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Identifying a Loved One: What to Expect and How to Prepare

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Losing a loved one is an emotional time for the entire family. The identification process may also be an extremely emotional situation for family members. And it may seem difficult to put yourself in the position to see your deceased loved one.

Before a cremation takes place, law-abiding funeral homes require positive identification of a deceased body. 

This means you or a trusted family member or friend must give the funeral home consent that the body shown is, in fact, your loved one.

Continue reading for tips to prepare for identification after the loss of a loved one.

Preparing Yourself for Identification

Your emotions and grieving state may feel overwhelming during the identification process. To help best prepare yourself, follow these steps: 

  • Decide if you’re emotionally ready to see your loved one. You may also choose to designate a trusted family member or friend to perform the identification.
  • Use the time to say goodbye. View it as a sacred moment to spend with your loved one.
  • Focus on positive memories you had with your loved one rather than their current state.

Whether you identify your loved one in person or digitally, your experience should be thoughtfully respected by the funeral home.

In-Person Identification

Before identifying your loved one in-person, decide if you’d like to go alone or with a family member or friend. You may want to use this time for personal closure with your loved one.

A physical identification of the body will include areas of the body necessary for identification, such as the face or a birthmark. Funeral home staff will be present for support if needed.

Digital Identification

A digital identification of the body is an alternative option that may result in a final lower cost cremation.

Through digital identification, the funeral home will send a private, secure photo of your loved one from the shoulders up. In cases where the face may not be identifiable, you may request an image of a unique physical feature to help make positive identification.

Only view the identification photo from a secure spot. Wait until you’re in the comfort of your home, not from your work computer or mobile device.

Note that the photo can be time-sensitive and once viewed, you may no longer have access to it.

Once you’ve confirmed that the photo is your loved one, affirm this answer with the funeral home via email.

If a death has occurred in your family or you’d like information about preplanning, contact Busch Funeral and Crematory Services at any time. Our compassionate staff offers the highest level of services, and we’re ready to answer your questions any time day or night. Contact us for more information.

Contact Busch

Jim Busch
Jim Busch
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.

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