At the funeral, which happened to be Catholic, I was struck by how much beliefs of an afterlife or opportunity to be together again sometime with the deceased are used to try to comfort the bereaved. We attempt to soften the blow of death by saying we'll see him again. I think that just about all religions, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and so on, have some belief of resurrection or reincarnation, some idea of persistence of the soul.
It makes me wonder what a funeral in a truly atheist family is like. Without any thought of reuniting with the loved one or any notion of living on in some other form, the finality of death must be stunning. I suspect that ideas like "His energy will persist," or "We'll see him in the wind and trees" or some such thing come out because we need some sort of defense mechanism against the awful thought of not seeing the person again.
I hadn't been able to go to the family visitation at the funeral home because I was working, and there were so many people at the funeral that I was a little concerned I wouldn't get to see the nurse to express my condolences. After the funeral, though, I was standing in the church lobby when she came up to me and touched my arm. As I turned to her, all I could do was say "I am so sorry," and give her a hug. In the face of such a tremendous loss, our words and gestures of sympathy seem so feeble, but they are all we mere mortals have.