“The “at least…” Phrase”
When someone we love is in pain, typically our first instinct is to want to provide them comfort. We don’t want our loved ones to suffer, and it makes us sad when we see that they are. Comfort is a well-intentioned form of support; comfort can also imply a direct desire to take away someone’s pain, which is not actually plausible. Because of this, one might end up saying some phrases that aren’t helpful, such as, “at least they lived a great life”, or “at least they are not in pain anymore”. There is a difference between support and comfort. We can support our loved ones without trying to push comfort onto them. There is no possible way to take away this person’s pain, so it’s best to let their pain exist and to support them in these raw and intense moments.
I cannot stress enough, do not use an “at least” phrase when supporting someone who is grieving. When you say “at least they aren’t in pain anymore”, all they think about is how their loved one should never have been in pain in the first place, or that their pain should have been taken away while they were alive. It’s not helpful to say “at least they felt no pain when they died”, because they still died when they should not have. No matter what way you look at it, these phrases do not provide comfort. In fact, they are quite frankly obnoxious!