Chapter 2: When grief and trauma come together

Identifying the body

I really didn’t want to see my sister’s body, but I also didn’t want my parents to be the ones to make the identification.

Being asked to identify someone’s body is never an easy thing. If you’ve never been to a morgue or seen a dead person, or if you weren’t prepared for what you might see, you may have found the experience deeply upsetting and overwhelming.

You may have felt that you had no choice but to agree to this task, and you may now be experiencing a trauma response.

What may help

  • If you’re struggling with memories from the time when you identified the person’s body, supportive friends or family may be able to help.
  • In time, images of the body will likely begin to fade, making it easier to recall earlier memories of the person.
  • If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your memories, it’s important to consult with a professional counsellor trained in grief and trauma.