Liz from A Blonde moment e-mails to point out a post at Frere Williams called What Suffering People Really Need that nicely summarizes what I was trying to get at yesterday:
As wonderful as my Reformed theology is suffering people do not need a Reformed or any other kind of systematic theological discourse from anyone...what suffering people need is a vision of who God is, and for someone to get in the darkness and cry with them. We are not called to answer the "whys?", we are called to help others bear their crosses as St. Simon of Cyrene helped our Lord bear His cross. I have five words to say to those whose only response to suffering people is cold, wooden literal, systematic theological statements...PLEASE SHUT THE HECK UP, please just stop talking and trying to answer questions you can not answer, and silently bear the pains of the other person in compassion and love.
What I was attempting to say is that this isn't the time to be asking questions or trying to answer them. For the family, there is nothing you can say or no answer that you can provide that will make things better. You just need to be there with them to help them through their time of suffering.
It seems that our society has to try to always provide an instant answer or rationale for everything. My wife was looking for a card yesterday and couldn't find anything appropriate. She said she wanted something that just said (paraphrasing a bit) "This is awful and I wish I could do something to make it better." Unfortunately, Hallmark isn't into such simple straight talk.