When I hear that so-and-so has gone to "a better place," almost always in reference to their death, I've always though that to be a platitude. I'm not a believer in the afterlife. I believe in the resurrection. However, after the heart stops beating and the lungs stop breathing and the brain stops thinking, darkness ensues. It is the "sleep of death" written of in the bible. I do not believe we ascend into heaven immediately upon expiring and join the choir of angels. The concept of the soul as being an eternal part of humanity just might be neoPlatonic heresy. I'm not well read enough to know. However, far from being a scary thought, oblivion is a comfort to me. I certainly don't want to dream in the grave--nor do I want to have to worry about those I've left behind.
My first cousin, Cally Jo Eckhardt, daughter of my Aunt LaDonna, who was my mother's younger sister, passed away on Friday evening. She had suffered a long illness, a complication of gastric bypass surgery. She kept getting blood clots and finally had a stroke. She had always been very troubled. By the time she went in for the procedure she weighed 500 pounds. But it wasn't vanity that motivated her to have the surgery--it was her health. Her weight was a symptom of a profound inability to reconcile herself with the world and to experience peace of mind.
So in Cally's situation, although I cannot judge and say that she has gone to a better place, I know for a fact she's gone to a more peaceful place.