Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog post are my opinions. If you don't agree with them, that's your right, but I'm exercising my right to express them.
I've never been a 'believer'. I think it's fantastic that faith, in whatever religion, is of great comfort to some people and has helped them through some rough times, but it's not for me. I have felt even more strongly about this since Samuel died. If a God 'chooses' to take my Sam, but populates the world with rapists, murderers and other horrible people, then I don't want any part of them. That's not a 'plan' that I'm happy to participate in.
Advice for comforting the bereaved
In the many messages and cards that we received after Sam died, God got a mention. Now I don't mind "You're in our prayers", or "I'll pray for you"; I guess that gives the sender some comfort too. But personally, I'm not going to take much comfort in "God has taken him home" or "he's in a better place", or "it's all part of God's plan". I don't agree! He WAS home, he WAS in a really good place!
When I send a card to someone, I'm not likely to write things that might upset people, but it seems it's perfectly OK to bring religion into it. This seems unusual in a modern world where there are so many religions, and so many non-believers.
It probably sounds petty, but it was one of the things that upset me the most. Don't get me wrong, I really appreciated everyone sending messages, and as I said, they might like to pray themselves, but spare a thought for the people who already have so much on their minds.
So perhaps if you're sending a message, save the religious statements for those people you that you know share your beliefs: members of your family, people in your parish etc. For everyone else, "You're in our thoughts" is just fine.