One of the hardest parts of "letting go of god" for me was realizing that suffering didn't have a "reason" any more than a swatted fly that buzzes around for a bit until it dies. It was terribly hard to accept that there wasn't SOME ultimate balance, that there wasn't more to it all than living, surviving, and dying. I think that's especially hard in context of losing someone you love; not only do we want them to still "be" somewhere, somehow, it's incredibly difficult to accept that this huge, huge pain we feel is just part of what it means to exist. Without god there is no one to get angry at, or to have hope in-- there's no way to cope, it seems, because in a godless universe all we can do is accept, and that is so hard to do. Somehow suffering is worse when it's "meaningless," although I think "meaningless" is ultimately the wrong word. Ultimately I think suffering is meaningful on an individual level (the same as joy, or any other life experience) and we have to accept that it is sufficient for it to be meaningful to US.
I don't think my pain and suffering is any different from that of any other relatively intelligent creature, like an elephant, or a dog-- we know they mourn. For all I know it's not all that different from an insect; pain is part of survival, so anything that has survived has to have some capacity for it, right? If there's no "point" to it, no "destination" or "plan"-- if we're not part of something larger than ourselves-- there's no way to justify or rationalize the pain. I think it's very much a part of being human to try to "understand" and to cope with things through understanding. If there's nothing TO understand... ?
We are animals. Animals also have "war" (although some people will say they don't, but they certainly do fight over resources and territory, which is not that far removed from what we do and why). Animals have children and lose them. Animals are wounded, and suffer. Animals have instincts they don't necessarily understand or are aware of. We may be very intelligent animals with complex brains, but if you put us in our rightful place in the animal kingdom and look at human experience as an animal experience-- there is nothing "special" about our experience.
Except personally. On a personal, independent level, everything we experience is special to us. We are like the macro and micro universe; on a macro scale we're no different from any other living thing but on a micro scale we are absolutely unique. We can find meaning in our own experience because it is happening to us. We don't NEED it to be any bigger than that. Compassion lets us see that others suffer the way we do, and feel the same horror at their suffering as our own, but in terms of what suffering means-- it is only an inevitable part of existing. Pain is an evolutionary tool. We feel pain because without pain we would not have survived. Survival and existence are the reasons for life. Life doesn't philosophize.
I do think this is something people have to learn to cope with on their own. Quite honestly, I still have moments where I wonder if existing is even worth the suffering. I guess some people would call that nihilism. Or Buddhism. But since I'm already here, and death is inevitable, and I have a survival instinct whether I like it or not... I do the best with what I have. In the grand scheme of things nothing I do matters, but in MY scheme of things nothing matters more.