rather formulaic thing to say to a grieving person. “In a better place” raises my hackles, as it assumes something no living person can know, as far as my beliefs are. However, it all depends on who hears that phrase, as some might find it very comforting. No one who knows me would ever say that to me.

      29 days ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      Sometimes those phrases can be "too soon", especially the "better place" one. While I am spiritual, my idea of an afterlife is probably different than 90% of the people who might use that phrase. If someone says that about my mom, I mentally roll my eyes but know it's coming from a good place. Bengal, I'll simply add I'm sorry for your loss.

      29 days ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Like adult diapers, it depends. We are in a very confused and confusing age in which it is difficult to be comforted by that which we hear, or even that which we experience. Responses to such bad news range from severe to casual - almost dismissive. I speak only for myself, but my Catholic faith teaches that we are pilgrims on this earth and not residents whose purpose will be snuffed out at what we call "death."

      In Catholicism, as in all forms of Christianity, there are three theological virtues: faith, hope and love, with love being the greatest. We all have some form of faith - in God, a higher power, prayer, meditation, medical science, doctor, good luck - something.

      Based on that faith or belief, we can hope for a good outcome or that a bad outcome will somehow serve us or others. But love - now everyone carries the capacity to love. At some level, everyone is loved. Love desires the good of the "other." Love does not count the cost.

      Giving and receiving love is an art and not a science. It may take practice, but is never time wasted. The goal is an increased capacity to love and be loved. Can't put a value or a number onthat, as lover is what it is a universal good.

      What do we believe? I believe that life, death, the afterlife and, yes, suffering all have purpose and even benefit.

      But, what do we believe?

      29 days ago
    • gpgirl70's Avatar
      gpgirl70

      I try to stay away from cliched responses but I know that people don’t know what to say immediately after someone dies. I’m often at a loss for words. There really is just no way to take the pain away. I wish there was a magical phrase that would set everything right but alas that’s not the case. I would never use “in a better place” for a myriad of reasons.

      29 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      Without a doubt, when I die i will be in a better place. I will be in Paradise and it doesn't compare to being on this crazy earth.

      If a person has suffered with illness and has been in pain, i think the idea of being painfree is good.

      It may be a matter of faith as to whether you believe death represents "a better place" or not. My son wasn't sick at all and was only 43 when he died. Nevertheless, i personally believe he is in a far better place than when he was here on earth. That doesn't mean i wouldn't give just about anything if he was still here with us.

      27 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      We don't know what happens when we die-no one does. As far as saying something to make the speaker feel better, it doesn't most of the time. The speaker often has one of 2 things going on--One that they are genuinely sad for you and the family. Saying, I'm sorry, somehow seems more inadequate than most things.

      The second is that there isn't much else to say. What would you think if someone said- Well everybody dies, get over it, or gives a lecture on their belief system? Do you want somebody that actively believes that when a person dies-that's it? And why that is all? I know one tribe that believed that--the only way a person has an afterlife, is if the living remember the dead.

      I won't be rude and try to guess a person's belief system--Are you really asking if I should ask-- Are you a Sikh, a Hindu, a Communist, a Christian, a Viking belief-they have Valhalla, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, so I can try to give an appropriate answer?

      Now people get upset if a person says, I'm so sorry, can I pray for you? or I'm so sorry, it has to be so hard on you and walk away. As far as saying whatever too soon--I guess I live in a more transient world--people come and go. There isn't any good time to say any of this.

      When people say they are in a better place or they are no longer suffering-- they are acknowledging that cancer victims in particular suffered in so many different ways--fear of their family's future-we lost our house when my father died, physical pain, pain from being helpless, a certain amount of humiliation from being cared for. We had a full length mirror, and my father took a spell where he stood in front of it and cried about the wasting of his body--he had been a lean and fit boxer-then he was a scar covered bag of bones, hardly able to stand up.

      I was 13- and I appreciated his friends saying that he was better off, that I'd see him again. When they said his pain and suffering was over--they acknowledged that my father did suffer, that it wasn't easy for him and us. Saying these things show what is almost a universal hope that something else does exist that is kinder than this world.

      26 days ago
    • PaulineJ's Avatar
      PaulineJ

      Even though I far from being perfect ,No one is perfect.I may not always share the right things,but I'm here to glorify and share who and what he's done to save me and you from our sins 1Cor.15:1-4 and Romans 3:25.
      Not to be popular and loved like we are suppose to be and to love others no matter what.It's very hard to love like Him when you're constantly unloved and rejected.But I must go on for Him.
      Revelation 22:20 KJV only in His word."Come Lord Jesus".❤️

      I found this very intresting.

      Why Does Evil Dominate the World?
      https://youtu.be/qIWBvihCyyQ

      26 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      Yikes! I should have realized when I posed this question I'd be opening a can of worms. I never intended to belittle anyone's faith or believe system. What anyone chooses to believe is inviolate.

      26 days ago
    • meyati's Avatar
      meyati

      And their feeble words of concern and sympathy?

      26 days ago
    • cards7up's Avatar
      cards7up

      I believe my mother went to a better place and was no longer suffering after her cancer journey ended.Would I want her to still be here, absolutely. But I'd much rather know she's no longer in pain!

      26 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      @Bengal, I’m glad you asked this question. We don’t have to shy away from cans of worms (not my favorite image - LOL!). You didn’t belittle anyone’s beliefs.

      @meyati, I especially appreciate your last paragraph, about the almost universal hope that something better exists after this often-painful life. I do hope, despite my convictions about that.

      23 days ago
    • Bengal's Avatar
      Bengal

      Thanks, Carool. Without getting myself in even deeper I guess the point I was trying to make is when someone says to me "they're in a better place" or that other cliche " everything happens for a reason" they are assuming I share a certain belief system which, in fact, I do not. I find I do agree there does come a time to end suffering. I know a woman right now whom I wish would fall asleep and just not wake up. Whether she'd be "in a better place" I cannot say but dead (yes, I said that word) would be better than what she has now.

      23 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Bengal, I so agree. And I always say use the D-word, never “passed.” I don’t like euphemisms.

      23 days ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I am a believer and consider myself a Christian. If I should die I believe that both statements have a 50/50 chance of being untrue I may be headed for a much worse place and being in unimaginably worse pain. These platitudes are a comfort to no one

      22 days ago

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